It has been my long wish to visit Alampur, which is known as DakshinaKailasam and is also the place for Shakti Peetam. Alampur is situated in Mahabubnagar , Telangana. It is just 27 km. from Kurnool town and around 200 Kms from Hyderabad.Alampur is located on the confluence of two mighty rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra. It is considered the Western gateway to the Srisailam. The other three being Siddavattam Tripurantakam and Uma Maheshwaram. Alampur also houses one of the famous Shakti Peetha. I have visited this place when I was a child and wanted to visit it for its architecture wonder. I and my friend have decided to visit the place. The main temples here are dedicated to Lord Shiva (Bala Brahma) and Goddess Jogulamba. There are Nava (nine) Brahma temples here. Swarga Brahma, Padma Brahma, Bala Brahma, Vishwa Brahma, Garuda Brahma, Kumara Brahma, Arka Brahma, Vira Brahma. Though most of the sculptures are broken still they have the elegance.
It took us 25 mins to reach Alampur from Kurnool. It is a pleasant journey passing through the green fields which had various crops like tobacco, maize, and corn. For half the distance the road was fine, but the remaining half was very narrow path, but thankfully the road is getting widened. The sign post are helpful to reach the place. On the way you willpass through remote villages, yet untouched by the urbanization.
As soon as you reach the parking lot you can see the temple Shikara, but can get confused when you see a board that tell us that it is a Masjid? After getting down from our vehicle, we first entered the Bala Brahma Swamy temple. This is the main temple among the Nava Brahma temple. It was a month of Karthekam, and lightening a lamp in the temple is considered auspicious. We purchase the articles needed for the Pooja outside the temple and entered the temple. It looks like the temple level is well below the road level. As soon as you enter the temple you are welcomed to a feast of wonderful architectures. I was wonder struck by the similarity in the architecture between Badami caves in Karnataka and Architecture in Alampur. When I referred Google, it is true that this place was built by Chalukyas who were the rulers of Badami, Karnataka. These beautiful temples were built during their rein and was later few temples were added by the rulers of Vijayanagara Empire.
After entering the main temple, if we turn to the right we can see the Dwajasthambam. Here is the place to light the lamps. There were a few people waiting to light the lamps. We lighted the lamps here and entered the temple. A big granite carved Nandi welcomes us. There are pillars in this hall, with minute carvings on it. Most of the images are the Nagas, leaves, lions, devas, Yakshaks. There are carvings on the ceiling also. Most of them are the square in shape with flying Yaksha’s.
As you move inside the temple, you can see Lord Ganeshaidol looking as though guarding the entrance. Just opposite to him is his brother Lord Subramanian and Kala Bhirava idol to the other side. After praying here we moved towards the left side. There is a very small dark room here. It is here that the Goddesses Jogulambha idol was kept to protect it from the Muslim invaders. My friend has told me that she still remembers praying to the Goddesses here in this small room. The room is very very small and we can only manage to sit on our knees, push our head and can fold hands. Now, the same idol has been installed in the newly constructed Jogulambha temple.
Inside the temple it is very peaceful and in whichever direction you see, we can see the rich sculptures and beautiful idols. After walking few steps we reached the main Santorum. Here is the Bala Brahma Swamy in the form of a Lingam. This temple is dated back to 702 CE. The Lingam seen here is in the form of footprint of a bull. Bala Brahma temple is the only temple among nine brahma temples to have Poojas performed. After praying and enjoying the bliss we came out. We walked towards the right side and little inside we can see the idol of Renuka (mother of Parashu Rama) and Bhudevi. One fascinating fact is though the temple is devoted to Lord Shiva, there are images of Garuda, Lotus which can be seen in Lord Vishnu temple.
The temple courtyard is very big and there are many small temples, but most of them are in ruins. There are two temples with huge Lingams. No regular Pooja is performed here. We can go inside and touch the Lingam and pray. The mainhall of the temple is quite spacious and we can see rich carvings on the ceiling, and on the Pillars. The striking features of the temple in Badami cave and Alampur is the layout of the shire. Both of them have a big main hall with huge pillars and then a small main Santorum with the Deity inside. The Lingam are carved from the black granite stone and they are so smooth that in sufficient light we can see our faces.
We went around the courtyard and saw many small temples with along veranda’s. Later we walked towards Jogulambha temple. The original Jogulambha temple was destroyed during the Bahamani Sultan attack in the 14th Century. The current temple was constructed in 2006. This temple is one of the 18 Sakthi Peetams. It is 5th Sakthi Peetham in the order of importance. Goddesses Sati Devi’s Upper teeth fell here. According to Hindu Puranas Sati Deviwas the daughter of Dakshaprajapathi(the son of Brahma). She has married Lord Shiva against the wishes of her father, Daksha. Daksha’s hatred to Lord Shiva was so much that he wanted to perform a huge Yugna withoutLord Shiva. He invited all the god’s, Rishi’s, but does not invite his daughter Sati and her husband Lord Shiva. Sati wanted to go for Yagna against the wishes of her husband Lord Shiva. When she arrived at the Daksha’s place she was ignored and was insulted. Feeling humiliated Sati created a yogaagni and dies in it. Hearing the death of his dear wife Shiva becomes very angry and created fierce deity Veerabhadra and asked him to destroy the yagna and kill Daksha. After the Daksha was killed Shiva carried the dead body of Sati on his shoulders and wasgoing around the universe with a lot of grief. Even after several thousand years Shiva could not contain his grief. So, Vishnu on the request of other God’s uses his Sudarshana Chakra to cut the body of Sati into pieces. Sati’s body was cut into 51 pieces and the place where her body parts fell became an important ShakthiPeetam. Among the 51 Peetam’s 18 are considered to be very auspicious. In that order Alampur is the 5th most important Shakti Peetam.
The current temple was built in the year 2006. The temple is standing at the same place where it was in the ancient times. The architecture and the layout of the temple is quite different from the other South Indian and North Indian temples. After we cross the main Gopuram, there is a big open space with a large garden. As we cross the garden there is an elevated Mandapam. Surrounding the Mandapam is the water. The Mandapam again has a small Santorum. The Goddess Jogulambha is installed in this Santorum. The actual name of the Goddess is Yogulaamma. That is mother of yogis. She is worshipped by yogi’s who follow aghora type of rituals. The Goddesses has corpse (dead body) as her asana and she is very fierce looking with a big and wide opened eye’s. On the head of the Goddesses are the pictures of Lizard, scorpion, skeleton, owl, monkey and a snake. These pictures can be seen even on the entrance to the Santorum. It is believed that the darshan of the Goddesseswill remove all the inauspicious from our life. Just outside the Santorum are the two dwarapalinies. They also look exactly like the Goddesses inside the Sanctorum. Because the Goddess is so fierce the surrounding area will be very hot, to pacify that water is maintains surrounding the Sanctorum. Contrary to the belief I found the Goddess to be very peaceful and beautiful full of mercy. I have enquired with my friend and she also felt the same.
In the main hall the pillars are all well decorated with idols of other Sakthi Peetams. One point to remember here is no photos are allowed. If they catch you taking the photos of the main Deity then your phone will be put in the hundi box. So, be careful while taking Photos and Please follow the instructions.
Following the sloka to pray to Goddess
Every day at 5 P.M a beautiful aarathi is performed for the Goddess. It is worth seeing.
After spending sometime and praying to the Goddess we went to see Kamashi temple. In this temple courtyard a Masjid is built. Not sure what was destroyed to build this Masjid. A little further from here is the Kamashi temple. In this temple we can touch the golden lizard. It is believed that touching the golden lizard will remove the inauspicious things when a lizard falls on us. Most of the area around this temple is in ruins. We came out of this temple and walked towards three temples that are towards left to the Bala Brahma swami temple.
These temples are a part of Nava Brahma temples. The first temple is the Arka Brahma temple. The most striking feature of this temple is the life size status at the entrance. These life size structures can be seen in Badami Caves. Inside the temple is once again the classic architecture of lotus, Nagas, Lions, Yakshas, devas. The main linga is in the small Sanctorum. In the main hall there are 9 avatharas of devi. I did not pay attention to the other status, these look like the dasaavatharas of Vishnu. I was able to figure out only the Varahaavatara. Next time I have to pay attention and see the other status. It is said that it is very rare to see Devi in Varahaavatara.
The next temple is the Veera Brahma. This temple is also maintained well. Good sculputure. The main diety is the Shiva. A huge linga is inside the Santorum. The last temple is Vishwa brahma.
Then we came out and a little towards right is another temple. On the main entrance all the nava brahma’s are carved. Inside is again Lord Shiva in the Linga form. This temple has sculptures depicting the Sagaramadhanam, Vishnu avatar. The various hues of the stone is beautifully used to create a wave effect. The faces of all the sculptures are serene, the structures are perfect. You feel a lot of peace when you sit here and wonder about the sculptures who has created such a beautiful structures.
It was sunset by the time we came back to Kurnool.