Friday, December 31, 2021

A short heritage trip - Alampur

Over the last week, I covered a few heritage locations covering parts of Telangana, Andhra and Karnataka.

Sangamesvara Temple - Relocated

Alampur in Telangana is a small village, on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. It is the site of a set of nine temples known as Nava Brahma temples. This name is a fairly modern name - just like Pancha Pandava Rathas in Mamallapuram. All the nine temples are clearly meant for Siva, and might have been named something else, which we do not know today. All nine are built in the Rekha-Nagara (Latina) style, during the period of Badami Chalukyas, around 7th century and after.

But more interesting are a lone temple called Sangamesvara and a cluster of temples called Papanashi group (23 temples). The former was originally built in the 7th century at Kudavalli village, 20 km away, and the latter, around 2 km away in Alampur itself, probably post 9th century. The Sri Sailam Hydro Electric project was to have submerged both of them, so these were removed stone by stone and reassembled in a different location in Alampur - outstanding work by ASI.

Sangamesvara is also a Rekha Nagara temple, much bigger than the Nava Brahma ones, with richer artwork, more elaborate icons, and inner and outer prakaras. Papanashi group consists of a mixed bag, all of them in the Phamsana Nagari style, some with extremely intricate pillars and ceilings, but rather plain outer walls and niches.

There is a site museum with excellent collection of stone sculptures from in and around this region, mostly of the Badami Chalukyas style, but perhaps some from the later period as well.

I will cover the following in the successive blogs, in that order:

1. Sangamesvara
2. Some of the Nava Brahma temples
3. Papanashi group of temples
4. Alampur Museum