It is only recently when I had started exploring weekend destinations around Hyderabad. The good news is that the exploration has been better than I expected as the state of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are bestowed with innumerable numbers of tourist destination. Although not well-known, there are many hidden gems around Hyderabad, offering nothing less than a boon to travelers like me.
Chaya Someswara Temple is one such place. This ancient temple attracted me for its architectural wonder. With its mysterious ‘chaya’ shadow on the Lord Shiva’s lingam, it is place not only for devotees but also for inquisitive travelers like me. Its architecture is a great attraction for those who find interest in history. At the same time it is an apt place to those who are looking for long drive from Hyderabad.
This temple is currently being restored. There are few cracks on the walls which can be seen, even the main Nandi statue which used to be in front of the main lingam, is distorted and hence removed. In spite of all this, the temple is worth visiting.
If you are still wondering, then let me jolt down a few reasons to why you should visit Chaya Someswara Temple near Hyderabad.
Proximity- 100 km from Hyderabad
Chaya Someswara Temple is located at a distance of only 100 km from Hyderabad, which can be covered in less than 2 hours. You need not take an off from office or plan two three days of trip, just a few hours on weekend is enough to explore this mysterious temple and understand the origin of mysterious shadow. It is about 4 km from Nalgonda and at a distance of 1.5 km from Panagal bus station.
The Mysterious Shadow and exceptional architecture
The major attraction of this temple is its mysterious shadow/Chaya on which the temple has been named too. There is shadow that falls on the main deity, Shiva Lingam. The shadow is apparent even today when you visit the temple. Although there is not pillar in front of the lingam, a shadow appears in the form of one of the pillars that have been sculpted outside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. It was till recently that it was a mystery that many failed to solve.
However, now it is known that it is the result of complex architecture and scientific calculations. It is nothing less than an architectural wonder that the shadow is created through the reflection of light through various pillars which have been placed strategically in front of scared chamber.
A perfect long drive from Hyderabad
As it is only 100 km from Hyderabad, located at Panagal which is just 4km away from Nalgonda, visiting Chaya Someswara Temple offers a perfect option of long drives. It is easily accessible too, with proper routes and few roadside dhabas dotted along the highways; overall promising a decent long drive.
Chaya Someswara Temple was built in 11-12th century the Chola kings. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it got its current name owing to the ever present shadow on the lingam. The sculpture of the temple and intricately carved pillars add on to the beauty of this otherwise humble temple. The pillars are carved with stories from Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. The rare combination of simplistic yet advanced architecture along with intricate carvings, give this temple a unique touch.
Not commercialized or very known, this temple is strikingly peaceful. Even though our trip was in the middle of the afternoon, it was pleasantly cool inside. The walls and the stones gave a soothing feel. The temple timings are from 6 am - 12 pm and 2 pm - 8 pm on all days, it is open throughout the day, although you might not find any priests throughout the day. Visitors can even sit inside the temple for meditation, it is equally good to sit for a few peaceful moments and hear the birds chirping outside. The fields next to the temple and the vast space outside it make it even more calming.
Convenient for elders too
Most of the important temples in India are located at height, requiring devotees to climb many stairs to reach the main area. With only two three stairs reach, Chaya Someswara Temple offers a convenient darshan too. Even elders and those with walking difficulties can visit this temple at ease and explore its ancient structure.
If time permits, you can also visit Pachala Ramalingeshwara Temple which is about 1.2 km away from Chaya Someshwara Temple