MONUMENTS IN ANANTAPUR

 

Monument No: 1

Monument Name: HILL FORT AND BUILDINGS THEREIN AND THE FORTIFICATIONS AT THE FOOT OF THE HILL

Location: Gooty

Brief History : The fortifications enclose a roughly circular of steep rocky hills which rise abruptly from the plains to a height of more than 680 mtrs feet above the sea level.  These hills are connected by lower spurs enclosing a considerable area of level ground, within which is the old town of Gooty is situated. The ruins of a strong wall or rampart is strengthened by bastions. The citadel of the fortress is in the western most hill, which is  conspicuously higher with elevated towers. The rock commands the lower fortifications and the town below which is defended by a series of ramparts built one above the other and connected by gateways flanked by bastions. Numerous small reservoirs made in the clefts of the rock catch the rain water seasonally and served well.

The summit of the citadel has two buildings which apparently, a granary and a powder-magazine. On the edge of a clift some 300 feet high is a small pavilion built of brick and plaster which is called 'Morari Rao's Seat' and present an excellent view of the town below. It is said that Morari Rao, the famous Maratha, used to sit and play chess or swing himself.

There are many other buildings in ruins, mostly granaries, store rooms, and magazines, and some of these were used by Munro as prisons for refractory hill Chiefs. Near the summit of the hill, on the rocks close to the ruined Narasimha temple, are eight inscriptions, but owing to their exposure they are seriously damaged. All that can be ascertained out of three of them is that they were of the period of Western Chalukya king Vikramaditya VI, surnamed Tribhuvanamalla, who ruled from 1076-1126 AD. It can be stated that the fort and the historical structures date back to Late Chalukyan Period.

After the death of Krishna Deva Raya, there was some turmoil in the Vijayanagara kingdom, Sadasiva Raya, a nephew of Achyuta was proclaimed as Emperor with the help of Adil Shahis. It was during Venkata II's (1584-1614) rule the Gooty fort fell into the hands of the Qutb Shahis.

Aurangazeb captured Golkonda, he apparently took Gooty from Qutb Shahis. About 1746 A.D. Morari Rao established himself in the fort and eight years later he made it his permanent residence and repaired the fortifications. It is to this period that the stucco ornamentation of the small gateways belonged. In A.D.1775 Gooty was attacked by Haider Ali and sieged for five weeks the town and lower forts and two months later Morari Rao was compelled through lack of water to capitulate. At the foot of the hill is the European cemetery, where rested the body of Sir Thomas Munro, who died of cholera at Pattikonda (Kurnool district) on the 6th July 1827.

Monument No: 2

Monument Name: MADHAVARAYA TEMPLE (OLD VISHNU TEMPLE)

Location: Gorantla

Brief History: This old Vishnu temple is locally known as Madhavarayasvami temple, and is built of stone in the Vijayanagara style. It consists of a small shrine chamber, a large central hall enclosed with walls, and a large pillared mandapa in front. The most ornamental and interesting portion of the building is the pillared porch in front. The plain portions of the massive pillars are decorated with bas-relief sculptures representing scenes from Ramayana and Puranas. The entrances are richly carved with Vaishnava figures.

Monument No: 3

Monument Name: OUTER WALL OF THE MAHALAKSHMI TEMPLE

Location: Goripalli

Brief History: This old temple of Vijayanagara period is dedicated to goddess Mahalakshmi. The image has four hands, which carrying the usual attributes viz. sankha, chakra, abhaya and varada. The doorjambs of the antarala and mahamandapa carry the figures of dwarapalas, Jaya and Vijaya with Gaja Lakshmi on the lintel. It is peculiar in this temple to have male dvarapalas where the presiding deity is a goddess. The inscriptions refer that the temple is that of Mahalakshmi at Laknapur and not of Vishnu. The inscriptions in the temple belong to late Vijayanagara period.

Monument No: 4

Monument Name: GROUP OF SCULPTURES

Location: Hemavati

Brief History: These sculptures collected from the site of Hemavathi anciently Henjeru, the capital city of Nolambas represent the Nolamba Art at its apex are datable to 8th-10th century AD. These sculptures belong to Saiva, Vaishnava and Jaina faiths. Some of these sculptures are displayed in three galaries of newly constructed Site Museum. Noteworthy sculptures on display in the galleries are Uma-Mahesvara, Dakshinamurti, Alingana-Chandrasekhara, Gajantaka, Mahavishnu, Surya, Kartikeya, Ganesa, Saptamatrika both in panels and robust individual images, the dvarapalas with nidhis at the base, navagraha panels over the lintel, Ganga and Yamuna figures on the lattice windows, inscribed and sculptured memorial stones and inscribed pillars. The heavy sculptures kept outside the museum include nandis, Siva lingas, and some architectural members etc.

Monument No:5

Monument Name: GROUP OF OLD TEMPLES

Location: Hemavati

Brief History: To the north-west of the Hemavathi (Henjeru) village are group of four temples namely Siddesvara, Doddesvara, Virupaksha and Mallesvara, datable to 8th-10th cent. AD. During the reign of Nolambas (a dynasty that ruled over the area comprising of Kolar, Tumukur, Chitradurga districts of Karnataka, parts of Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh and North Arcot and Dharmapuri districts of Tamil Nadu). These temples present a tasteful blend of Pallava, Early Chalukyas and Chola art idioms. More specially architectural members like mandapa pillars, vitanas, dvaras, gavakshas depict puranic themes of Gods and Goddesses which excelled both in figure sculpture and narrative style.

SIDDESVARA TEMPLE: Facing west, has on plan from east to west a garbhagriha, an antarala, a mandapa with four pillars at the centre and masonry wall all round having an entrance in its western wall, another mandapa with four pillars at the centre and three entrances in its north, south and west walls, a mahamandapa open on all sides with four beautifully carved pillars at the centre and simple pillars at the periphery devoid of carvings and a portico on a raised platform with simle pillars. This temple is enclosed by a prakara having a main entrance in the western wall and another entrance in north-east corner. Over the main entrance is a brick parapet in the form of small niches with minature sikharas. These niches are housed with mutilated stucco figures. Along the inner side of the prakara wall runs a roofed corridor within the court-yard (prakara) is a single cell enshrining the idols of Kalabhairava, Naga and Nagini. In the middle of the southern corridor there is a room with sculptures of Vignesvara, Mahisamardani, Uma-Maheswara and Subramanya. The arbhagriha has a vimana in reducing tiers in a pyramidal form and is plastered and whitwashed. It enshrines the idol of three eyed Siddesvara, seated on a raised pedestal in sukhasana posture. He has four hands of which three hands hold trident, damaru and kapala and the fourth hand is in abhaya mudra and bears a moon crescent over the fore head.

DODDESVARA TEMPLE: Facing west, has on plan it has from east to west a garbhagriha housing a linga on a raised and moulded pitha, a closed mandapa with three bays north-south and two bays east-west with walls on north and south having a perforated windows containing a sculpture, a closed sabhamandapa with five bays in both the directions containing beautifully sculptured and carved pillars, perforated windows in its walls and an entrance in its western wall and a small mandapa of simple pillars installed with a sculpture of nandi. Two flight of four steps with balustrades were provided between sabhamandapa and nandi mandapa. In front of the temple is a deep, stepped masonry well.

VIRUPAKSHA TEMPLE: It is located to the south-west of Doddesvara temple and to the east of Siddesvara temple. This temple facing east, has on plan a garbhagriha housing in it a Siva linga on a raised and moulded pedestal, an antarala and a sabhamandapa with four finely rved and polished pillars at its centre. Originally this mandapa was open on all sides but it was enclosed with stone masonry walls between the outer pillars. Outer face of garbhagriha and antarala walls are now in size stone masonry. In front of the sabhamandapa is a small masonry chamber housing in it a sculpture of nandi. Both Doddesvara and Virupaksha temples are in a prakara having an entrance from the south.

MALLESWARA TEMPLE: This isolated temple, facing east and situated to south-east of the Doddesvara temple has on plan a garbhagriha housing in it a linga on a raised and moulded pedestal, an ardhamandapa and a sabhamandapa with four beautifully carved and polished pillars at its centre. There are traces indicating eastern extention of sabhamandapa with a projected portico in the central bay haing a sculpture of nandi. Outer wall of the garbhagriha is in size masonery. There are two flights of three steps with balustrades from north and south, provided between sabhamandapa and porch. No super structure exists on garbhagriha, adhistana is raised with usual mouldings.

Monument No: 6

Monument Name: LARGE DOLMEN ON A ROCKY HILLOCK

Location: Kalyandurg

Brief History: There is a regular pre-historic habitation at the foot of this rocky hill containing remains of Megalithic-tombs of the usual type and size but nothing so large as the structure on the hill above. This huge structure is of the usual rectangular shape formed of three huge up-right slabs for the three sides, and a fourth for the top, the front side being open. Its extradinary size, isolated position, standing on a natural bed of granite over the summit of the hill, tends to show that it was erected as a temple or a place of sacrifice.

Monument No: 7

Monument Name: MALLIKARJUNA (SIVA) TEMPLE

Location: Kambaduru

Brief History : This edifice is Chalukyan in style and shows a pronounced Jaina influence in its carvings and sculptures. It consists of a central shrine and a pillared mukhamandapa. The massive black stone pillars of the mandapa are richly carved. The parapet wall provided at the sides of the open mandapa has on outer faces carved battle scenes, processions of warriors, dancing girls and a variety of subjects mostly Jaina in their characteristics.

The temple, facing east is in Chalukyan style and has on plan garbhagriha, antarala, rangamandapas and open mukhamandapa. Garbhagriha is installed with a huge siva linga on moulded pitha and it has a stepped pyramidal superstructure (Kadambanagara). The pillars in navaranga is intricately carved. The central ceiling of the mukhamandapa is intricately carved with astadikpalas and full blown lotus. The mukhamandapa has a flight of steps on its three sides and is provided with a high parapet wall which is richly carved on its outside with battle scenes, processions of warriors, dancing girls and variety of subjects. To the northwest of main shrine, there is a shrine of Parvati with garbhagriha and antarala. This shrine, there is installed with a standing sculpture of parvati and the super structure over this shrine is an ekatala dravida vimana.

The temple has two prakaras (compound walls). The inner prakara has two entrances, one being the main in southern wall and the other in northern wall leading to a stepped well. Its northern wall has three built in niches (kostas) and southern wall has one built in niche. The outer prakara is in ruins and its traces can be seen all around with ruined basements of a dwaragopura in the middle of its western wall through which we approach to the main entrance of the inner prakara. This outer prakara may be the later addition of Vijayanagara period.

Monument No: 8

Monument Name: BASAVANNAH TEMPLE

Location: Lepakshi

Brief History: The gigantic bull in couchant posture is a grand cut out sculpture of a huge granitic rock. This monolithic sculpture is a unique example of its kind in the country. It faces west and is looking towards the Nagalinga located behind the Veerabhadra temple. It is 10 metre in length and of 6 metre height. It is decorated with a necklace, muvvahara and a hara of bells and has short horns.

Monument No: 9

Monument Name: VEERABHADRA TEMPLE

Location: Lepakshi

Brief History : The Virabhadra temple complex,perched on the Kurma Saila (Tortoise shaped hill ) was constructed by Virupanna, an officer and Treasurer during the reign of Achyutaraya (1530-1542). The Kalyana mandapa could not be completed by him. An important donatory record recently discovered belonged to the reign of Saluva Immadi Narasimha (1490-1506 A.D). The record confirms the statement of Skanda purana that Papanasesvara temple existed 50- years earlier to Virupanna. This complex has on plan, Papanasesvara, Veerabhadra and Raghunatha (Chenna Kesava) shrines having garbhagriha and antarala and other subsidary shrines for Parvati, Ramalinga, Hanumalinga, a common sabhamandapa and mukhamandapa enclosed within two prakaras. The inner prakara has three entrances of which one on the north has main entrance with a ruined gopura, and an unfinished kalyanamandapa at the southwest corner. Other mandapas at north-west corner. A cloister mandapa runs on the inner side of the outer prakara and this has two entrances, north and west, of which the northern one serves as a main entrance. Veerabhadra shrine has a pradakshinapatha around it. The shrines of Veerabhadra, Papanasesvara and Raghunatha dvitala vimanas. Adhistana of the temple has usual five mouldings and wherever it is necessary to level the ground two or three horizondal mouldings were added below. To the south of the main shrine within the inner prakara there is a huge rock carved with Ganesa, linga worshipped by spider and an elephant and a huge Nagalingam canopied by a seven hooded Naga. The best specimens of the Vijayanagara relief sculptures are seen on the composite pillars of sabhamandapa, mukhamandapa and kalyanamandapa. These sculptures are Ananthasayana, Dattatreya, Brahma, Tumbura, Narada, Rambha, Durga, Mruthyumjaya, Dancing Ganesa, Gajasura Samharamurthy, Astadikpalas etc. On the outer wall of the sabhamandapa are bas-reliefs depicting the legends of Siriyala and Kiratarjuniya. The walls of the Veerabhadra temple, the walls and ceilings of the pradakshinapatha and subsidiary shrines, the ceilings of sabhamandapa and mukhamandapa are full of murals depicting the puranic themes like Parvathi's marriage, Kiratarjuniya, Bhukailas, Vatapatrasayi, Manuchola episode, different manifestations of Siva, Draupati svayamvaram and Virupanna and his brothers worshipping Veerabhadra. These murals happily blend action and repose, anger and calm, movement of stillness.

Monument No: 10

Monument Name: HILL FORT

Location: Madakasira

Brief History: In 1728 AD this region fell under Marathas, and Morari Rao the Maratha Chief was said to have built the fort and a palace here. The fort is situated on a preciptous rocky hill. The outer fortification looks as an irregular horse-shoe and the citadel is at the summit of the hill. One of the two paths which leads upto the citadel, near the old city gateway which is of massive stones, with ornamental brick and plaster parapet in the Indo-Saracenic style. Each side of the entrance is flanked by a small circular bastion. In 1762 AD the Musalmans seized the place but were rejected out two years later. They regained the position in 1774 AD and in 1799 AD, it fell under the British with the defeat of Tippu Sultan.

Monument No: 11

Monument Name: LARGE BASTION AND AN OLD GATEWAY

Location: Madakasira

Brief History : On the south east side of the fort begins at the old city gateway which is built of stone with an ornamental brick and plaster parapet in the Indo-Saracenic style. Each side of the entrance is flanked with a circular bastions.


Monument No: 12

Monument Name: THE CITADEL AND RUINED BUILDINGS ON THE HILL

Location: Penukonda

Brief History: The citadel of the fort lies on the hill which is about 3000 feet high to the west of the Penukonda town. It is climbed up by means of a stone paved pathway upto a distance of about half a mile where there are two gateways in the form of pillared mandapas and then a ramped pathway. There are seven ramparts at different levels wtih an entrance or gateway flanked by bastions on either side. Near the fifth gate is a small Siva temple comprising a garbhagriha and an antarala. On the lintel of garbhagriha is a carved figure of Alingana Chandrasekhara Murti. While on the lintel of the antarala is the carving of Gajalakshmi. Outside are dvarapalakas. There are water tanks, cisterns and well. On the top, after passing the seventh gate, are seen a circular watch tower, a semi-circular bastion with a row of arched hood stones arranged along the outer edge and with its floor neatly plastered with lime mortar and below is an underground chamber comprising a big hall and a small room.

Monument No: 13

Monument Name: THE HILL FORT AND NORTHERN GATEWAY WITH INSCRIPTIONS

Location: Penukonda

Brief History : Traditionally it is believed that this fort was founded by Kriya Sakti Udaiyar (Vodayar). The earliest reference to this fort occurs in the 1st quarter of 14th century AD., as the south-eastern outpost of the Hoysalas of Dvarasamudra. It passed on to the hands of Vijayanagara rulers and rose to the status of a capital after 1565 AD. Passing through the hands of Mysore Chief, it was ultimately became a part of the East India Company.

The hill fort consists of a moat, long fortifications enclosing the old town of Penukonda and 3000 feet high hill to the west of it with a number of bastions at regular intervals of distance and four gateways namely Erramanchi Uru Vakili, Gorantla Uru Vakili, Cheruvu Uru Vakili, Anjaneya Uru Vakili and Ramaburuzu. Inside the fort there are monuments viz. a number of temples, a mosque, Gagan Mahal, water tanks and wells, Pavilion, Gopuram, and water tower etc. The citadel of the fort lies on the high hill to the west which is climbed up by means of a stone paved and ramped pathway. The Narasimhasvami temple with Devi shrine within a prakara, a huge dressed stone masonry tank with cloistered mandapa and gateways are important monuments.

The northern gateway also known as Erramanchi Uru Vakili has a passage in the middle flanked by two niches/chambers, of which the western one houses a huge sculpture of Hanuman. The high rounded walls of the gateway are topped by merlons in the form of parapet. The zig-zag passage following the gateway into the fort is enclosed by hill, massive cyclopean walls. Two stones of the western side wall of the zig-zag passage possess inscriptions of 16th century AD. There is a moat outside this gateway.

Monument No: 14

Monument Name: OLD GOPURAM

Location: Penukonda

Brief History : It is a dvaragopuram/gateway and has a central passage with two openings one on the east and the other on the west. The gopuram over the roof of the gateway is of brick masonry plastered with lime and raises in four talas and each tala is decorated with pilasters, shallow niches and kuta sikharas. Its adhishtana has usual mouldings and is partly buried. On either side of the passage there is a small chamber.

Monument No: 15

Monument Name: OLD STAMBA OR LAMP PILLAR IN THE SUB-COLLECTOR'S OFFICE COMPOUND

Location: Penukonda

Brief History : It is a tall monolithic pillar erected on a raised square platform of six horizontal mouldings. Its shaft consists of cubical bottom, long fluted portion tapering towards top, cubical part with pot, cusion, abacus, a moulded block and then an iron lamp. Cubical bottom of the shaft is carved with seven lines small inscription and bas-reliefs of Hanuman, Chakra and Garuda on its four faces.

Monument No: 16

Monument Name: SITATIRTHAM STEPPED WELL WITH ENTRANCE IN THE FORM OF A BULL

Location: Penukonda

Brief History : It is a deep well constructed with finely dressed stones in receding squares towards the water line. It has a flight of steps on the east. West facing side wall of the well contains the bas-reliefs of Siva, Ganesa, Gajalakshmi and Nandi. There are two entrances into this well on the eastern side of which one entrance is in the form of standing bull that faces north.

Monument No: 17

Monument Name: SMALL PAVILION AND RUINED WATER TOWER

Location: Penukonda

Brief History : It is a square structure with a small entrance in the west wall and with three windows in the other walls. Its interior has a hemispherical dome over an octogon supported by squinched arches. Its super structure is pyramidal in form with three receeding tiers of cyma recta cornices topped by an amalaka. The water tower is a square structure raised in two levels of which lower level is smaller in dimention and the upper level is larger in dimention. Its core is hallow and is in the form of receding squares from top to bottom.

Monument No: 18

Monument Name: WATCH TOWER KNOWN AS RAMA'S BASTION

Location: Penukonda

Brief History: It is in the middle of the northern wall of the lower fort. It is an octogonal structure built of brick and lime mortar and stands as an example of Indo-Saracenic style of late Vijayanagar period. It has a circular watch tower in the first floor and with a spiral staircase in the central chamber enclosed by an octogonal shaped varanda with five projected balconies with arched openings in the ground floor. This entire structure is surmounted on a square bastion in the fort wall built with stone and mud filling for the core. This stone bastion is retained by a concentric dry stone facing with walking platform. The location of this bastion is very important from the strategic point of view as it commands an excellent view of the vast area around it.

Monument No: 19

Monument Name: HILL FORT AND A LARGE WELL

Location: Ratnagiri

Brief History: A LARGE WELL – RATNAGIRI: This is one of the most beautiful and well preserved cut-stone, stepped wells of the post Vijayanagara period. The first arched entrance down the steps into the well is beautifully carved with figures of Ganga and Yamuna hoding creepers, while the lintel is decorated with Gajalakshmi. The sidewalls of the arch contain Sankha and Chakra under which a lady chauri bearer is finely carved. The architectural and sculptural style of the entrance of the side doorframes and of the lintel carvings are assignable to 16th-17th century AD.

HILL FORT - RATNAGIRI: On architectural grounds this well built impregnable fort can be assigned to 17th century AD. The fort resembles an irregular horse shoe formed by the two hills of Ratnagiri and Venkatagiri and a high neck connecting by a strong fort wall, bordered by a moat and a steep narrow glacis. The citadel on Ratnagiri is reached by a winding track leading up the hill from the Northern end of the level ground, and the natural difficulties of the approach have been skillfully enhanced by the construction of the gates and other defenses along its course. The top most portion of the fort contains two big porticos, one granary or magazine and one top most bastion situated at a picturesque height from which a clear view of the surrounding places can be had. A noteworthy feature of the fort is the existence of a number of natural water cisterns on the top of the hill providing ample water facilities for the garrison.

Monument No: 20

Monument Name: EXTENSIVE HILL FORTRESS WITH OUTLYING FORTIFICATION

Location: Rayadurg

Brief History : It is said that in the beginning of the 16th century A.D. the place was a stronghold of some Bedars, whose dis- orderly conduct compelled the Vijayanagar Kings to send an officer name Bhupatiraya to reduce them to submission. He turned them out of the place and ruled it himself and the hill was called after him Bhupati Rayani-konda or more shortly Rayadurg - means King's hill-fort. In 1787 A.D. Tippu captured the fort and in 1800 A.D. it went under British. The fort wall of huge granite slabs, runs for a distance of 8 Km. covering both the high and low hills. The entrance gates at various levels upto the top of the hill are more barbican passages with no entrance gate frames. On architectural grounds the fort owed its construction to Chalukyas or Kakatiyas who were well-known for their construction of huge forts. There are several historical monuments on the top of the hill out of which Ramasvami and Krishna or Madhavaraya temples are worth noticing.

This extensive hill fort of early 16th century AD is strongly built and runs round the hill for a distance of about 8 kms. The fort walls are exclusively of granite slabs. The entrance gateways at various levels upto the top of the hill are mere barbican passages with no entrance gate frames as such. On the top of the hill are the other monuments viz., temples of Ramasvami, Krishna (Madavaraya), Narasimha, Ellamma and other ruined ones with open water reservoirs, a garrison hall and ruins of houses of palegars with arches.

Monument No: 21

Monument Name: PALACE AND TWO TEMPLES OF RAMA AND KRISHNA

Location: Rayadurg

Brief History : THE KRISHNA OR MADHAVARAYA TEMPLE : This Vaishnava temple faces North. It is built in a massive style and proportion. The maha-mandapa rests upon four huge central pillars which are fashioned with a fluted middle portion, cubical bottom and resembling the post Chalukyan or Kakatiya style. Evidently the original temple upto the four-pillared maha-mandapa belongs to the pre-Vijayanagara period, while the huge Kalyana-mandapa resting upon eight tall central pillars must be the post-Vijayanagara addition.

RAMASVAMI TEMPLE: This is a post-Vijayanagara construction, assignable to the 17th or even 18th century AD A stone built battlement compound wall encloses the whole structure. The entrance tower or gopura is built of brick, carved with stucco plaster from the roof level and it has three storeys. The wall inside the gopura entrance contains two Telugu inscriptions of 18th century A.D. The miniature brick sikhara over the cornice each having a niche facing, contains beautiful stucco images of some Gods and Goddesses. The cornice below the brick tower on the face of the mukha-mandapa is decorated with animals and birds in stucco plaster.

Monument No: 22

Monument Name:CHINTALARAYASVAMI TEMPLE

Location: Tadapatri

Brief History : This temple was built during Vijayanagar Dynasty most probably by a local Governor Timmanaidu in the 16th century A.D It is dedicated to Vishnu, stands in a high-walled enclosure and faces the East. The ruined lofty Gopuram of the enclosure is built of stone below and brick above, the basement is richly carved with sculptures. The art exhibited on the pillars of the mandapa is grand. The work on the outer walls of the shrine consists of a large number of sculptures representing scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas.

Monument No: 23

Monument Name:RAMESVARASVAMI TEMPLE

Location: Tadapatri

Brief History : This grand edifice stands in a high-walled enclosure picturesquely situated on the edge of the Pennar River. It was built during the Vijayanagar period most probably by a local Governor Timmanaidu in the 16th century AD . The two large Gopurams on the North and South side of the temple- enclosure are among the finest architectural works executed during the Vijayanagar dynasty. The sculpture carved on the lower parts and upto the cornices of both the Gopurams, is cut with exquisite sharpness and precision.