A medieval period temple of Lord Janardhana located amid lush green fields at Voletivaripalem, 20 km from Kandukur town in Prakasam district, lies in shambles.
The 50-foot dilapidated “dwajasthambam” of the temple, constructed by Malaya Reddy, grabs the attention of motorists going towards Malakonda, the abode of Lord Lakshminarasimha, from Kandukur referred to in the past as ‘Skandapuri’.
The Reddy dynasty founded by Prolaya Vema Reddy ruled modern-day coastal and central Andhra Pradesh with their kingdom extending up to Cuttack in present day Odisha in the north and Kanchi in the south and Srisailam in the west from 1325 to 1448 A.D. The temple of Janardhana Deva nurtured by the Reddy rajas, who had shot into prominence during the Rajendra Chola III King’s period, is a treasure trove of some sculptures with architectural aesthetics.
The temple stands as an example of craftsmanship of the sculptors then and it also houses stone edict with inscriptions in Tamil making mention of the donation of land to the temple and conduct of festivals throughout the year.
A detailed study of the temple could throw more light on the socio-economic and cultural aspects of the medieval Andhra before the Gajapatis of Odisha shot into limelight, feel heritage lovers.
The inner shrine has been destroyed by vandals in a bid to unearth hidden treasures, including gold and precious stones, believed to have been hidden underneath, even as the five-foot idol of Lord Janardhan, an incarnation of Lord Mahavishnu, remained uncared for, says Prof. Konda Srinivasulu from C.S.R. Sarma College here
“’It is time the government took immediate steps to preserve the monument for posterity,” says Acharya Nagarjuna University PG Centre History Department Assistant Professor S. Venkateswara Reddy.
State Archaeology and Museums Director G.V. Ramakrishna Rao says: “The Department will conduct preliminary studies and take steps for protecting the dilapidated temple after preparing estampages of the available inscriptions.”
When contacted, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams Board member and TDP MLA from Kondepi Dola Bala Veeranjaneya Swamy told
that the TTD was ready to chip in with its contribution if the local people formed a committee to renovate the temple.
Meanwhile, local farmers, who have been making a valiant bid to prevent further vandalisation of the more than 600-year-old heritage structure, urge the local MP and MLA to pay attention to restoration of the historic temple.