The hilltop temple in Dichpally village, though built in the 14th century, got its first idol only in 1949. Apparently, Alauddin Khilji and lack of workmen were responsible for the shrine being empty.
Situated about 15km from Nizamabad, Dichpally Ramalayam attracts thousands of people during Ram Navami. The temple has recently been included in the Telangana government’s tourism plans.
Made of white and black basalt, the temple is also known as the Khilla Ramalayam, as there are remnants of an old fort on the hilltop. One has to climb 105 steps from the gateway to reach the temple.
Legend says that on the way to Sri Lanka, Lord Ram and Hanuman stayed here for a fortnight and bought weapons from a place nearby. According to another legend, the author of Kamasutra, Vatsyayana, came here, and while asleep, dreamt of certain sexual positions. These positions have been chiselled in stone atop the temple. Owing to these erotic carvings, the temple is also known as the Khajuraho of Indur (Nizamabad’s former name). Interestingly, no other temple in Telangana has erotic depictions.
The temple was built by Prataparudra of the Kakatiya dynasty but the construction was abruptly abandoned in AD 1311, leaving the temple without an idol. It was also attacked by Alauddin Khilji in the same year. A reason for leaving it incomplete could be the lack of workmen. Legend has it that the temple was built by one man.
Pilgrims started visiting the temple in 1949, when the idols of Ram, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman were installed. Gajawada Chinnaiah Gupta, the first sarpanch of Dichpally, brought these idols as a gift to the temple. He also built the steps leading to the temple in the same year.
The four-petalled flowers engraved on the stones are a signature of Kakatiya art, says Vanamamulai Venkata Krishnamacharyulu, chief priest of the temple and a Vedic scholar.
“This is a Vaishnavalayam. Because there is a Ram icon, people call it Ramalayam and the name has stuck. What is unique about this temple is that the Kakatiyas built only Shiva temples and this one stands tall because it is dedicated to Vishnu,” said Krishnamacharyulu.
Apparently, a tunnel from the temple tank leads to the Raghunath temple in Nizamabad. However, the tunnel entrance is now overgrown with bushes. Some enthusiastic visitors pointed out to an opening in the wall and claimed that weapons were once stored there.
How to get there:
Dichpally Ramalayam is 15km away from Nizamabad on the way to Hyderabad. The temple is 165km away from Hyderabad.
Best mode of transport would be to hire a car from Nizamabad if you are coming from that side. If you are coming from Hyderabad, you can hire a car or take a bus Hyderabad-Nizamabad bus and get down at Dichpally and engage an auto rickshaw or car to reach the temple, which is 3.3km away.
Nearest Railway station: Nizamabad railway station.
Nearest airport: Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (165km)
(In arrangements with THE WEEK)