Saturday, January 16, 2016


Location: Kotilingala, Telangana 505526, India
Kotilingala in Velgatur Mandal, Jagitial District, Telangana nestled amid huge hillocks and thick green cover at the confluence of Peddavagu and Godavari river was the capital of Assaka janapada, considered one of the 16 great janapadas of early India is a treat for pilgrims.
Incidentally, Koti Lingala was the first capital of the Satavahana dynasty. The traditional Sri Koteswara Siddeshwara Swamy Devasthanam temple with picturesque background is about 60 km from the district headquarters town of Karimnagar. 
Kotilingala is one of the 30 walled cities mentioned by Megasthenes had a large fortified settlement (some 50 hectares, on a mound 6 to 10 m high) with several gates and running 1054 metres long and 330 metres wide. A watch tower located in the south-eastern corner measures 11.5 * 10.55 mtrs.

Koti Lingala has a hoary past as the Satavahana kings used the Godavari for navigation and transportation of goods. It is evident from the wharf on the banks of the river. Buddhism and Jainism also prevailed in the region on “Munula Gutta’ as was evident during the excavations made by the State Archaeology Department.

Excavations revealed vestiges of an ancient city, monastic and non-monastic buildings, structures, a large quantity of ceramic ware, coins belonging to Pre Satavahana period, Gobhada and Samagopa. It is believed that the place is the site of hermitage of sage Bhavari. Several coins of Simukha, the founder of the Satavahana dynasty, and those of other early rulers like Kanha and Satakarni I were found. Finds recovered from here are coins of Siri Satakarni of 2nd century BC.
The State government has decided to construct a protection wall along the shores of river Godavari to protect the site from submergence under the backwaters of the Sripada Yellampalli project. There were transportation facilities to the towns located on the bank of the river Godavari such as Mancherial, Karimnagar.

A good black-topped road from Karimnagar to Rayapatnam takes the pilgrims to the temple in Velgatoor mandal. A three-km drive from the main road takes one to the temple.

Legend has it that sages used to meditate in the caves adjoining the hillocks called ‘Munula Gutta’ and visit the banks of the Godavari for bathing. The sages decided to construct a temple and asked Lord Hanuman to get a Siva Lingam. When Lord Hanuman failed to come on time, the sages installed a Siva linga made of sand granules.

By the time Lord Hanuman arrived the Siva lingam was completed leaving the former infuriated. Locals say, Hanuman was pacified and people were asked to first offer prayers to the lingam brought by Hanuman and later to the lingam made with sand granules. According to temple priest Sanjay Sharma, newly-wedded couples offer prayers at this shrine for happy family, good siblings and prosperity.

Pilgrims planning to visit the temple can stay in hotels that suit everybody’s pocket. There is not enough accommodation in the temple nor does the place have good restaurants. Some pilgrims prefer to visit the shrine and cook food in the nearby woods and return in the evening. It is also one of the convenient places during the Godavari Pushkarams because of less flow of pilgrims.