Wide publicity needed to preserve it, says NGO official
An ancient heritage temple located just 15 km from the famous Raghavendra Swamy temple in Mantralayam of Kurnool district is in a state of neglect.
Legend has it that this Rama temple was built by the Pandavas. According to archaeological records, the temple was constructed in the 7th and 8th centuries. Nothing has been done so far to make this temple known to the public.
Large parts of the temple premises spread across 30 acres have been encroached. People in the vicinity use the walls to dry their clothes and a part of it has been reduced to a warehouse to store bags of cement and other construction material by the encroachers.
Anti-social elements had started using the premises and to prevent this, members of the Hindu Dharma Raksha Samanvaya Samithi, a Vijayawada-based NGO working to revive ancient temples, cleaned up the place and built a gate. To give new lease of life to the place of worship, they also celebrated Ramanavami festival, trying to engage the local people in the celebrations.
“The temple has been recognized as a heritage structure and was given a heritage award in 2016 by the Government. But precious little has been done to bring its importance to prominence,” rues M.K. Ramanjaneyulu, State president of the Samanvaya Samithi.
Repeated attempts to draw the attention of the local authorities to the neglect of this structure have failed to yield the desired result, he says. Pointing to the fact that the Government has been talking about promoting heritage tourism in a big way, he says such precious structures ought to be safeguarded and passed on to the next generations.
“Thousands of pilgrims visit the Raghavendra Swamy temple at Mantralayam. Little efforts on the part of the tourism and endowments officials can bring to light the existence of this temple in the vicinity and this could result in the pilgrims extending their visit to this place as well,” says Mr. Ramanjaneyulu.
Large parts of the temple premises spread across 30 acres have been encroached