Srisailam Shivaji Temple Gopuram Collapses
The gopuram of the 500-year-old Srisailam temple, nestled in the thick green hills of Nallamala forests, collapsed in the early hours of Wednesday. Battered by incessant rains for the past couple of days, the top portion of the gopuram caved in at around 2.20 am. There was no loss of life as there were no pilgrims at the time when the 100-ft tall structure collapsed.
The gopuram on the northern side, believed to have been built by King Shivaji, served as one of the main entrances to the Sri Bhraramba Mallikharjuna Swamy temple. It developed cracks showing stress and the wood used in it had decayed long back. The state government last carried out repairs to the heritage structure almost 50 years back in 1965.
The collapse of the gopuram shocked the priests, devotees and the temple authorities. A section of devotees considered the incident a bad omen for the State. The temple priests explained that no evil omen could be attached to the incident as a formal decision was taken two years ago to pull down the tower. An expert panel inspected the structure and gave its report.
According to the committee report, cracks had developed on the external and internal surface of the brick gopuram, while the wooden paneling was totally damaged. The internal plaster was also damaged. No repair works had been taken up all these years other than the cement plastering in 1965. Experts said the old structure withstood the vagaries of weather due to the strong stone structural base on which it stood.
“The collapse of the gopuram was inevitable as it was soaked in rain for the past three days. If it rains further, even the stone base would meet the same fate,” Chandrasekhar, a Telugu University lecturer in archaeology, pointed out.