Heritage tourism in for a big boost

Heritage tourism in for a big boost
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Highlights

The efforts of Medak district administration to promote heritage tourism and at the same time offering livelihood to rural households may soon prove to become a sustainable model of rural development. Kalpagoor, a village which is located just four kilometres away from Sangareddy on the banks of Manjeera River has an ancient past. Even until 1928, Kalpagoor was a major Taluka. 

Sangareddy: The efforts of Medak district administration to promote heritage tourism and at the same time offering livelihood to rural households may soon prove to become a sustainable model of rural development. Kalpagoor, a village which is located just four kilometres away from Sangareddy on the banks of Manjeera River has an ancient past. Even until 1928, Kalpagoor was a major Taluka.

  • Kalpagoor has been selected as a pilot project in Medak district, as part of Village Tourism Development, an initiative of the State government.
  • District Collector Ronald Rose has gone a step ahead to promote the village due to its historical and tourism significance. Borrowing ideas from Gujarat and coffee estates in Karnataka, he has decided to promote rural livelihoods through tourism development

The lesser known village has been a witness to ancient temple architecture of 11th century during the period of Kakatiya rulers. The village has nine temples, out of which Trikootalayam, also known as Kasi Visweshwaralayam has a unique importance, as it reflects both Shaivite and Vaishnavite religious traditions within the temple, which can rarely be seen elsewhere.

Though there are no historical sources to quote, the temple was believed to have been built by Obalayya, one of the followers of the army general of Pratapa Rudra I, the ruler of Kakatiya kingdom at that time. The artistically carved pillars with various design patterns, women, animals, deities and so on, have a striking similarity with the Thousand Pillar Temple (Veyyi Stambhala Gudi) in Warangal, which was also built by the Kakatiyas.

Within the temple, there are three main deities-Shiva temple on the southern side, Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple on the western side and Venugopala Swamy temple on the northern side. The entrance is facing the east.Unlike many other temples, here Nandi doesn’t face the Shiva linga. It looks sideways. Anantha Padmanabha Swamy along with his wife Lakshmi Devi are carved on a rock with him sleeping on the shesh nag and his wife by his side.

The Venugopala temple has idols of Lord Vishnu playing the flute, two women by his side and a calf enjoying the music. At the time, there were serious religious differences between Shaivites (those who worshipped Shiva) and Vaishnavites (Vishnu worshippers). With the Shiva linga and Nandi placed inside the Anantha Padmanabha temple, it can be understood that Kakatiyas probably tried to bring these two cults to worship together.

There is also an inscription on one of the pillars in a language which is neither Telugu nor Kannada, but resembles both the languages. Locals feel the word ‘Sri Gowrayya’ has been inscribed on it. Special seating arrangements are in place within the temple, for devotees to sit, relax and enjoy music, dance and other events on special occasions. At the entrance of the temple is a pandal (mandap) built on eight pillars and a beautifully carved Nandi statue inside the pandal.

There is also an ancient Koneru, a well where devotees used to take bath before entering the temple. Changing rooms were also built within the Koneru, for devotees to change their clothes. Today the Koneru has become a nesting area for pigeons and other birds. Some of the broken statues can be found in the changing rooms.

The Kakatiyas were so particular about Vaasthu Shastra, that the entire construction was planned according to it. Even until a few years ago, every morning the first sun rays could directly enter the main door of the temple, with the rays falling directly on the statue of Anantha Padmanabha Swamy. However, due to some other structures constructed outside the temple and because of ad hoc repairs done by the local devotees near the mandapa, the sun rays are being obstructed now.

The State Archaeological Department has recently sanctioned Rs 52 lakh for restoration of the temple to its original form. Though the amount may not be enough, it is a step in the right direction.Kalpagoor has eight more temples and Manjeera dam is located at a walking distance from the village. There is also a wildlife sanctuary near the dam. It is also a habitation for migratory birds which come from faraway lands.

Kalpagoor has been selected as a pilot project in Medak district, as part of Village Tourism Development, an initiative of the State government.District Collector Ronald Rose has gone a step ahead to promote the village due to its historical and tourism significance. Borrowing ideas from Gujarat and coffee estates in Karnataka, he has decided to promote rural livelihoods through tourism
development.

As per his idea, fifteen families from the village have come forward to volunteer for a ‘home stay’ hospitality experience, where visiting tourists can live in the volunteering families’ houses which are typical rural structures. The tourists can eat with the family and learn the history of the village from them. The volunteers get paid by the Telangana State Tourism Department Corporation (TSTDC) for offering their hospitality services to the guests on per stay basis.

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