Sangareddy: Unlike the temples that witness huge crowds every day, Shanighat Temple in Mandapuram village of Kondapur mandal remains calm as it attracts fewer devotees.
The historic temple located on a hillock, popularly called as Parvati Parameshwara Gutta, is surrounded by lush green fields and is located away from urban hustle and bustle. Though it is named after Lord Shani, the hillock also houses temples of Lord Shiva, Parvati, Badrakali and Vinayaka.
Here, the presiding deities are installed in two carved out caves on top of the hillock. Though it is an ancient temple, there is no evidence to know when the temple was exactly constructed.
However, it is said that the temple was built by Saint Gamanheshwara centuries ago. The 84 stone steps laid up to the temple, a massive idol of Lord Vinayaka and the carved caves give ample evidence that it is a historic temple. But, Archaeology Department has never made any attempt to trace its history so far.
However, the temple has lost its natural sheen as the successive local rulers and temple managements have painted the temple with colours. Instead of restoring the ancient stone steps, the temple management constructed new steps using cement two years ago besides laying a road to the top of the hillock. The temple is located 20 km away from Sangareddy town and just 10 km away from Shankarpally in Vikarabad district.
It is well connected by road from both the places, but there is no mass transportation operational from either side. The temple witnesses heavy crowd on Mahashivaratri and other special occasions.
This tree is cynosure
Another major attraction at the temple is a massive banyan tree located down the hillock. As the temple management laid the floor with tiles around the tree, which they believe is as old as the temple, there is no place for the roots to connect with the earth.
Speaking to Telangana Today, priest Parameshwara Swamy said that the temple management had removed the tiles and allowed the roots to grow into the earth by placing drums for every prop root. They wanted to restrict the area of the roots, but they could not succeed in their attempt. Visiting devotees love to spend time under the banyan tree. The massive tree is also a habitat for rare birds.