Tirupati history lecturer unearths rare historical treasures in Nallamalla forest

The study review revealed that the inscription on the brick stones mentioned that it was once a Buddhist temple, and the Kalamukha group of Shiva devotees with the titles 'Uttpati Pidugu - Ekanta Nivaasi'.

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  21 Nov 2022 10:34 AM GMT
Tirupati history lecturer unearths rare historical treasures in Nallamalla forest

Tirupati: Kandula Savitri is an assistant professor of history at Srikalahasti Degree College for Women. This 45-year-old has discovered a Buddhist stupa, a prehistoric cave, and some ancient sculptures in Bhairava Konda, the highest hilly area in the entire Nallamalla forest in the Prakasam district. But she has never made her findings public.

As an assistant professor in the history department at Srikalahasti Degree College for Women in Tirupati district, Savitri has discovered three temples while researching historic structures. The three temples are Shiva temple, Ammavari temple, and Bhairava Muni temple. While the last two temples are made of stone, the Shiva temple is a brick structure with an architectural style similar to that of a Buddhist stupa.

Under the supervision of her guide Dr. D. Venkateswara Reddy from Acharya Nagarjuna University, Savitri began her research and unearthed the Shiva temple (also known as Lakshumanna temple) in Bogolu village under Ardhaveedu mandal, Prakasam, which had Buddhist inscriptions. This temple is located on the highest peak in the Nallamala forest on Bhairava Konda.


"I sent the inscriptions for review to Dr. K. Muniratnam, director (epigraphy) of the directorate of epigraphy at the Archaeological Survey of India, Mysuru. The study review revealed that the inscription on the brick stones mentioned that it was once a Buddhist temple, and the Kalamukha group of Shiva devotees with the titles 'Uttpati Pidugu - Ekanta Nivaasi' destroyed it and changed them into Shiva temples," explains Savitri.


She found that Buddhism thrived even in the Nallamala forest area. On top of the stone wall are the phrases "Uttpati Pidugu - Ekanta Nivaasi," written in the 8th-century Telugu characters, and the Shiva Lingam seal. This means a group was formed to destroy Buddhist temples that believed Shiva is the only God.

Taking a risk

Savitri says her guide gave her the idea that there are many inscriptions in Nallamalla forests, especially in the deep forest areas. According to her, local villagers usually visit these temples on Mondays in Karthika Masam and only in groups. "With a team of 20 members, we started one Monday in November and stayed at the hill at night. While some of them couldn't climb higher, I, along with four of my team members, went deep inside and discovered the inscriptions," she says.


A cave discovered

The history lecturer also discovered a cave on the eastern side of the Bhairava hill temples, built by prehistoric people. "I found a cave with a large rock, showing a path to four temples. History says Buddhists lived in a prehistoric cave. The monks chiseled a fine stone from one side of the cave to come out from the other side and get to the destinations indicated," says Savitri.

Speaking to News Meter, Savitri adds, "I'm always interested in making new discoveries in historic temples. As this has been a success, I will soon send my new research for review."

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