Tirupati being the famous pilgrim centre since ages is abundant with temple monuments like mandapams (stone structure) for conducting religious festivals and also for providing shelter for the pilgrims visiting the holy place as well as Gopurams (monumental gatehouse towers).
One can find these mandapams everywhere in and around the city and also on various routes connecting Tirupati and on the paths leading to Tirumala including all along the two footpaths – Srivrimettu and Alipiri.
Sadly most of these traces of our heritage are in decay and slowly disappearing as the rapid urbanisation coupled with unscrupulous land grabbers and treasure hunters accelerating their downfalls.
What is more saddening is lack of knowledge about the priceless cultural heritage or wilful disregard on the part of the locals letting down our heritage be destroyed, dooming ourselves and depriving the coming generations the enviable treasures of our hoary past.
Gopuram at Yeguvareddygaripalli, 15 km from here which remained intact for few centuries after the main temple was ravaged to grounds by Muslims invaders is now nearing to collapse as it was left uncared for long.
A shepherd Subramanyam said hundreds of stone pillars with rich sculptures were taken away by people from other areas for using them in their new temple construction and only the Rajagopuram and half-a-dozen pillars some broken to pieces and defaced were lying amidst bushes.
Many of the mandapams on the route to Srivarimettu are also in ruins while some of them still standing up feasting the eyes of the pilgrims passing that way. However, the mandapams in and around the city are somewhat in better condition though they too remain uncared.
Fortunately, the TTD few years back gave facelift to two mandapams one at Ponnakaluva and another on Renigunta road and also revived conducting Utsavams, giving them a new lease of life. Except these few most of them are crying for attention and if the neglect and imperceptible decay continues for some more years, they are soon to vanish.
Sivakumar Challa, founder secretary of city based NGO `Archaeology Research Group (ARG)’ said lack of awareness among the locals on the imminent need of preserving these monuments was leading to miscreants or treasure hunters vandalising them.
While the Endowments Department, is confined only to protecting those monuments which are in good condition and in earning revenue through them.
Against this gloomy background, the only way is creating awareness among the locals to see that the monuments in their area remain protected and linking them with `village tourism’ to get income to the local bodies for taking basic steps like fencing the monuments, erecting display boards giving the details of the monument and also maintenance.
`”Depending on the government is nothing but allowing these monuments to decay,’’ he averred. He wanted the TTD through its Heritage Preservation Trust to take steps to rejuvenate the monuments before they disappear.
By G Sridhar
Courtesy: The HansIndia