- Mr. Prabhakar Banagani Venkata
|Here is an Article, published in ASIAN AGE :
Prabhagiri Patnam, a tiny hamlet located 11 km from Podalakur in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, is a village of relics.
A magnificent Siva temple that was built during the Chola regime is in a dilapidated condition now and is also the haunt of unscrupulous treasure hunters.
Over the years, majority of the 101 smaller temples and ancient stone wells in the village have crumbled. It is believed that the name ‘Patnam’ indicates that it was a trade centre during the medieval period.
Temples were also constructed here during the early period of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century.
K. Saibhaktha Kesava, assistant director in the archeology department, said that the megalithic burials found in the area indicated that the village dated back to at least 500 BC.
According to the villagers, most of the temples were destroyed in invasions by Muslim kings in the medieval era. Others succumbed to the ravages of time.
Only the Perumallaswamy temple and a Siva temple built of beautifully carved granite stones stand as mute testimony to the artistic skills of the sculptors of yore. The archeology department restored the Perumallaswamy temple. However, the Siva temple has become a shelter for poisonous snakes and bats and has been ravaged by treasure hunters. Uprooted idols of Lord Rama, Seetha, Lakshmana and Veerabhadra are seen lying in the premises. 'It continues even now and officials are doing nothing,' said Radhakrishna, a villager.
Prabhagiri Patnam is surrounded by four hills, Krishnamma konda, Pedakonda, Chirutalakonda and Vishnukonda; and it is believed that each hill had a temple in the past.
A stone idol of lord Krishna is still lying atop Krishnammakonda, though the temple is in ruins.
A temple believed to be of lord Siva has become a part of the tank bund located two kilometers from the village.
Only the top portion of the temple is visible, while the rest is concealed under the bund. 'It is said that there was a fortress in the area too,' said Venu, a villager. 'Villagers believe that bhajans are heard from the ancient temple during Sivarathri.'
'We are taking up renovation of such temples in a phased manner and a proposal is ready to give a facelift to the Siva temple,' said Kedareswari, director of the archaeology department
Though people of Prabhagiri Patnam blame officials, the ASI authorities say that the villagers protested when the department tried to restore the Siva temple in 1988.Idols of different deities lie strewn about the village. 'When I was a child, there were a large number of Nandi idols, lying around' said Seenaiah, 50, of the village. 'Not many are seen now.'|
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