A 1000-year-old temple built in the Rashtrakuta style of temple architecture has been discovered in a state of neglect in the town of Chilkur, located in the Rangareddy district in the state of Telangana, India. The temple is situated within the most famous ‘Visa Balaji temple’ town, and was discovered by senior archaeologist and CEO of the Pleach India Foundation, Sivanagi Reddy. Reddy was conducting explorations in and around Chilkur village as part of the awareness programme ‘Preserve Heritage for Posterity’ launched by the foundation.
Reddy noticed many sculptures scattered at the entrance of the village, and a dilapidated structure inside the tank bund dating back to the period between 9th and 10th centuries CE. At the entrance of the village, Reddy found a two-pillared Mandapa built along the tank bund in deteriorating condition. He also discovered beautiful sculptures of a seated lady devotee with folded hands and Bhairava in standing posture representing the Kalyani Chalukyan style of art (11th century CE), Nagadevathas, and two Hero stones near the Pochamma temple. Additionally, he found an attractive sculpture of Surya broken into two pieces lying at the rear side of the Siva temple located inside the village.
Reddy observed that the small but beautiful single-storey Siva temple raised on an adhisthana (basement) was totally sunken into the ground with crevices developed on the walls. The Sikhara (Vimana) portion on the roof had collapsed, and the frontage was covered with an altogether modern structure that not only camouflaged the temple but also spoiled its antiquarian look. This resulted in putting the monument of archaeological significance in oblivion.
Reddy further explained that the door frames, pillars, architectural designs, and art motifs on the shikhara, Sivalinga, and the bull sculpture inside the Siva temple represent the Rashtrakuta style created by the Chalukyas of Vemulawada based on the inscription. He also mentioned that Jaina idols shifted from Chilkur village were now on display at the Khajana Building Museum, Golconda.
Reddy sensitized the villagers on the need to erect them on pedestals at one place and to restore the tank bund Mandapa and Siva temple. He also suggested erecting a signage with a historical note at the main road leading to Balaji temple to draw devotees to the Siva temple.