The temple town of Alampur in the Mahbubnagar district of Telangana is renowned for its Ashtadasa Shakti Peetham, the Jogulamba Temple.
But there is more to this sleepy little town that is only a few hours from Hyderabad. It is believed to be the Western gateway to Srisailam, one of the important pilgrimage centres for Shaivites (Shiva believers) in the country.
Locals say that there are so many Shiva Lingams everywhere, in and around Alampur only waiting to be found that this little town is known as Dakshina Kasi, implying it is South India’s very own Benaras/Varanasi/Kasi, the abode of Lord Shiva and the Hindus’ City of Moksh (salvation).
Navabramha Temple Complex & Jogulamba
Nine for Navabramhas, nine forms of Lord Shiva.
Legend has it that a 6th century saint, Rasa Siddha had created a tantric Siddha Rasarnavam here at the Navabramha temples, built by the then Chalukya king, Pulakesi II. Using which, he could create gold out of mercury just by adding a few herbs. It is after this tool of alchemy – religious mysticism, that the nine deities here are named.
It is in this Navabramha Temple Complex, that the Jogulamba Temple is situated. One of the eighteen major Shakti Peethams, as listed by Adi Shankaracharya.
Here the goddess takes her Roudra Roopam or the form of fury. Which is why there is a moat around the main shrine, to cool the atmosphere and make it easier for us mere mortals to pray to this ‘Mother of Yogis’, they say.
So, both the principal deities of this temple come power packed with legends and beliefs! It is little wonder then that Alampur is a popular destination for a lot of Hindu pilgrims in Telangana.
But what is different here is that, this temple complex stands a stoic witness to a lot of mankind’s history.
For within its original walls, amidst all the temples, sits a dargah (grave/shrine of a religious figure or saint).
Speaking volumes of a time when not just this temple was invaded by intolerant rulers. The Bahamani sultans of the 14th century, in this case.
Every temple in this town seems to some how signify the importance of the holy confluence of the rivers Krishna and Tungabadhra. To begin with, Alampur itself gets the monicker ‘Navabramha Theertham’ from this. the most prominent one, the Navabramha Temple Complex built on the banks of Tungabadhra in the 7th century, together with the word ‘theertham’ meaning holy water give this town the name . Yet another temple in Alampur hinting at the holy confluence or Sangam is the Sangameswara Temple.
Did you know?
The Sangameswara Temple was moved stone for stone from the banks of the river to where it is now, during the construction of the Srisailam Dam in the 1970s.
This temple comes next only in terms of popularity for it is just as beautiful as the first if not even more striking in its stoic solitude. This only leaves us to wonder just how important were these rivers once, spiritually!
Papanasi Group of Temples
Save the best for the last and use Google Maps to take you to the Papanasi Group of Temples next. Tucked away, just around the corner from the main town of Alampur, is this cluster of 24 temples, stunningly elegant in their simple design.
Majority of these shrines are dedicated to Lord Shiva – yet again – housing Lingams in numerous forms.
Distance from Hyderabad: 215 kilometres
Trip Duration: Full Day
Route: Alampur is a three hour drive along the Hyderabad-Bangalore Highway. One can either go via the Outer Ring Road or the Airport. To save on time, plan your day trip so that you are not stuck in the city traffic during peak hours.
Tourist Info: The Jogulamba Temple in Alampur is open from 7 am to 5:30 pm, and is closed for an hour during the day between 1pm to 2pm. It is advisable, though not mandatory, for women to dress in traditional Indian clothes like a salwar kameez or a saree.
Remember: The Jogulamba temple closes early, so make sure to visit here first. It is also customary to take along a saree and bangles as an offering to the Mother Goddess.