Mahbubnagar chronicles

Mahbubnagar chronicles

For me, Mahbubnagar was always associated with Pillalamarri, the 800-year-old banyan tree located a few kilometres from this town. Mahbubnagar town...

For me, Mahbubnagar was always associated with Pillalamarri, the 800-year-old banyan tree located a few kilometres from this town. Mahbubnagar town itself is the district headquarters of the eponymous district, which is the home of many achievers and prominent personalities like the late Burugula Ramakrishna Rao and Jaipal Reddy among others. However, there are many more things to see around this town within a few hours of driving distance like Alampur, Jogulamba Temple, Gadwal Fort and so on.

An enormous banyan tree that sprawls over several hectares, Pillalamarri is a big tourist draw. The banyan tree is said to be around eight centuries old. Marri means banyan. A banyan tree has a main or mother trunk and later develops prop roots which are generally referred to as its children—hence the word Pillala which means children in Telugu, and the word “Pillalamarri”. Walking around the spread of the tree one feels it is a small forest.

A small temple, zoo and aquarium are located here though we did not find time to visit them. There is a small but impressive District Archaeological Museum here filled with centuries-old artefacts found in the surroundings. It is best to visit during the morning or afternoon. Another popular tourist attraction within an easy driving distance of Mahbubnagar town is the Mallela Theertham. This is a scenic area considering it's a waterfall located amid rich greenery—the Nallamalla forest region. It is actually on the way to the famous pilgrim town of Srisailam, which sees lakhs of visitors annually, and most pilgrims stop at this waterfall. This waterfall has also seen a few film shootings.

Driving out for a few hours from Mahbubnagar town, there are other places to see like Umamaheswaram and Alampur. Umamaheswaram is not easily accessible. On the other hand, Alampur is very easy to reach. It is a place where you find a cluster of interesting though sadly, not well-maintained temples.

Umamaheswaram is a temple to the deities Shiva and Parvathi, located near Achampeta in the Nallamala forest range. The temple where you find an unusually large number of sadhus besides pilgrims dates to the 2nd century AD and is known for its “papanasham” waters, which many devout believe is a sign of the deity's presence and power. Since Umamaheswaram temple is located on a hill, one has to negotiate a very steep path for nearly 6 to 7 km.

Among the best reasons to visit this part of Telangana is the Alampur temple complex. They are located in the eponymous town which is on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. They are a highly impressive cluster of temples, which were created in in the northern architectural style introduced by the Chalukyas of Badami between the seventh and eighth century AD.

The guide said that this group of temples finds a place as an archaeological and architectural treasure in the official 'List of Monuments' prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India under ‘The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act’.

Actually, these temples have been relocated i.e. removed from their original site and reconstructed. This is because the original site of the temples fell under the submergence area owing to the construction of the Srisailam Hydro-Electric Project. To protect them they had to be moved to a higher area.

The Jogulamba temple here is dedicated to the eponymous deity who is also known as Yogulamba meaning yogini goddess. The legend about this area is that Lord Brahma performed penance here and was finally blessed by Lord Shiva. Understandably, Shivaratri is a big festival here. There are nine Brahma temples here known respectively as Padma Brahma, Taraka Brahma, Kumara Brahma, Garuda Brahma, Arka Brahma, Vira Brahma, Vishwa Brahma, Swarga Brahma, and Bala Brahma. The last mentioned one is the main shrine of worship.

Another place nearby worth exploring is Gadwal Fort. The fort is said to have been built in the 17th century with several strong walls and moats and it is fairly intact even today. Among the main attractions of the fort are its huge cannon and temples like the Chennakesava temple and Venugopalaswamy temple.

Altogether, Mahbubnagar town is a good base from which to explore the interesting surrounding areas. However, there is not much by way of luxury accommodation in Mahbubnagar town so don't expect high-end rooms or restaurants.

By: Aruna Chandaraju

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