No matter where you go, you will always find something interesting on the way. During our trip to Khammam, we decided to first find out if there are some places that we could cover on the way.
Along with three friends, I set out on the bike early one morning. Our first stop was the Chaya Someshwara temple in Suryapet which is famous for the mysterious shadows of the pillars that form in each of the shrines. After witnessing this architectural feat, we went to the Shiva temple in Pillalamarri village in Suryapet.
Our next stop was the Ganapeshwaralayam temple in Kusumanchi. We turned left from the highway as passed by some villages. While waiting for two friends who fell behind, we saw a potter working. I had once tried my hand at pot-making and realised how difficult it is to make one. It’s really an art to get everything perfect – from the shape to the thickness. As his wife was bringing all the pots one by one, the potter was arranging them on the oven.
Ten minutes later, we reached the temples. It was such a scenic location. The temples were located in the middle of paddy and cotton fields.
Kusumanchi was famous for the Ganapeshwaralayam and Mukkanteswaralayam, the two temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. These temples were built in the 12th and 13th centuries during the rule of the Kakatiyas.
The temples looked quite familiar as they bear a striking resemblance to the other Kakatiya temples like the Ramappa temple in Palampet or the Thousand Pillar temple in Warangal, though these are much smaller. The sanctum sanctorum is housed on a star-shaped platform. The Shivalingam was about 5 feet in height.
Some of the dancing figurines on the walls of the temple looked interesting, while some sculptures were lying around. Unfortunately, some other statues and carvings, which couldn’t stand the test of time, have been replaced with plain stone sheets. As it is very common in most temples, there are figures of marching elephants all around.
We went at a time when no one was around. We first took darshan of the God and then took a parikrama. In most temples, it’s not allowed to take a picture of the main deity. Even if there was no one around, we thought of following the rule.
This place was known as Krupamani during the Kakatiya reign. The temple priest comes every morning to perform puja to the deities, thanks to the support of some local people. The locals have also taken steps to conserve its heritage. Recently, the government has also decided to support the initiatives and work towards strengthening the foundation platform, which is in a bad state.
How to go: The best way to reach here is, as usual, by your own transport. Kusumanchi is located at a distance of 172 km from Hyderabad. The highway is great and takes three-and-a-half hours to reach. You need to take the NH65 till Suryapet and then NH 42 towards Khammam. It is 22 km from Khammam and 40 km from Suryapet. If you are coming by bus, you can get down at Kusumanchi, and take an auto.
When to go: This place can be visited anytime of the year. You can start early morning and be back before it gets too hot.
The daily puja happens in the morning. The temple is not closed during the afternoon; however, there is no one around.
Where to stay: As this can be done as a day trip, stay is not required. If you are going further ahead, you can stay in Khammam.
Other places to visit: There are some places nearby which can be visited in the same trip. The Chaya Someswara temple in Panagal is a must-visit place on the way. The Shiva temple at Pillalamarri village near Suryapet is another great place. Beyond Kusumanchi, you can head to Khammam which has forts and temples. Bhadrachalam is also not very far.
Tips: These places are very pristine as not many people visit. Please take every effort to keep it clean and not litter around.