Feb 10, 2018

Chaya Someshwara Devalaya, Panagal

A short video received on Whatsapp was an introduction to this temple some time 2016. The video talks about the mysterious shadow through out the day behind the Shivalinga inside a Garbhagudi. Then it talks about how the mysterious shadow was unraveled by Mr.Manohar a lecturer of physics at Sri Venkateshwara Degree College, Suryapet. He relates the cause of this shadow to CV Raman Effect. After spending considerable time analyzing the phenomena and created a thermocol model of the temple to support his theory. The architect who designed this temple positioned the columns in such a way that sunlight entering the temple casts a shadow inside the Garbhagudi having the Shivalinga. The temple has a low surrounding wall to allow unhindered inflow of light. Due to the shadow, the deity is known as Chayla Someswara meaning Shadow Someshwara.

December 24, 2017
We reached Nalgonda around 9-45. Having taken a wrong route, our journey was slow and we were hungry. Found a roadside eatery serving hot idli and dosa, we had breakfast and decided to visit Panagal first. Panagal village is off Nalgonda bypass road, easy to locate. And the temple is a kilometer from the village amidst paddy fields.
We are entering the premises by its eastern entrance. The other entrance is on the opposite wall. While the eastern entrance has a simple mantapa, the western entrance had a two-level mantapa. It was around 10-30 when we entered the temple premises. The place was untidy, one more classic example of neglect. Have learned to pay attention to the subject ..comes by lot of practice.

This is Trikutachala meaning temple with three Garbhagudi i.e. sanctum sanctorum. Usually temples are north or east-facing but this temple is south-facing. The garbhagudi are facing east, west and south. As you see here, three temples have been merged into one.

It is said this temple was built in the XI and XII century CE by Kunduru Cholas. The temple has plain outer walls and stepped Shikhara.

The temple's rear side. Notice the lime coated wall? Our people have a mania for painting / whitewashing ancient structures not realizing they are harming the stones. However, there seems to be an attempt to clear the lime-coating. Thanks to that effort.

Coming back to the front which is lightly decorated with floral motifs. The temple's Mukhamantapa and Sabhamantapa have been merged into one and has Sukhnasi raised platforms for sitting.

The Garbhagudi are connected to the Sabhamantapa through vestibules. Each vestibule has two pairs of beautifully sculpted pillars. The Garbhagudi wall and door frame are also richly decorated. This is the west-facing Garbhagudi ..one with the shadow. Notice how pronounced the shadow is. I'm guessing its position and width remains same through out the day. The shadow is not of any single pillar but a combined shadow of the four central pillars i.e the pillars in the Sabhamantapa.

Chaya Someswara Garbhagudi as seen from the opposite vestibule. I was cribbing again, this time about these ugly metallic grills. What an eyesore. Even the opening behind the Sukhanasi has been grilled! Luckily, in spite of these extra fittings, the shadow doesn't seem to be disturbed.

The Garbhagudi interior, its floor is lower than the Sabhamntapa floor. Unlike most temples which have raised Garbhagudi, here its lowered ..part of the design to aid light & shadow effect? My guess is- the Garbhagudi level is lowered to an extent so that no light falls on it. In fact its quite dark while the walls are lit up. The shadow wall is whitewashed ..probably not the original design.

While shooting the previous picture, I saw an extra shadow. I was standing to a side, assumed it was someone else's shadow. I turned around, found Pushpa directly opposite the vestibule and asked her to move. Though she moved the shadow remained. So It was my own shadow. Amazing isn't it?

Those are the four central pillars which create one single shadow. Probably the pair of vestibule pillars also add to the shadow. The Garbhagudi seen in the background is east facing. Opposite the vestibule is a pedestal sans Nandi ..now its a pedestal to keep Vibhuti.

This is the south-facing Garbhagudi. Notice the lime coating. There was an attempt to remove the lime to free the concealed designs.

The brilliantly designed and sculpted pillars. How on Earth did the sculptors achieve that precision.

Every pillar is a complex object. I can't stop wondering how these were created.. wish I could go back in time and watch the creation.

The octagonal section of teh pillar depicts stories from Hindu legends.

Warriors on elephants and horses around a pillar.

Lord Ganapati in a niche. Looks like Ganapati during Holi.

A close look at a Shikhara ..the stepped slope and the grand crown. This Shikhara reminds me of a temple on Hemakua hill at Hampi.

As seen from northwest side. The two inner corners of the Sabhamantapa are also kept open to allow light.

Here's a picture of the temple at Hampi which is might belong to the group of Jain temples. They are similar in size and design but unique. The main difference I'm focusing is the closed corner in this temple. I did not get a chance to see the interior of this temple, next time I'll make sure of checking out this temple in detail.

A smaller temple, not sure if its incomplete or ruined. also seen is the two storey mantapa gateway.

Wish local people take responsibility of this temple. This is truly an engineering marvel and deserves care. Also, those ugly fabricated metal railings need to be removed. Perhaps they can appoint a full time care-taker here.. two things get done - a job created and a monument preserved.

Chayala Someswara temple coordinates: 17°4'38"N   79°17'43"E


Anonymous said...

Indeed this is an engineering marvel. Did you see yourself going behind each of the four pillar and which was casting shadow at that time?

siddeshwar said...

shadow was seen when behind any of the pillars closer to the Garbhagudi. Basically the Chaya is a combined effect of shadows of four pillars.

Anonymous said...

That means shadow merges.

Dr K Prabhakar Rao said...

I have seen this temple which U.S. In Nalgonda at Pangal. it was built by local Telugu Koduri choda rulers who ruled at pangal. they were feud attires of Kakateeya Mighty rulers at Waranagal. probably the temple dates back to 12 century. The neglect of this great temple is deplorable for which Telangana state has to take blame. When I went to temple few years ago, the Pushakarini in the temple complex was completely buries with debris and the poojari had no money to buy oil to light a lamp fir the God. I felt myself ashamed at our ways. The state govt runs around taking care if masjids while it neglected such temples. There is another temple of excellent architecture of same period in Pangal village probably you did not visit. There is. A museum there. Nalgonda town is just 3 km from Pangal. There is an old fort on a large hill in Nalgonda . it is called Kapurala gutta fort. it is also neglected. I have a photo of same. The shadow aspect of this temple is an engg marvel and actual reason could not be established. however there was an article in news paper some time ago that an individual could explain the phenomenon by constructing a scale model with. Same number of pillars and the lingam and he proved that a tiny slit in the roof caused the shade... I was not much convinced. With explanation. colonel Dr K Pabhakar Rao retd.

siddeshwar said...

@Dr. Prabhakar Rao - indeed a great monument lies neglected. that's the case with many forts, temples and prehistoric sites. I knew about the fort but the warm weather deterred us from attempting a climb. However, we did climb the other hill to see the Baobab tree.