Mallur Gutta Fort and Temple

Mallur Gutta and Fort are located near Mallur village, Mangapet Mandal, Mulugu district in Telangana, India is said to be bigger than Warangal and Golconda forts.

A sprawling ancient fort in the region is the massive 8 km-radius fort wall with seven entry points dating back to the Satavahana period.

Locally known as Mallur Fort, located 4 km inside the forests near Mallur village of Mangapet mandal, Mulugu district, the fort is on the banks of the river Godavari adjacent to the Eturunagaram-Bhadrachalam highway.

“Normally, forts are two to four km in radius. But this fort wall has a radius of about 8 km, much bigger than Warangal and Golconda forts.

Mallur Hemachala Lakshmi Narsimha Swamy Temple is the most ancient architectural divine ensemble which is located on the Mallur Ghat in the Mangapeta mandal of Mulugu district.

The ancient temple of Lord Lakshminarasimha Swamy was built in a strategic and secluded locale of the hill. The temple is famous for its swayambhu (self-formed) deity. It was stated to be constructed by the Chola Emperors during the period 1010–1200 (perhaps, under Rajaraja I and II). 

Situated in the beautiful mountain ranges on the southern bank of Godavari, this temple is famous for its Swayambhu deity with a vast historical background and cultural heritage. It is a well known fact that the name Sri Hemachalam came into existence due to the oldest beliefs in these traditions and customs.

The beautiful and mellifluous nature around the temple premises is beyond description. The splendid scenery surrounded by the mountain ranges along which pass the narrow path, outlined by different varieties of medicinal trees through which flows the Chintamani Lake a quenching delight to all the devotees all through the year and a source of water resource for the people staying in this place. It is no exaggeration to say that this deified environment cannot be seen in any other place of historical richness.

The temple is ever-enduring with year-long festivities which mark the commencement of special archanas and sevas giving a festive mood to all and sundry all through the year.

The Tirukkalyanam and the Brahmotsavam of the residing deity, the Hemachala Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy are celebrated on Vaishakha Shuddha Chaturdashi, every year with much devotion and fervour in this divine land and offer monetary support through donations and gifts and strengthen the historical significance of the place and fulfill their dreams, desires and ambitions by seeking the blessings of the lord Narasimha swamy.

This temple has many specialities, the height of mollaviraat Sri Narasimha Swamy is upto 10 feet. It is located in the midst of forest. The Belly part of Moolavirat idol is soft as human skin.
The dwjasthambha here at the temple is nearly 60 feet in height.

Rockformed Ugra Anjaneya Swamy Statue near to the temple.  It is the first of its kind known in South India. There is a continuous water flow near the temple, where it's from the top of the hills.

According to the historical stories, the demon king, Ravana had gifted this place to his loving sister, Shurpanaka where around 14000 demons lead by Khara Dushana were done to death by the great Rama. It was Agastya , the great sage who gave the present name to the shrine as Hemachalam.

There is a belief exhibited by the devotees that the deity, if alone, enflames the temple premises. But as the deity is affixed with a golden Goddess Lakshmi on his chest region, the deity assumes tranquility thus lessening the troubles due to fire accidents. It is a divine wonder to note that the sandal in the fluid form flows through the Umbilicus of the great Maha vishnu. Understanding the gravity of the miracles that the temple holds for itself, the devotees in large number throng to the temple to offer their prayers to fulfill their wishes, to beget children or to redeem themselves from sins and obstacles (doshas) that a student faces during his life career. There are many stories that are depicted regarding the miracles exhibited by the deity.In this temple of fervour and devotion reside, the Yogananda Swamy accompanied by the Goddess, Sri Lakshmi, Hanuman as the Kshetrapalaka and Gods and Goddesses like Uma Maheshwara and Sri Venugopalaswamy to name a few.

Based on the historical significance of this great temple, it is assumed that this temple has been a center of religious prosperity even in the periods ruled by Krishnadevaraya and the Kakatiya kings. Looking at the regal grandeur of ornamentation of the deities and the funds released and the lands donated by these kings towards temple administration and governance give a feel of an affluent heritage of this enormous temple. According to the Chinna Jeeyar Swamy , the Ramalayam in Mallur is older and the residing deity is taller than that of Bhadrachalam . presently, this temple is in ramshackle. It is our responsibility and earnest duty to help restructure it to uphold the cultural prosperity of the Hindus and the rich heritage of India. 

Hundreds of pilgrims visit the temple every Saturday; about 50,000 pilgrims from the state and the neighboring states like Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh throng the temple in May to participate in the annual celebration called Vasanthothsav.

The “Chintamani” waterfall (a natural stream) is another attraction It is the perennial source of water, and the people conceive this water as sacred; they use it for bathing and also take it home in bottles. A natural spring runs through the dense forest believed to have medicinal qualities called malluru spring waters. 

All along the path towards the divine shrine, there are bore wells laid in order to give respite to the traveling devotee s and there is a water tank being constructed on the divine hillock (ghat) along with power supply being given during the Jataras for a comfort able darshan of the deity by the devotees. 

Sacred Grove
Mallur Gutta sacred grove, a hill spread over 1,500 hectares. As per a recently published study it is home to around 470 species of plants including some which are listed in red list of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Around 200 hectares of the hill was accorded status of Medicinal Plants Conservation Area. Some medicinal plants found in Mallur Gutta have are not seen anywhere else in Telangana State.

The Mallur Gutta ecosystem is to be considered sacred for its natural wealth and primary plant–people linkage and conserved. Mallur, with its ethnomedicinal plant wealth, emerged as the number one site in the district. In the proximity of the tiny village Mallur exists the small hill range called Mallur Gutta (Gutta means hill in the local dialect). It is spread over 1500 ha and is considered by the local people as a habitat for valuable medicinal plants useful for their primary health care.

The Mallur Gutta (Hill) of Warangal district in Telangana state, India, reputed as a habitat for medicinal plants, was inventoried from 2009 to 2015 for its plant wealth through the traditional knowledge of the local people. 

Ethnomedicinal importance of 167 taxa was documented for the Mallur Gutta, Mallur village and the nearby villages which are largely inhabited by the ethnic Koya community. The present study reports many more of these uses by local people; when the uses are listed according to parts of the plants, the leaf dominates the list (23.88%), followed by the whole plant (15.34%), root (12.43%), stem bark (11.46%), fruit (10.10%),

The Hindu temples of Lord Sri Laxminarasimha Swamy and Lord Hanuman, and the ethnic worship of mahua trees indicated it was a sacred grove which was selected as a Medicinal Plants Conservation Area. The exploration of Mallur Gutta resulted in the enumeration and documentation of plant wealth representing 470 species of 318 genera pertaining to 95 families of vascular plants. The importance of the grove as the residence for many rare or medicinal species in the state of Telangana is documented. The plant diversity is analyzed in terms of growth and life forms which indicate the prevailing microclimate, ecological opportunities and the species richness. The ecological services rendered by the Mallur Gutta forest ecosystem are documented to study how the great majority of the species are used by the ethnic and nonethnic people, and also the pilgrims who visit the shrine for its serenity. The study also identified two major threats to the conservation of hill ecosystem and the archeological site: 1) biotic pressure (the ever-increasing pilgrims, grazing by cattle, goat and sheep, the development activities taken up for the pilgrims, nondegradable litter thrown, collection of medicinal plants and widening of the pathway to the Chintamani perennial stream – the trampling and alien plant invasions of the marsh sustaining the stream); and 2) the potential for fire spreading from burning the litter. The study suggests the need to initiate remedial measures toward ecosystem recovery through fencing the natural vegetation, maintaining a fire line, and restricting the movement of people and domesticated animals on the hill top.

The top ten dominant families
Among the 95 families found on Mallur Gutta, Fabaceae (Leguminosae) predominate with 71 taxa, distantly followed by Malvaceae (31), Asteraceae (19), Rubiaceae and Convolvulaceae (16 each), Amaranthaceae, Acanthaceae and Apocynaceae (15 each), Euphorbiaceae, Lamiaceae and Cyperaceae (14 each), Phyllanthaceae (13), Moraceae (11), Combretaceae and Poaceae (10 each) and Cucurbiataceae (9). The dominant five plant families, in the order of their utility, found for intracultural cognizance study in the Warangal district (Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary and Mallur) are Fabaceae, Malvaceae, Euphorbiaceae (sensu lato), Rubiaceae and Acanthaceae. We find similarity between the sacred grove and the sanctuary with regard to familywise useful species and the use trend, since the knowledge holders and the beneficiaries in both the habitats are of the same tribe, the Koya. However, Asteraceae is found used more in the sanctuary area which indicates that the area is open for invasive exotics, as reported for the state. Here, we may say that the sacred grove has much more integrated ecosystem when compared to the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, which is under protection as per the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. With their inactions, the Telangana State Forest Department and the Telangana State Biodiversity Board are accountable for the ecosystem degradation in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary.

Rare and interesting species
The red-listed medicinal plant species like Aegle marmelos, Celastrus paniculatus, Cheilocostus speciosus, Gloriosa superba, Litsea glutinosa, Oroxylum indicum, Smilax perfoliata and Stemona tuberosa and the rare plants like Cordia macleodii, Curcuma inodora, Ehretia laevis, Habenaria roxburghii and Mucuna pruriens var. hirsuta are found in the Mallur hill range . And, Anodendron paniculatum, Dysolobium pilosum, Globba marantina, Flagellaria indica and Paederia foetida are so far found by us only in this sacred grove area, and nowhere else in the entire state of Telangana.

The Mallur hill supports the wild animals like monkey (Macaca mulatta – kothi), Hanuman langur (Presbytis entellus – konda muchu), bison (Bison bison bison – adavi dunna), Jungle cat (Felis chauns – jangu pilli), mongoose (Herpestes eddwardsi – mungeesa), wild dog (Cuon alpines – resu kukka), house rat (Rattus rattus rufescens – eluka), fornhorned antelope (Tetracerus quadriconis – konda gorre), nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus – manu bothu), spotted deer (Axis axis – podala duppi), wild boar (Sus scrofa – adavi pandi, wild pig), three-striped squarrel (Funambulus palmarum – udutha), wild hen, terrapin (Melanochelys trijuga – neeti tabelu), lizard (Calotes verricolor – thonda), forest calotes (Calotes rouxii – adavi thonda), chameleon (Chamaeleo zeylanicus – usaravelli), monitor lizard (Varanus bengalensis – udumu), dhaman rat snake (Ptyas mucosus – jerri pothu), water snake (Xenochrophis piscator – neeti pamu), buff-striped keelback (Amphiesma stolatum – wanapamu) and krait (Bungarus caeruleus – katla pamu) which can be seen in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary.

Ethnic people: the Koyas (Dorla Koitur)
The Koyas are the southernmost section of the great Gond race of central India (Gondwana). The population of this scheduled tribe is largely, though not exclusively, concentrated in Telangana and makes up the majority of the tribal population in the agency areas in the districts of Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam, along the River Godavari. Like the Gonds of Adilabad district, they lost much of their prime land, which they cultivated with ploughs and bullocks, and are largely reduced to the position of tenants and agricultural laborers. The process of detribalization has progressed further among the Koyas than among any other Gond tribe. Their occupational or territorial realms divide the Koyas into six subgroups, viz. 
  1. Gotte Koya – who dance with a bison horn on head and dress like Marias; 
  2. Manne Koya – who inhabit secluded forest areas; 
  3. Gampa Koya – who make baskets (Gampalu in Telugu); 
  4. Warre Koya (warre means wild buffalo; bison) – who do not engage themselves in settled agriculture but live in the jungle as hunter-gatherers eating roots/tubers, fruits, etc.; 
  5. Bunka Koya – the civilized people among the Koyas who live in plains and take up settled farming;
  6. Dora Koya – they are Raja Gonds and call themselves Dorlasattam (Lord Groups). The first four subgroups still speak the Gondi dialect, whereas the last two largely lost their own language and speak Telugu of their Hindu neighbors

The hill area should be fenced, or a deep trench is to be dug around the area to prevent illegal occupation of forest land. 

The overexploitation of the forest for fuelwood, timber, medicinal plants, etc. is going on unabated with no proper governmental controls.

Human interference during festivals, holidays, Medaram Jatara and Godavari Pushkaralu is a menace to the Mallur forest and its ecosystem integrity

Presently, the 4 KM runway to the temple premises is being journeyed through various transportation facilities by the devotees to reach His shrine. The ITDA Eturunagaram has developed pucca roads in place of the unaccommodating and inconvenient roads thereby making the trava il of the devotees easier.
90 Km from Bhadrachalam and 130 KM from Warangal City.

Telephone  : +91-9440634985 and +91-9666887393

Suthari S, Kandagalta R, Ragan A, Raju VS. Plant wealth of a sacred grove: Mallur Gutta, Telangana state, India. Int J Gen Med. 2016 Oct 26;9:369-381. doi: 10.2147/IJGM.S83441. PMID: 27822080; PMCID: PMC5087761.