It was one of those birthdays in the hot month of May, when you do not have any plans but still want to make it look like a plan, so what would you do? You take the car out and go for a short drive to explore what your nearby neighbourhood has in store and if your neighbourhood is the Outer Ring Road, then even better !
So that evening, we stepped on to the ORR and zoomed about and arrived at the village of Manchirevula, that houses a temple dedicated to Venugopala Swamy. We had seen this temple beside the road every time we passed the area and had wanted to visit it.
Despite being peak summer, this day was particularly pleasant and the temple, quiet and remote.
There was nobody inside except the priest and we were close to the Garbha Griha to have an elaborate darshan of Venugopala Swamy. From the outside, it looks like any other recent temple but the priest told us that the temple was almost 500 years old ! We were told the temple dates back to even before the Qutub Shahi rulers had made Golconda their capital.
That is when we began to observe it more closely and found the remnants of the past. The temple is very simple with the Garbha Griha and a small pillared hall at the entrance.
Most part of the temple has been renovated but the pillars look like they will tell you stories from 500 years ago!
There is another mandapa to the right which has been white washed but this too looks like it belongs to the days of yore.
The idol of Venugopala Swamy, Lord Krishna playing the flute, accompanied by his consorts, Rukmini and Satyabhama, is beautiful. It is usually rare to find temples dedicated to Lord Krishna in this region, wonder what was the actual history behind the temple. There is another 500 year old temple dedicated to Lord Rama at a village called Ammapally, 20 kms away, it is quite possible that both these temples were contemporaries.
A very interesting tradition at this temple is that you are given Atukulu (Poha, flattened rice) as prasadam keeping in line with the story of Sudama gifting Lord Krishna with Atukulu, that was supposed to be Lord Krishna's favourite snack !
We sat down in the temple premises to breathe in the silence and peace, there was nobody else at the temple and it was complete serenity. Soon, thick clouds gathered and all of a sudden there was thunder and lightning. There were only the two of us in the temple and watching the lightning flash over the empty temple felt surreal. It was as if the cosmos was wishing the writer a very happy birthday !
We tried to click pictures of the lightning but what can an ordinary mobile phone do before the flashlight of nature ! We gave up and just watched Nature's sound and light show.
It soon threatened to rain and we decided to leave. Outside, we spotted another ruined mandapa, the temple structure must have been bigger and beside it a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva but since it was already drizzling, we did not visit it.
We suppose both the temples were part of the same complex, Shiva-Keshava at the same spot. It left us wondering how many such gems lie hidden in the sands of history !
Just as it began to rain, we ran to the safety of our car and went for a ride on the Outer Ring Road, our day was made.
To drive to Venugopala Swamy temple, just hit the ORR towards TSPA junction, you will find the temple to the right beside the near Manchirevula.
The temple is usually not crowded at all but during Janmashtami and a few festivals, they do have some celebrations.
One can also visit Himayat Sagar Lake or drive even further to Sri Seetha Ramaswamy temple near Ammapally, making it a pleasant evening drive.
If you live in the heart of the city, want some fresh air and a smooth drive on a weekend evening with a temple thrown in, head here.
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