HYDERABAD: It’s a known fact that devotees used to hide temples to protect them from being destroyed by invaders by burying them under soil. One such temple -- the Machaladevi temple -- was found inside the Warangal fort some years ago.
It was dedicated to the mistress and dancer of Kakatiya ruler Prataparudra. The temple was found buried near the bund of a tank, and came to be known as the 'Yelpigandi temple' later.
A similar temple, but from a much earlier period, was found by residents of Gonguluru in Pulkal mandal of Sangareddy district some time ago. The temple where the presiding deity is Lord Shiva, was buried for more than a millennium under a soil mound in the village.
Members of Kotha Telangana Charitra Brundam, who explored the temple, have dated it back to the Rashtrakutas' era of 9th and 10th Century AD. The structure is carved in red sandstone, and the four-ar-med Dwarapalakas in the sculptures found at the entrance of the temple are found standing with their legs crossed.
Above the main door, the Gajalakshmi’s sculpture could be seen, with jag-shaped kalashas found on either side of the door. Four 'Kudus' which were carved as per Rashtrakuta architecture were also found above the main entrance of the temple.
'Panavattam', the base of the Shivalinga, is square-shaped, and the 'Banalinga' installed in the middle. The statue of the old Nandi is found outside the temple, while a new one is inside. There is a piece of 'Saptamatruka' panel with four 'Matrukas' (mother goddesses) found inside the temple, which also indicates the style of Rashtrakuta architecture. There is only a single sanctum sanctorum, with a Mandapa (hall) inside the temple, which also points to the Rashtrakuta style, according to Dr E Sivanagireddy, archaeologist.
Protecting shrine from invaders
Devotees used to hide temples to protect them from being destroyed by invaders
The Shiva temple in Gonguluru is believed to have been buried for more than a millennium