Telangana’s Tirupati gets ready for re-opening

The renovated Lakshmi Narasimha temple in Telangana’s Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district is likely to be ready in two to three months.

The much-awaited works of the famous temple, often described as Telangana’s Tirupati, are nearing completion.

With the completion of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s dream project, the cave temple located at Yadadri (earlier known as Yadgirigutta), about 60 km from Hyderabad, will get a complete makeover.

The chief minister directed the officials to expedite the works so that the temple complex is inaugurated in two to three months.

While leading the movement for statehood to Telangana, Chandrasekhar Rao had vowed to develop the temple on the lines of the famous Tirupati temple if Andhra Pradesh was divided.

After formation of Telangana state in 2014, KCR, as he is popularly known embarked on his mission to renovate the temple and beautify its surrounding at a whopping cost of Rs.1,800 crore. He decided to club adjoining nine hills to make it a mega centre of pilgrimage.

It was in 2016 that Yadadri Temple Development Authority (YTDA) was constituted for the purpose and the same year the foundation stone was laid for the ambitious temple.

The temple was originally located over 2,500 square yards but after completion of the works, the temple complex will be spread over four acres (19,360 sq yards).

According to YTDA Special Officer G. Kishan Rao, black granite stone, known as Krishnashila, was procured from a quarry in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh for the renovation works.

Film art director B Anand Sai designed the masterplan under the guidance of well-known seer Chinna Jeeyar Swamy. The officials said every care was taken to follow Agama, Vasthu and Pancharatha shastras.

As part of the renovation plan, the hillock was blasted to level the land and build massive retaining walls and gopurams or ornate monumental entrance towers.

The new temple has seven gopurams. The seven-storied sapthathala maharaja gopuram is constructed over the original cave temple. The other six towers are five-storied.

The authorities hired the services of over 500 sculptors to carve the hundreds of idols and pillars for the temple complex. The craftsmen were brought from Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.

Apart from expanding the original temple area, the authorities have taken up construction of cottages, lodges and shelters for pilgrims and a presidential guesthouse. Landscaping and road widening also form part of the grandiose plan.

A controversy hit the renovation plan in September last year when carvings of KCR’s face and car, the symbol of his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) were found on some pillars. The chief minister came under criticism from BJP, Congress and other opposition parties for acting like medieval kings who used to inscribe their names on the temples and monuments they built. BJP alleged that KCR is trying to portray himself as god.

As it threatened to snowball into a major row, the government directed the temple authorities to remove images of KCR and all other political leaders. They were asked to ensure that except the symbols related to the god and the temple, no other symbols should be used.

The government claimed that some sculptors on their own engraved images of KCR, Indira Gandhi and Mahatma Gandhi and symbols of certain political parties.

KCR, who reviewed the progress of the works on Saturday, directed the officials to take up the beautification works of the temple complex and surroundings to reflect the peace and spirituality.

He also asked the officials to enlist the services of the sculptors involved in the making of Ayodhya, Akashardham temples in the making of the Yadadri temple.

“Yadadri temple is being developed on par with other prestigious temple complexes in the country. Devotees all over the world are eagerly waiting for the inauguration of the Yadadri temple. The state is fast recovering from the Corona pandemic. Since the government is releasing the funds, the works on the temple complex should be expedited. The officials should ensure that the Yadadri temple complex should be inaugurated in two or three months,” the CM said.

He reviewed the development works on the Bus stand, construction of cottages, beautification of the Yadadri temple surroundings, landscaping as well as the temple complex and offered his suggestions. He also reviewed the works on Bus ways to the hill, VIP car parking, Kalyana Katta, Pushkarini Ghats, Brahmotsavam Kalyana Mandapam, police outpost, Anna Prasada Complex, Shopping Complex etc.

The CM wanted parking place should be developed in 11 acres of land to accommodate 3,000 cars. He wanted the Food Courts should be arranged with strictly south Indian vegetarian dishes and also north Indian and inter-continental cuisine.

Since Yadadri is close to the capital city of Hyderabad, there would be rush of tourists to the place. KCR wanted that all the works pertaining to the Yadadri temple should reflect the spirituality and devotion of the place.

The Gandi Lake in Yadadri should be developed to organise the annual Teppotsavam. The CM wanted a huge stadium should be planned in 90 acres of land to organise religious and spiritual discourses for the devotees. He wanted the temple’s Vimana Gopuram should be covered with gold.

KCR, who had had visited the temple complex and inspected the progress of the development works in September, said the entire infrastructure should be developed in such a way that the visiting devotees whatever great their number be should have a comfortable darshan and stay.

The CM also suggested that the specialist goldsmiths from Pembarthy be engaged to provide gold cover to the Rajagopuram and the main gates.

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