Glimpse into age of miracles

Glimpse into age of miracles
Highlights

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Chaya Someswara Swamy Temple is an ancient temple built by the Kunduru Cholas in the twelfth century. Considered to be an exemplary model of ingenious Hindu architecture, the temple owes its fame and air of mystery to the fact that there is a constant and unwavering shadow that falls on the main deity in the exact same manner all through the day, irrespective of the po

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Chaya Someswara Swamy Temple is an ancient temple built by the Kunduru Cholas in the twelfth century. Considered to be an exemplary model of ingenious Hindu architecture, the temple owes its fame and air of mystery to the fact that there is a constant and unwavering shadow that falls on the main deity in the exact same manner all through the day, irrespective of the position of the sun.

The origin of this chaya or shadow is an unresolved conundrum and over the years many have speculated over what could be the science behind this. While some have said it could be the refraction of light and the peculiar positioning of the pillars whose shadows unite to cast a single unchanging shadow on the idol, no matter the time of the day and the direction of the light. These theories have remained as just that, theories and the mystery of the shadow continues to be.

So does the legend of this ancient temple. It is this unique feature - that the temple is named after - which is considered a striking testimony to the architectural brilliance of that era. These very pillars are also fabled for the exquisite sculptures carved into them.

There is a four-hundred-year water body just across the road from the temple that is quickly turning into a picnic spot. The Panagal Tank, also known as Udaysamudram, is a balancing reservoir that today meets the irrigation and drinking water needs of over five hundred villages near here.

Also in close proximity to this temple, is yet another ancient temple dating back to the eleventh century and dedicated to the same presiding deity, Someswara; albeit little known. Known as the Pachala Someswara Swamy Temple, the idol here is carved out of green onyx giving this temple its name - literally translated to mean the green Someswara Swamy temple.

The temple grounds here are also home to a museum that boasts of statues and sculptures from the Ikshvaku Dynasty of the first century. The Pachala Someswara Swamy temple together with the immensely popular Chaya Someswara Swamy Temple nearby, attract devotees in droves during the festival of Shivaratri.

One can combine this trip with a short detour to Devarakonda, where a sprawling fort lies in ruins but provides with ample opportunity for hiking. Climb up the crumbling, disappearing steps with a pleasant breeze in tow to cross hillocks, come across local herders with their sheep and kids playing which is in all likelihood one of the toughest game of hide and seek; what with the crevices, the short but steep valley sides and the thick and distinctive undergrowth of forest that covers the dark corners.

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