RAMATEERTHAM: The 10th century Sri Kodandarama Swamy temple atop Bodikonda hill in Nellimerla of Vizianagaram district, which drew attention of the entire nation for wrong reasons, is set to regain its past glory with the state government planning to spend Rs 3 crore on its development and renovation.
The temple is mostly visited by farmers of north coastal Andhra. Every pilgrim makes it a point to visit the Kodandarama Swamy either at the beginning or end of their pilgrimage to the area. Many villagers come from far away in bullock carts and stay at the temple for four days to celebrate Maha Sivaratri and Ramanavami.
“When news about decapitation of the statue spread, it was farmers who were the most hurt,” stated Ch. Rama Raju, a structural engineer by profession, whose family has been living in Ramateertham since four generations. Another local resident Vekatalakshmi, who is in her 60s, said during her childhood, there was a hot spring in the middle of the pond. It was then believed that idols of Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Seetha installed at the temple had been found in the pond’s deep water. Pusapati Gajajapthi Raju’s family thought it was a blessing for the local people and built a temple there.
Both temples of Ramaswamy and Srikodandarama Swamy attract thousands of pilgrims in the post harvest season till Ramanavami. Noted historian and former department of history and archaeology chief Prof K. Suryanarayana said inscriptions of Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism (Durga) dated from 10th Century have been found atop the Bodikonda hill. “This has been confirmed by British archaeologist Prof Alexander Rea, who worked mainly in South British India, in 1908,’’ he stated.
Assistant commissioner of Ramateertham Devasthanam, Ch. Ranga Rao said they are trying to revive the rich religious traditions of Hinduism at the temple. He said since it is difficult to go up the hill using the existing steps, structural engineers are planning to lay a road to the temple. He said the sanctum sanctorum of the temple will remain the same, while new structures for the God and people will be built around it. In addition, there will be a yagasala and kalyanamandapam with all facilities. Idols of Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Seetha have been consecrated recently at Balalayam. They will be shifted to Bodikonda temple after completion of renovation works at the temple, Ranga Rao underlined.
Tourism officials said after its renovation, the temple will be added to the pilgrimage circuit comprising Simhachalam temple, Suryanrayana Sun Temple and Srikurmam temple in Srikakulam district....