Andhra Pradesh: Ancient temples have strong storage tanks

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Former rulers hailed for meticulous planning of ponds.

Anantapur: Historical hills and forts have perennial drinking water sources, even during the summer, while villages and cities face water shortages due to the depletion of ground water. The perennial water sources are ponds that were carved out during the regime of the Nolamba Pallava and Vijayanagar empires. There are two ponds close to the Lord Ramalingeswara temple on Madakasira hill, which were built during the Nolamba Pallava period seven centuries ago.

The pond that is located towards the north of the temple contains potable water, while the pond located towards the south of the temple contains saline water that can be used for domestic purposes. Kadiri Narasimhulu, an 85-year-old resident of the area, said “We are able to get drinking water and water for domestic use throughout the year. I have been visiting temple for the past five decades.”

Retired DSP O. Chandrasekhar Reddy said the perennial water sources were testimony to the meticulous planning carried out by former rulers, to mitigate rain deficit conditions. “While groundwater sources have depleted to 900 feet in many parts of the region, these water supply systems continue to provide plenty of water throughout the year, without depending on electricity, and without posing any risk to the hill area,” he said.

There is a big lake located close to the Lord Lakshminarasimha Swamy temple, at the top of the hill at Penukonda, the summer capital of Vijaynagar Empire. The lake was built during the regime of Krishnadevarya, five centuries ago, and the water level has remained unchanged so far. There is also the Pasirakki Well, which lies on the outskirts of Penukonda, and which contains water even during the summer.

Prathap Reddy, chairman of the Ghanagiri Development Committee, said that Emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya had concentrated on the use of scientific technology to provide perennial sources. Mahanandi and Yaganti ponds that are located in temple premises, have never dried up. The Mahanandi pond irrigates hundreds of acres of land every day, with water that flows naturally. Though the Gooty Municipality in Anantapur district is facing a severe drinking water crisis, a series of water-filled ponds are present on the hilltop, near Gooty Fort.

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