An Exceptional Edifice in Telangana: A Visit to the Pachala Someshwara Temple

A day trip was organised to the Pachala Someshwara Temple, Panagal, by the DHF on the 16th of January 2023. The group was accompanied by Dr. Helen Philon, Co-Founder of the Deccan Heritage Foundation; Mr. BV Papa Rao, Director of the Deccan Heritage Foundation and Trustee of the Kakatiya Heritage Trust; and archaeologist, Dr. Emani Sivanagi Reddy of the PLEACH India Foundation.

The temple at Panagal, on the outskirts of the town of Nalgonda, two hours’ drive from Hyderabad, is one of the forgotten treasures of Telangana. It dates from the 12th century, when this part of the Deccan was governed by feudatories of the great Chalukya rulers of Kalyan. The Panagal complex is one of the few surviving examples in Telangana of temple architecture and art from this period. Since those times, the complex became neglected, and in recent years, it was poorly restored. The site is a living temple complex, popular with local worshippers.

Despite its poor condition, the complex preserves its original quartet of small, towered shrines, one dedicated to Pachala Someshwara, a form of Shiva, who is the principal deity. The four shrines face into a large, common mandapa that was originally open, but is now crudely walled in. Columns here have their shafts covered with reliefs, as do the basements and walls of the shrines.

These well-preserved, exquisite carvings of Hindu gods and goddesses, and popular legends represent a sculptural tradition that has mainly been lost in Telangana. The DHF is seeking funds to implement the restoration of the temple in collaboration with the Department of Heritage, Telangana.