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Areas of Hyderabad series.. travel spots nearby

KOLANUPAKA

Kolanupaka, locally called Kollipaka is a small place 70 km from Hyderabad towards Kazipet-Warangal, and some 6 km off Aleru on the railway line. All around is farmland, and at some distance are the common Deccan granite hillocks from which flow small streams of water. The area around Kollipaka is green and lush.

When the medieval Rashtrakuta empire of the Deccan was crumbling, one of the vassals made himself an independent king. He hailed from the Chalukya clan, and his capital was at Kalyani . ( So the times are known as Kalyani Chalukya to distinguish from earlier Chalukyas.)
The Kalyani Chalukyas appear to have pioneered fairly dense settlement in hitherto forested areas like Medak district, Patancheru, and Kolanupaka.

In those times, most people spoke 'old Kannada' in the area. (there are several Kannada inscriptions all over.)
Kolanupaka became the second capital of the Kalyani Chalukyas in the 11th century. It was a seat of learning too. Today we can see the well preserved temples and sculptures dotting Kolanupaka.

During the earlier part of the Kalyani Chaluya times Jainism was very popular among the people of this area. Nowadays of course Jainism is associated with merchants and businessmen from Gujarat - Rajasthan but in those days peoples of Andhra -Karnataka were mostly Jains. Early Kannada literary giants like Pampa were actually Andhra (Telugu) who professed the Jain creed.

defender of the peopleInnumerable shrines which dot the countryside were built in the area . There is a large variety of styles, but most commonly found is the Veera Kallu ( hero-stone) . This is a memorial to the heroes who fell defending the people. ( Some of the memorial stones are ornate and richly carved. )
The memorial stones have been preserved well for the last thousand years by the people, who say the person whose memory the stones mark sacrificed his life while defending the people---perhaps the ancestors of the very same villagers today. These stone param vir chakras and military crosses of several centuries.....this tradition is very strongly engrained all over South India ......the Kolanupaka area is also dotted with memorials to people's fighters of the late forties who destroyed the nizam's feudal state, and more recent times as well, like protesters inspired by various maoist oriented outfits. Things change very slowly in these parts, I suppose.

There is a large Jain temple around 2 thousand years old at Kolanupaka with a beautiful green jade carving of Mahavira. It has been recently renovated in eclectic style with white marble and red sandstone. The temple is housed in a large complex and the library contains a number of iinscriptions and sculptures. Kolanupaka is a well known Indian pilgrimage center. (....the local language at this temple seems to be gujarati ;- ).

There are several other temples, mainly Saiva also in the area. The Somesvara temple is large and well preserved, with a government site musem too. All over the area there are hundreds of carvings and sculptures and inscriptions.

It seems, long ago reformers and revolutionaries also were very active here. With the changes in people's notions, the older shrines were converted to the new ones. For instance Veera Saiva creed as propagated by Basava ( a kannada brahman) was extremely critical of caste differences, hinduism or jainism or buddhism or islam or any other "established order." It was a dissent and protest movement like early islam or communism, which became very popular. By this time Jainism became identified with the courts and there was a distance from the common man. Anyway the result of years of exploitation was a violent reaction in the form of veera saivism. People flocked to the new creed showing possibilities of a new, more "democratic" way of life. Kolanupaka became a stronghold of the renewed Saiva creed.

The effects of the upsurge remained for centuries all through the times of the Kakatiyas and their successors. Curiously, several people living in the Krishna Guntur areas who originally hailed from Kolanupaka , --the durjaya clan, for instance ---returned to Kolanupaka in the 11th century. Incidentally this area was also known for the very active large scale communist rebellion in the 40's which destroyed the archaic nizam state of hyderabad. There's still a lot of agrarian discontent and unemployment here.

Kolanupaka is 8 km from Aler, which is a railway station on the Hyderabad-kazipet route. By road it is about 70 km from hyderabad. Nice place for a day's outing from Hyderabad. Close by Pembarthi is known for its brassware handicrafts.


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©v ramchandra rao
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