Untold Stories of our Temples-3: Oh man! Govt apathy dogs God’s abode

Untold Stories of our Temples-3: Oh man! Govt apathy dogs God’s abode

Rock-built mandapa left in a lurch

Hyderabad: Lack of accountability and transparency appears to be the hallmark of the Endowments Department, which has resulted in many temples losing their valuable assets. Even the traditions have been given a go by. There is no clarity as to exactly how many temples there are in Hyderabad. When asked, the regional assistant commissioner of the Endowment Department said, "I have not heard about any survey regarding 200 temples located in Hyderabad. As per our records, there are about 600 temples in Hyderabad,” he said.

He said he could not say how many there are area-wise. Many temples are located in different parts, including areas like Charminar and Bahdurpura mandals. He said the records that the department has are very old and date back to 1966 and the 1970s. The department has not bifurcated records as per the manuals.

If that is the situation, then how is it that the assets of some temples located in certain areas of Charminar or Bahadurpura mandals have been put in the public domain? The department needs to answer.

Interestingly, the Swamyambu Chennakesava Swamy temple in Chandrayanagutta reportedly has assets worth crores of rupees, which include commercial properties. But the department seems to have put these details under wraps. When it comes to temple assets in Rangareddy district, the public disclosure shows them as ‘Nil’ while the endowment department disclosed the assets of temples located in Shaikpet, Khairatabad, Musheerabad, Maredpally, Secundrabad, Ameerpet, and Thirumalgiry mandals but not about temple assets in Bhadurpura, Charminar mandals, and other such mandals.

Going around the Chennakesava Swamy temple, Hans India noticed that there was a notice board opposite the main road down the hill of the temple that claimed that a piece of land belonged to the temple and was meant for Ratha Shala (the house for the temple chariot). Adjacent to this temple, there is a rock-constructed mantapa belonging to the Swayambhu Chennakesava Swamy temple.

According to Dayanand, a devotee, “The tradition was that the presiding deity was taken out in a Ratha Yatra in the area. But for the past several decades, due to the neglect of the temple by the authorities, no ratha yatra was organised, and now there is only ratha sala. There is neither a chariot nor a yatra taken out.”

Secondly, since the temple is located atop a hill called Kesavagiri, auspicious occasions are organised at the mandapa for the devotees to participate and witness the celebrations. But, for decades, in the mandapa no events have been organised. All that the temple now organises’ are Kalyanam and Brahmotsavams, during which the deity is taken out within the temple premises in a small damaged palanquin decked up for the occasion.

When allegations of encroachment of temple property came up, the department and temple management committee together decided to construct a commercial complex at the foothill of the temple and lease it out for commercial activities. Are the authorities listening?

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