Keesaragutta Temple

Keesaragutt Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Siva and his consorts Bhavani and Sivadurga at Keesaraguttain Rangareddy district. It is about 40 km from Hyderabad and 10 km from ECIL. It is located on a small hillock. The temple draws thousands of devotees on Shivaratri.

Legend has it that Sri Rama installed the Siva lingam here to atone for the sin of killing Ravana, a Brahman. He selected this beautiful valley surrounded by hills and verdant greenery for the purpose and ordered Hanuman to bring a Sivlingam from Varanasi. Hanuman was late in arriving with the Siva lingam and as the auspicious hour was nearing, Lord Siva himself appeared before Sri Rama and presented a Sivilingam for installation. Hence the lingam in the temple is called Swayambhu Linga. It is also called Ramalingeswara as lord Sri Rama had installed the lingam.

Hanuman returned with 101 lingams for selection from Varanasi and felt aggrieved at not having his lingam installed. Hence he threw them all over the area. Even to this day several lingams are found scattered all over the place outside the temple.

To mollify Hanuman, Sri Rama ordained that precedence would be given to him for worship at the temple. He also said that the hillock where the lingam was installed would bear his name kesarigiri i.e., Hanuman, the son of Kesari. Over a period of time, it has colloquially transformed and is now known as Keesara and the hill as Keesaragutta. Ever since, the rituals follow the command of Sri Rama.

Twelve statues of Jain Tirthankara idols which could date back to as early as the 4th-5th century AD, have been found at Keesaragutta temple on the outskirts the Indian city of Hyderabad, Indian media reported on Tuesday.

"Twelve panchaloha idols of the Jain Tirthankaras were unearthed during the course of conservation work 18, while the pathways were being laid between two temples near steps at a depth of one foot," the media quotes the director of Archaeology and Museums (Telangana), B Srinivas as telling reporters.

Objects made from Panchaloha are composed of five metals of some sacred significance, and are often used for making Hindu temple idols.

"Twelve idols of varying sizes, along with loose circular prabharahs (auras), circular parasols of different sizes, pedestals and broken elephant have been found.

All the bronzes (idols and other artifacts) are in the Kayotsarga posture (the so-called “dismissing the body” posture, when an idol is depicted standing stiffly) with a hook behind to accommodate chhatras (parasols) and 'prabhavali'," he explained. A Prabhavali is an aura around the deities, Srinivas added.

Judging by the symbols on the chests and on the heads of the idols, the statues of the idols can be dated back to 4th-5th century AD, concluded the director of Archaeology and Museums.

This is the first time “that the idols of Jain religion have been recovered in Keesaragutta, which proves that [the religion of] Jainism co-existed with Hinduism at Keesaragutta during the time of Vishnukundins in the 4-5th century," the official said, adding that chemical treatment would be conducted on the idols.

Keesaragutta, also known as Kesaragiri, is a range of hills that are about 300 feet high (slightly above 90 meters) that rise from the planes; there are flat and undulating areas over the tops of the hills. The temple was enclosed by a fort wall which was constructed during the Vishnukundin period (an Indian dynasty that controlled parts of the country during the 5th and 6th centuries AD).