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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Echoes of Ancient Faith

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This hidden gem of a temple houses almost a million-year-old Shivling

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Tucked away from the bustling city, Sri Baba Koteshwar Mandir is located on a hillock at a height of 50
meters. At the entrance, near the staircase you will be greeted by a 21-foot tall Lord Shiva statue.
Installed in 2023, the statue is dedicated to the many devotees of the temple that dates back to nearly a
million years.
Koteshwar temple’s origins are rooted in the Vedic period. It also receives a mention in the Shiva Purana
that refers to the natural formation of a Shivling a long time ago. Discovered in the general location of
the temple, then a stone quarry, the Shivling was preserved and had a small temple built around it by
workers.
In 1953, 1 EME Centre relocated from Bangalore to Secunderabad. The staff and trainees of the
Promotion Cadre Company of 4 Training Battalion of 1 EME Centre refurbished the Shiva temple. They
started to perform bhajans and kirtans once a week. Since then, the mandir has gone through several
renovations, and to this day it is maintained and looked after by the Indian army.
We enter the temple on a Thursday morning. It is quiet and peaceful as any temple ought to be. The
only audible presence is that of birds chirping in the distance. We ring one of the temple’s 10,000 bells
before journeying upwards to the Shivling. Along the way we come across smaller temples of Sai Baba
and Ganesh.
The temple is spread over roughly 300 square meters. On the landing we locate the cave within which
the famous Shivling is situated. We say our prayers and enter a spacious cemented courtyard that can
accommodate 4,000 devotees at a time. This kind of gathering can especially be witnessed during
Mahashivaratri, which is celebrated each year with fervor.
The courtyard incorporates more of the smaller temples. Including ones of Hanuman, Durga, deities
Radha and Krishna and many more. Beyond the courtyard, you’ll find situated within another cave, a
Shivling made of ice which is maintained at a particular temperature.
Aarti is performed for each deity twice a day: once between 5 am and 6 am, and again between 6 pm
and 7 pm. The priest can be seen conducting prayers at all the mandirs and you are welcome to join him.

Silver House, Golf Course, Bolarum, Secunderabad
Darshan Timings: 6 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm (Monday to Saturday), 6 am to 11:30 am and 3 pm to 6
pm (Sunday)

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