Alampur is located on the banks of the
Tungabhadra and abounds in antiquities of the 'Chalukyan' times. It
situated on the border between Kurnool
and Mahaboobnagar districts
of Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the most
sacred "Shaivite" centres in AP. It is a paradise for tourists
interested in archaeological studies. It is said that the six known
sections of Hinduism - 'Kaumara' and their sub-sections flourished here.
It is known as the western gateway to Srisailam temple and also as 'Dakshin Kasi' (Varanasi of South). Alampur is also known as "Navabrahmeshwara Theertha". The Tungabhadra flows here from south to north and consequently Alampur attained special religious importance.
A Holy Place
Alampur was known in the past by various names such as "Halampuram", "Hamalapuram" and "Alampuram". A damaged inscription dated AD 1101 pertaining to the reign of the western Chalukya King Tribhuvanamalla Vikramaditya VI, however, mentions the name of this place as "Hatmpura".
According to the local history there are fifty 'Theerthas', eighteen 'Maha Theerthas' and sixty-four Ghats at this place. Among all the Theerthas, the 'Papavinasa Theertha' is considered to be the most sacred. It is believed that the Brahma built the nine temples of 'Bala', 'Kaumara', 'Arka', 'Veera', 'Viswa' or 'Vishwa', 'Garuda', 'Swarga', 'Padma' and 'Taraka Brahmeswara'.
The Temple Groups
This place got its prominence because of the two groups of temples called Brahmesvara and Papanatha on either side of the village. The Badami Chalukyas built these temples in (7th century AD). The entire complex is a treasure house of history and art. These temples do not follow the Dravidian temple style and are closer to the Northern and Western Indian styles of architecture.
The 'shikharas' (spries) of all these temples have a curvilinear form and are adorned with the miniature architectural devices. The plans and decoration of these temples resemble the plans and carvings some the rock cut temples of the Western India.
Nava Brahmas (Nine Shrines)
The principal temple in the first group of nine temples called Bala Bramha, in a cluster of shrines and in style bears a striking resemblance to the Papnatha temple at Pattadakal in Dharwar district (Karnataka State). It has remained in worship through the centuries and is therefore often been renovated.
The idol of Bala Brahmesvara is resplendent and is supposed to be 'Jyortirlingam'. Another interesting feature is that any quantity of water used for 'Abhisheka' goes inside and a single drop does not come out. The images are a mixture of routine sculptures like 'Jogulamba', 'Durga', 'Narasimha' and the 'Rishis'. In the courtyard are images of 'Mukhalinga', 'Sahasralinga' and 'Mahishasuramardini'. The most vital image is the mother goddess in the small shrine.
Swarga Brahma Temple
It is one of the important shrines, which seems to have been constructed towards the end of the 7th century AD. This temple has a six-pillar porch on the east, the 'Puranghata' pillars being decorated with 'Amalkas'. The doorway has horned 'Dwarpals'. One can find on the doorframe symbolically carved Ganga and Jamuna (also spelt as Yamuna) with the 'Garuda Naga' motif above.
The temple has a curvilinear shikhara of the northern style, with a figure of dancing Shiva carved in the 'Chaitya' window of the 'Sukanasi'. The pattern of carving is the same as on the Vishva Brahma temple. Shiva is shown in another mood as he stands, pensively, with the gracious bend of his body, almost supplicating Parvati.
Padma Brahma Temple
The structure of this temple is similar to that of Swarga Brahma shrine. Apart from the sculptures of two 'Dwarpalikas' near the square gateway, with the flying figure on the top, the sculptures on the facade of this temple have all been destroyed.
The Garuda Brahma Temple
Elaborate carvings on the pillars inside the hall distinguish this temple, with the cool shadows secured for the extension of consciousness into the non-sensuous realms of calm.
Arka Brahma Temple
One can see only ruins of this temple now. The roof of this temple has disappeared.
Kumara Brahma Temple
The porch of this shrine has detailed intricate carvings on its pillars. The style of construction of this temple is almost similar to the other Nava Brahma shrines. There is a row of seven heads, carved on the hall doorframe of this temple, of which the significance seems to be lost to us.
Vira Brahma Temple
It is similar to the other shrines, there is no distinguishing feature, which makes this temple unique.
Vishva Brahma Temple
The distinct feature of this temple is that it has no porch, the plan of the Vishva Brahma resembles the Swarga Brahma. The sculptures are also similar, both in theme and execution, though the virtuosity has disappeared because of the vandal's axe.
Taraka Brahma Temple
It is built in emergent southern style, which distinguishes this temple from all the other Nava Brahma group of shrines. This temple has a 'Garbhagriha', an 'Antarala' and a porch. The large blocks of stone don't carry any relief except for the 'Devakoshtha' in the center of each of the three walls of the Garbhagriha. There is an image of 'Paralambapadalakshmi' on the 'Antarala' doorway. The top consisting of 'Sala', 'Kudu' and 'Panjaran' can be graduating towards the 'Gopuram' style.
Alampur is not only an important place for those who worship Shiva but it is also equally important for others as it contains a famous shrine of Narasimha, a temple for 'Surya' (the sun God) and also the temples of 'Mahishasura Mardhani', 'Venkateswara' or Venkateshwara, 'Kamakshi' and 'Virabhadra'.
Rail: Alampur can be reached from
Hyderabad by rail on the
Road: One has to go to Raichur from Hyderabad and then go by the newly opened bridge over Tungabhadra.
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