Nalgonda: The sculptures and structures of Shambulingeshwara Swamy temple, which was submerged in the waters of Panagal Udaya Samudram Balancing Reservoir, were held back in cold storage by the Archaeology Department on the pretext of funds’ crunch.

Shambulingeshwara Sawmy temple, which was constructed by Kunduru Cholas in 13th century AD, was submerged in the waters of Udaya Samudram when the ancient Panagal tank was developed as balancing reservoir in 2002. Along with Chandampally village, Shambulingeshwara Swamy temple also went under water. The entire village of Chandampally was relocated under Relief and Rehabilitation (R&R) package.

As per the rules of R&R package, the temples located in the village should also be relocated, along with the residential areas, owing to people’s sentiments. But, the district authorities never followed it while implementing the R&R package.

The centuries-old temple surfaced first time in years in Udaya Samudram when the water level dropped down drastically a few years ago. When the temple surfaced in the year 2016, the officials of Archaeology Department visited the site and planned to shift the sculptures and structures. It hasn’t been executed till now.

Present water level in Udaya Samudram Balancing Reservoir has dropped down to a minimum level and ancient Shambulingeshwara Swamy temple has once again surfaced. People in the area started thronging the place to view the historic temple.

Speaking to Tabloid Today, a villager of Chandampally informed that a big annual jathara used to be performed at the temple in his childhood and people from surrounding villages used to throng the ancient temple on Monday, which was considered auspicious by devotees of lord Shiva.

P Nagaraju, assistant director of archaeology and museums, informed that Shambulingeshwara Swamy temple was constructed with six pillar ancient construction and the sculptures and damaged pillars in the area indicate that other temples or mandapams were also located in the area.
He accepted that funds’ crunch was also one of the major hurdles in shifting the sculptures and structures to another place. “In 2016, we had planned to relocate the temple, but mud around the temple area was an obstacle. There was a need to shift the sculptures and structures of the temple in big vehicles like lorries,” he added.

Panagal Ancient Temples Development Committee president, Konduru Satyanarayana said that they have submitted a memorandum to the government seeking relocation of the Shambulingeshwaralayam. He underlined the need to protect ancient temples which were icons of rich heritage of Telangana. He wanted the government to sanction funds for relocation of the temple by respecting the sentiments of the local people.
— P Srinivas

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