ASI stumbles upon 1000-yr-old temples in Chandragiri fort

via NewInd Press published on November 28, 2007

TIRUPATI: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has stumbled upon a gold mine of history. It has unearthed two ancient temples, believed to be at least a thousand years old, on the premises of the Chandragiri Fort 14 km from here.

It followed it up with digging out not one or two but 250 artistically sculpted granite pillars near Srinivasa Mangapuram.

The temples are understandably in a bad shape. Nonetheless, are quite interesting given that one is a Vaishnava temple and the other a Shivaite one.

Though idols of the presiding deities were missing in both, archaeologists were able to identify their nature by studying the structures.

Vaishnava temples are structurally different from Shivaite temples. The ASI also found a statue of Nandi near one temple.

The other big find was near Srinivasa Mangapuram. Sources in the ASI say 250 exquisitely carved pillars, each at least 7 to 8 ft long and all laid out in an orderly fashion, were excavated at the temple.

Archaelogists believe they could have been meant for a ‘mandapam’ either adjacent to the temple or midway between Srinivasa Mangapuram and Srivari Mettu––the original second foot path from Chandragiri to Tirumala.

The ASI has reported its findings to the Government of India. These discoveries are the result of its patient efforts over a period of one year.

The two temples found at the Chandragiri Fort might be among the 52 temples said to have been built during the early years of the Rayala Dynasty around the fort and the ‘Durgam,’ which runs up to several kms around the fort, constructed by Ummadi Narasimha Yadava Raya in the 12th century.

According to historians, Chandragiri was the third capital of the Vijayanagara empire between 1584 AD and 1612 AD.

The two excavated temples were neatly brushed and marked. Visitors are not being allowed to have a glimpse of these historical shrines.

Adjacent to the temples, the ASI has also found a well, with terrakota ring bunds.

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