A jewel in a nondescript town

Erakeswara Swamy Temple at Pillalamarri village stands as a testimony to the 13th century architecture

By Author  |  Saurabh Chatterjee  |  Published: 3rd Jun 2018  12:05 amUpdated: 2nd Jun 2018  4:37 pm
Suryapet

A small town in Nalgonda district, Suryapet is located halfway between Hyderabad and Vijayawada and serves as a good break for people continuing their journey. Not many are aware that Suryapet has a very interesting ancient temple.

We started from Hyderabad early in the morning. Our plan was to cover some interesting places around Nalgonda district. After taking a detour and visiting the Chaya Someshwara Temple in Panagal, our next destination was Suryapet.

About 16 kilometres before entering the city, we came across an overbridge across the Musi River. We stopped for some time to enjoy the views. I wish the river looked the same in Hyderabad. The Darul Shifa hospital in old Hyderabad was at one time situated beside the Musi River. I can imagine it must have looked the same as I could see it here.

The Erakeswara Swamy Temple at Pillalamarri village is the jewel of this otherwise-nondescript town. We took a left turn from the highway and, after crossing some green fields, reached the village. There was a small platform just outside the temple, and two villagers were chatting. It was fascinating to see how easygoing and relaxed the life is in the villages whereas we city dwellers are always in a hurry.

It was about 11 am but there was no one in the temple. The temple priest must have offered the morning prayers and left. Thankfully, the temple was open.

History and architecture

There are three temples located in the village – Erakeswara temple, Nameswara temple and Trikuta temple. These temples were built during the 13th century AD by the Racherla family. This family happens to be feudatories of the Kakatiyas and Rudradeva was the ruler at that time.

The Erakeswara temple is the most prominent among the three. The temple is cruciform with porticos in the east, north and south and a garbhalaya in the west.

The sikhara on the inner sanctum (garbhagriha) is of brick and lime and has intricate carvings all over the miniature turrets. The stone used in the temple has interesting acoustic properties. When you tap the stone with a coin, it sounds like metal.

There is also a huge stone slab kept outside the temple with a lot of historical inscriptions.

According to local folklore, the family found a treasure full of gold under a big banyan tree. After selling the gold, the temple was built. Though the temple has withstood the test of time, it was damaged in some attacks.

People from the village and nearby places come to the temple to seek blessings of the God. It’s a belief that people who want to get married come here to find a partner of their choice.

There is an immediate need to protect the temples for future generations.

Suryapet

 How to go: Suryapet is located at a distance of 153 km from Hyderabad on the National Highway 65. It is a very convenient drive. Apart from this, there are regular buses.

When to go: The best time of the year to go is September to March. After that, it gets really hot in these places. Mornings and evenings are the best times to visit the temple.

Where to stay: The nearest place to stay is in Suryapet. However, since it’s not very far, it can be covered as a day trip from Hyderabad.

Other places to visit: There are some places nearby which can be visited in the same trip. The Chaya Someswara temple in Panagal is just 53 km from here, and can be covered on the way from Hyderabad.

If you are going further, Palair Reservoir is another 30 km away. The Ganapeshwaralayam temple in Kusumanchi is another 10 km away.

Tips: If you are going in summers, do carry a hat and a lot of water. There are hardly any places to eat or drink on the way, please bring your own food and beverages.