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ALAMPUR TEMPLE

ALAMPUR TEMPLE

THIS VILLAGE, on the nnoorrtthheern bank of the Tungabbadra river, is the site of the earliest Hindu temples in Andhra Pradesh. Constructed by the Chalukyas of Baciami  in the 7th and 8th centuries, the nine red sandstone shrines are collectively known as the Nava Brahma Temples, and are dedicated to Shiva. The layout conforms to a standard scheme each temple faces east, has an inner sanctum, a pillared snandapa, and is surrounded by a passage. The tower over the inner sanctum, capped by an amalaka (circular ribbed stone), shows the distinct influence of North Indian temple architecture .

The later temples in the group have porches with perforated stone screens on three sides of the passageways, as in the Svarga Brahma Temple, built in AD 689. This beautiful temple has outstanding sculptures, including a complete set of dikpalas (guardian figures) in the corner niches, and icons of Shiva in various forms. Some columns in the interior have been elaborately carved, such as those in the Padma Brahma Temple. The pillars here have seated lions at the base, fluted shafts and ribbed pot-shaped capitals. The Bala Brahma Temple is the only one of the group, still in use.

The Archaeological Museum, next to the complex, has a fine collection of early Chalukya sculptures. Just outside the village is the reconstructed Sangameshvara Temple, removed from a site that was submerged by the damming of the Krishna, 15 km (9 miles) to the north. Standing on a high terrace, it is similar to the Nava Brahma group, except that the sculptural details have eroded. Just southwest of the Nava Brahma Temple complex are the Papanashanam Temples (9th–lath centuries). These temples have imposing multitiered pyramidal roofs but little external decoration, though the interior columns are ornately carved. One of the temples has a fine ceiling panel of Vishnu’s incarnations  and another has a powerful image of Durga.

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