Monday, March 30, 2015

Ancient Sitaram Bagh Temple, and its overwhelming architecture.

My last blog post was on Sri Rama Navami Festival which we celebrated yesterday, 28th March 2015. As I mentioned in that article, Sri Rama Navami festival is to celebrate the birthday and marriage day of Lord Sri Rama and seek the divine couple’s blessings. Today as I was thinking of writing on some interesting subject I was reminded of Sitaram Bagh Temple in Hyderabad, where these celebrations are held differently. While almost all the Temples in the State including the most important and popular one at Bhadrachalam perform Sri Sitarama Kalyanotsavam (wedding ceremony) in the morning, here at Sitaram bagh temple the birthday related pooja/celebration is performed in the morning and the marriage ceremony late in the night. This interesting fact has reminded me of the beauty of this temple and prompted me to post this article.
Sitaram Bagh temple is over 180 years old and even today it stands out magnificently. The attached photographs will give you an idea of its overwhelming architecture. The temple complex is a labyrinth of interconnected quadrangular courtyards, each accessed through imposing gateways. The main Gopuram is a complex collage composed of elements representing myriad architectural styles comprising Rajput, Mughal, Kakatiya, Qutub Shahi and Classical European, which all come together creating an impressive fa├žade. Courtyards open up dramatically, surprising the eyes at every turn with abrupt variations in scale and proportion creating a constantly changing environment. The diverse architectural styles represented in the numerous structures of the temple complex which include portals, sanctums, mandapams, rooms, inns and step-wells, make the temple complex a rare treat for visitors who are overwhelmed by their grace and beauty. Traversing through the maze of quadrangles, one finally arrives at the innermost court, the sanctum sanctorum where you can have darshan of the deities of Sri Rama, Sita Devi, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna, as at the time of Sri Rama Pattabishekam (Coronation). There are Utsava Vigrahalu of Sri Rama, Sita Devi, Lakshmana and deities of Lord Venkateshwaraswamy, Padmavathi Devi and of Lord Krishna and Radha Devi, and also deities of Hanuman and Garuda. Adjoining this temple are the temples of Sri Varadarajaswamy with his consorts and of Sri Hanuman.
Sitaram Bagh Temple is built by Seth Punarmalji Ganeriwal. He is the son of Seth Mahanand Ramji, scion of Ganeriwal family. Seth Mahanand Ramji migrated to Hyderabad from Rajasthan and set up a financing firm in Hyderabad in 1802 and was soon recognized as a very prominent and noble person. His son Seth Punarmalji was also an astute businessman. He acquired a large plot of land around 1825, over 25 acres on the then outskirts of the city, near the village of Mallepally. There he constructed this beautiful temple complex and laid out a garden in the remaining grounds. A garden is called Bagh in Hindi and as the temple in it is of Sita and Rama, this temple complex is called Sitaram Bagh. Sitaram Bagh is well maintained even today by the Ganeriwal family, as you can see in the attached photographs.
It is must-see temple/place in Hyderabad. 

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