Sojourn of soul: Dichpally Rama temple

Sojourn of soul:  Dichpally Rama temple

Nestled atop a hill, surrounded by greenery with simians swinging from treetops in gay abandon, a bird’s eye view of tiny settlements and a water body...

Nestled atop a hill, surrounded by greenery with simians swinging from treetops in gay abandon, a bird’s eye view of tiny settlements and a water body with a stand-alone mandapam in the middle, the Dichpally Rama temple is a picture of tranquillity, divine grace, and architectural splendour.

About 162 kms from Hyderabad en route to Nizamabad the temple is thronged by devotees visiting Basara, the well-known Saraswati temple. As we navigate our way crossing narrow lanes to reach the temple we are mesmerised by the spectacular arch at the gateway with its exquisite stone engraving that has animal and bird figures typical of the Kakatiya style of architecture.

The thought of climbing over 100 steps can be daunting, but it proves to be a relatively easy task since they are not steep and are balanced out with the level ground at intervals. We felt the gentle breeze waft across as we walked up breathing fresh air to the music of rustling leaves.

Sitting on a platform where the first flight of stairs made way for even ground, we spotted 60-year-old Ramulu, who has been living off the largesse of devotees visiting the temple for more than 10 years. “This temple is known as ‘Khilla Ramalayam’ due to its vicinity to the fort here.

There is a pedestrian subway connecting this temple to the Raghunadha temple in Nizamabad urban centre. It is also said to be incomplete and did not have any idols till 1949 when a local villager gifted marble idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana, that were placed in the sanctum sanctorum,” Ramulu informs us.

One of the reasons given for the temple remaining incomplete is an attack by Muslim invaders who party destroyed some of the temple sculptures. During Ramanavami thousands of devotees are said to visit this temple for which it is specially decorated and elaborate arrangements are made to provide prasadam to the devotees. It is also a time for bhajans and kirtans attended by people from faraway places, some devotees from Nizamabad tell us.

The temple itself is a small structure with intricate carvings that compel attention. Built-in black and white basalt stone, it is a work of exquisite skill and artistry with figures of gods, goddesses, animals, and spirits beautifully etched on the walls, ceilings, pillars and door frames.

Some erotic figures on the pillars and ceilings carved in the Khajuraho style are probably responsible for the temple being called “Indhoor Khajuraho” (Khajuraho of Nizamabad). A small shrine for Hanuman near the temple ‘dhwajasthambha’ faces the main temple sitting on the steps leading to the temple is a devotee writing the Ramakoti, Rama’s name in specially designed blocks, which she will leave at the feet of the deity after completion. “This is a very powerful temple and I come here every day where I complete writing two pages of the ‘Ramanaamam’,” she says.

To the left of the temple is the watchtower and viewpoint from where we see the beautiful tank with a small mandapam that looks straight out of a film set. The walls of the mandapam are sculpted like those of the temple but there are no signs to show human movement here.

During the monsoon, the tank fills up with water and the temple seems as if it is located on an island, the priest informs us. There are benches around where one can sit and enjoy the scenic beauty. A perfect blend of divinity, nature’s bounty and exquisite craftsmanship the “Dichpally Ramalayam”, is a place that appeals to nature lovers, the devout and the artistic. It is refreshingly different and worth a visit.

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