Alladurg’s historical structures cry for attention
One of the key responsibilities of Medak district administration after the districts reorganisation has been to develop it as a tourism and heritage destination due to the historical significance associated with it.
Alladurg (Medak): One of the key responsibilities of Medak district administration after the districts reorganisation has been to develop it as a tourism and heritage destination due to the historical significance associated with it. District Collector Bharati Hollikeri has also placed this on top of her priorities when she took charge. Among several places where the remnants of ancient history have been preserved is Alladurg, which dates back to thousands of years.
Prehistoric rock paintings very similar to that of Ajanta and Ellora caves dating back to 2nd century BC have been excavated from Alladurg and preserved in the State Archaeological Museum in Hyderabad. There is also a megalithic burial site discovered in Alladurg mandal, confirming the settlement of humans in early history thriving here. Influence of Jainism (before the onset of Shaivism cult) could also be seen in Allladurg, as sculptures of Lord Mahavir which were found inside the Hanuman temple lay neglected outside the temple now.
One of the most intriguing things about Alladurg is the presence of Bethalaswamy temple, the only temple dedicated to the demon god very similar to the Bethala temple of Kondagattu in Karimnagar district. Renuka Yellamma temple is another jewel in the crown of Alladurg. There is a committee of priests who take turns every year to serve the Goddess and they get to keep the offerings which come in the form of gold and cash in huge quantities. Priests (both men and women in a family) come from as far as Maharashtra and Karnataka come to serve and make money year after year.
None of these temples fall under the Endowments Department and the revenue from the jataras and the temples is shared by the priests and the landlord on whose land Bethalaswamy temple is located. Bagaiah, the priest at Bethala temple feels that Endowments Department taking over the temple would assure steady income to the priests and could be useful for developing the temples in Alladurg. The same was reiterated by priests in Hanuman and Veerabhadraswamy temple.
One of the interesting things about Alladurg is the fort where the landlords still live. Centuries ago, there was a saint named Allah Wali Shah who propagated Islam, leading a life of wisdom and serving people. He had a servant named Ramdas, whom he gave all his property including the fort before he had died. A dargah was built in Alladurg in Allah Wali Shah’s memory and Alladurg was named after him.
After Ramdas, several generations later, E Laxma Reddy inherited the fort and property. Currently, E Anil Kumar Reddy owns the fort and Bethalaswamy temple also falls in his property. The fort still stands tall as a witness to rising and falling kingdoms, transitioning into a feudal system. According to researchers, after the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956, manipulations were done with the naksha (maps) of Nizam and reorganisation of land records (ROR) was done by landlords.
“How can a centuries-old temple be present in someone’s land? Should it not be temple land then?” asked Surya Kumar, a historian, archaeologist and professor. “Local political leaders should show interest and demand that Alladurg be declared as a heritage or protected site. They should push for development of the area as a tourist place. The landlords should also cooperate so that the immense tourism potential of Alladurg can be made good use of,” suggested Surya Kumar, speaking to The Hans India.
By Vivek Bhoomi