Keesaragutta Temple or the Keesaragutta Shiva Temple is an important pilgrim center in Telangana. It is in the village Keesara which in Rangareddy district of Telangana State. The temple is of Shiva and his two consorts Sivadurga and Bhavani. Shiva meaning ‘The propitious one’ is one of the major Trimurti divinities of Hinduism. He is one who has not found born or dead. He is all- knowing yogi. He lives monastic life on Kailas. The main attributes of Shiva are third eye on forehead, vasuki snake around his neck, half-moon on his head. Shiva is also known as ‘destroyer’.
LegendIn Treta yuga, Lord Rama (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) killed Ravana. Rama installed Shiva lingam to apologize for killing Ravana since Ravana was a Brahmin and ‘Brahmin hatya’ (killing a Brahmin) is considered a very big sin. For the installation of lingam Ram chose this magnificent valley which had hills on all its sides. The lush greenery made it all the more beautiful. Lord Rama ordered Hanuman (incarnation of Lord Shiva and a great devotee of Lord Rama) to bring Shiv lingam from Varanasi. An auspicious time was fixed for installing the lingam. However Hanuman was late. To make sure that the ceremony goes ahead without problem Lord Shiva himself appeared and gave his lingam to Rama. Rama took Shiva Lingam installed it. Due to this the lingam in the temple is called ‘Swayambhu linga’. It is also called ‘Ramalingeshwara’ as it was installed by Lord Rama.
Hanuman meanwhile brought 101 lingams from Varanasi. But on seeing the installed lingam, he felt dejected for not having his lingams installed. In this dejection and sadness he threw the 101 lingams which he brought in the nearby area. Even today many of the lingams are found scattered around the temple. To calm Hanuman, Sri Rama ordered that Hanuman would be worshiped first over here. Lord Rama also gave a boon to hanuman that the place where temple is located will be known after his name Kesargiri i.e. son of Kesari. The hillock thus got its name. This place later came to be known as Kesaragutta.
HistoryThe temple belongs to 4th to 5th Century CE as per few sources. There were traces found of human civilization in this area belonging to the Vishnukundins Era. Remains of brick structures belonging to the Chalukyan Era were also discovered. 12 idols of Jain tirthankars 4th to 5th century were found near the temple steps at a depth of one foot. They proved co-existence of Jainism and Hinduism during Vishnukundins Era. It is also said that during the Nawab his Ministers Akkana and Madhanna built the temple. But it may have repairing and renovation works done to the already built temple.
Significance/GreatnessLord Sri Rama had installed ‘Swayambhu murti’. The temple also has an altar separately for Lord Lakshminarsimha and Lord Rama and Sita. This temple is where Shiva and Vishnu both reside and shower devotees with all the blessings and benefits. The 101 lingams are of varying heights and are up to 1 metre. The legend says that lingams indicate life and fertility. It is also believed that praying to the 101 Shiva lingams would give blessings of all 33 crore gods.
ArchitectureThe temple hosts the Dravidian Architecture. The gopuram at the entrance has five storeys. There is another one with two storeys. It similar in architecture to other Dravidian style Shiva temples but is smaller in area and does not host large mandapas and corridors as in other temples. The gopuram is intricately carved. There is a large Hanuman statue too. He is in standing position.
Pooja/ FestivalsMahashivratri, Shiva Kalyanam, Sri Rama Navmi, Hanuman Jayanti, Ramalingeshwara Brahmotsavam, etc. are some prominent festivals and auspicious days in month of Karthik & Magh. Mahashivratri attracts a large number of pilgrims to the temple.
How to reachIt is 35 km from Hyderabad. Apart from private buses and cabs, the Government too has its own buses to take pilgrims to the temple. Cherlapally railway station is just 15km from the Keesara village. Government buses and private taxis and buses can easily take you to the temple from the station. This temple has Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at 60km. The Begumpet Airport is just 30km away. there are buses and taxis from airport to the temple.
TimingsThe temple is open all days and you can visit from 6:00 AM - 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM - 7:30 PM.
AccommodationKeesara village has accommodation facilities. There are many good hotels as well as cottages available. If you wish to just visit the temple, then you can live near the temple. You can even live in Hyderabad and come to the temple just for darshan while going out for sightseeing. Sri Bhavani Ramalingeshwara Swamy Devasthanam too provides places for accommodation near the temple.