Hyderabad: The Sri Muktheswaraswamy Temple at Kaleshwaram will be developed as a pilgrimage centre at a cost of Rs 100 crore with various facilities for pilgrims and conducting rituals. It will be built in an extent of 600 acres around the temple, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao announced.
Speaking after offering prayers at the temple along with his family on Sunday morning, the Chief Minister also said plans to conduct a maha yagam at the temple were being considered. It would coincide with the launch of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project works.
Chandrashekhar Rao went around the nearby Medigadda barrage, the linchpin of the Kaleshwaram project, along with officials from Irrigation and other departments. He also inspected in detail the ongoing works and their schedule.
Chandrashekhar Rao said with the Kaleshwaram project nearing completion, the temple would be developed for it to emerge as a major pilgrim centre in the State as well as a tourist attraction with the project site nearby. Lakhs of people will visit the temple because of its significance and once it is developed and facilities for pilgrims are put in place, he said.
The Chief Minister instructed the Collector to begin the process of acquiring 600 acres, including that belonging to the government, Forest Department and private persons. The facilities should include a Kalayana Mandapam and residential quarters for the archakas. There will also be a Veda Pathashala and Kalashala, while the Pushkar Ghats by the river will be developed to ensure safety and comfort of pilgrims seeking to take a holy dip in the river, he said.
For the proposed foundation laying ceremony of the temple development, an invitation was extended to Sringeri Peetham head Bharati Theertha Swamy. “Once the barrages of the Kaleshwaram project are completed, water from the Godavari will be available till the Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Temple at Dharmapuri, a distance of 170 km. The project will irrigate 45 lakh acres for two crops every year,” he said.
“There was a time when our eyes would swell with tears looking at the dry Godavari riverbed at Ramagundam and during the Statehood movement, I would throw coins in the river praying that the day should come when the Godavari will flow through Telangana all-round the year. Those prayers are now being answered with the Kaleshwaram project nearing completion,” he said.
Accompanying the Chief Minister and his wife Shobha Rao to the temple were Ministers Errabelli Dayakar Rao and Koppula Easwar, Rajya Sabha member J Santosh Kumar, Chief Advisor to the Government Rajiv Sharma, Advisor to the Government Anurag Sharma, Chief Secretary SK Joshi, Smita Sabharwal from the CMO, MLAs Gandra Venkataramana Reddy and Dasari Manohar Reddy, MLCs N Lakshman Rao and Bhanu Prakash, former MLA Putta Madhu, and Collectors Devesena and Venkateswarulu, among many others.