At a distance of 218 kms from Hyderabad, 22 Kms from Kurnool, 126 Kms from Mahbubnagar & 200 kms from Srisailam, Alampur is a historical place located in Mahbubnagar district of Telangana. Alampur is famous for the Jogulamba Temple (a Shakti Peetha), Navabrahma temples and Sangameswara Temple built in 7th century. Alampur is considered as the western gateway to the famous pilgrimage town Srisailam. The temple consists of several inscriptions dated between 7th and 16th centuries. Alampur is one of the most significant places to visit near Hyderabad.
Situated on the banks of River Tungabhadra close to the sangam of the mighty rivers of Krishna and Tungabhadra, Alampur has rich historical and pilgrimage importance. Several dynasties ruled this place including Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Bahamani sultans, Vijayanagara kings and finally the Hyderabad Sultanate and successors.
Alampur town is also called as Navabrahmeswara Teertha.
The temples at the location were built between 650 CE and 750 CE. The area on which the temples once stood was submerged under the Sri Sailam project. So these temples were relocated to higher ground. These temples were destroyed by invading muslim armies in 1390 CE. And they remained in ruins until 2005, when they were restored by the Archeological survey of India. These temples are controlled by the Archaeological Survey of India under The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. Except for the temples of Jogulamba and that of Bala Brahma the remaining ancient temples at Alampur are in a state of disuse and partial disrepair because they are maintained as archaeological ruins rather than as living temples.
Chaturmukha Brahma, after losing his position due to a curse of a saint, performed tapasya to regain his position in the celestial order. Mahadeva took nine different forms to and blessed Brahma with the power to create. Thus nine different temples were built to celebrate these nine forms. The Shivalinga in the main temple of Bala Brahma temple is seen in the form of footprint of a bull.
Jogulamba Temple is very ancient and one of 18 Maha Shakti Peethas of Goddess Shakti. This temple is 5th Shakti Peetha representing upper teetth of Shakti. Here Jogulamba is seen seated on the Corpse with scorpion, frog, and lizard on the head. She is seen in a naked avtar with her tongue stretched outside, an avtar of fierce goddess that grants Siddhi in Yoga and hence called Jogulamba from telugu – Yogula / Jogula Amba, a synonym for Mata Parvati.
History of the temples
Chalukyas, who ruled this area from Vatapi (present Badami) for over two centuries, constructed nine magnificent temples called Navabrahma temples along with Sangameswara Temple between 640 AD and 753 AD. The temple construction was initiated by Chalukya King Pulakesi II during his visit to Alampur while returning to Vatapi after his victory over Pallavas of Kanchi. Later, the rulers of Rashtrakuta and Kalyani Chalukya Empires have contributed to the enhancement of these temples. The Navabrahma temples, are
- Bala Brahma
- Taraka Brahma
- Swarga Brahma
- Padma Brahma
- Garuda Brahma
- Kumara Brahma
- Arka Brahma
- Vira Brahma
- Vishwa Brahma
All of these were built in close proximity on the banks of River Tungabhadra. Among these nine, Bala Brahma temple is the biggest and is currently the only active temple. The Jogulamba Temple is also located near these temples but is not part of the complex. Sangameswara Temple is about 2 Kms from Navabrahma temples site.
There is an alternative version of the sthala purana. There was in the 6th century CE a great saint called Rasa Siddha who had the power to convert base metal into gold and he was close to the Chalukya king Pulakesi II. He was instrumental in constructing the temples called ‘Nava Brahmas’. The nine names of Siva are actually the names of medicinal herbs put forth by Rasa Siddha and there are nine deities with their corresponding temples. They are the Swarga Brahma, Padma Brahma, Vishva Brahma, Arka Brahma, Bala Brahma, Garuda Brahma, and Taraka Brahma.
The Siddha Rasarnavam is a tantric work, which states that if upasana is performed as per the prescribed Tantra, then Mercury oozes from the Linga of Bala Brahma, Thighs of Subramanya, Navel of Ganapati, and Mouth of Mother Jogulamba, which can be converted into Gold by using the medicinal herbs.
The original Jogulamba Temple and Taraka Brahma Temple were completely demolished by Bahamani Sultan army towards the end of 14th century. Vijayanaraga king Harihara Raya sent his army to stop the plunder by Bahamani Sultan’s army and fortified the temple complex to stop further attacks on the temple. The current temple of Jogulamba was completely reconstructed in 2005 with some parts coming from the remains of the old temple destroyed in 1390.
This very popular temple stands as a testimony to Chalukya Art and Culture. The Tungabhadra and Krishna are seen in a confluence near Alampur, and hence it is also known as Dakshina Kailasam. It is also said that Brahma had performed a great penance at today’s Alampur for thousands of years, and he pleased Lord Siva who conferred the powers of creation for him. Hence, the deity is also called Brahmeswara and the goddess as Yogini or Jogulamba, a synonym for mother Parvathi.
The historical Jogulamba temple in Alampur would soon become a major tourist destination with its inclusion under the PRASAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation Advancement Drive) scheme of the Government of India. The Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation has planned a series of developmental works at the temple as the state is poised to get about Rs 80 crore under the scheme.
Image – credits – Sangameswara 1
Image Credits – Sangameswara 2