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Rajagopuram of Sri Kalahasti Temple Collapses

The Gopuram of Sri Kalahasti Temple in Andhra Pradesh collapsed at 8:30 PM on May 26, 2010. The tower was more than 500 years old and was 135 meter in height. The main temple of Sri Kalahasti, dedicated to Hindu God Shiva, was not affected in the collapse.

Deccan Chronicle Reports

The gopuram had been in trouble for over a decade with stones and clay falling off from the structure. A few years ago, a tourist was killed when a stone fell on him. Though civil society groups had complained about the tower’s condition, the temple authorities did nothing except undertaking minor repairs. The neglected gopuram had become a shelter for tramps, sadhus and monkeys.

The gopuram, with seven stories, was built in 1516 and stood to the right side of the temple and was a testimony to the grandeur of the Vijayanagara Kings. Till three decades ago, it was the practice of devotees to pass through it after taking the bath in Swarnamukhi River.

A researcher from the SV University said that Srikrishna Devaraya built the monumental structure to mark his victory over the rival kings of the Gajapathi dynasty. “Unlike the other gopurams found in South India, it was built with clay,” he said.

Sri Kalahasti is one among the Pancha Bhootha Shiva Temples – Shivalingams of Five Natural Elements. Shiva is worshipped in the form of Vayu Linga which represents the element air or wind at Kalahasti.