Conceived by Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, the sprawling four acre Lakshmi Narasimha temple has been built over a hillock, supported on concrete piles.

Craftsmen race against time at the Yadagirigutta temple near Hyderabad.
Craftsmen race against time at the Yadagirigutta temple near Hyderabad. ©  K.V.S. Giri

Among the theories on the origin of the monolithic Kailasa Temple in the Ellora caves is one that says aliens chiselled through the hill from the top to create the mammoth temple from a single block of stone sometime in the eighth century during the reign of Krishna I of the Rasntrakutas. .

Some 13 centuries later, on a dusty road leading to Warangal, a hill of granite is being sculpted into a temple, standing atop the small hillock of Yadagirgutta.

The new temple is the brainchild of a modern day ruler, albeit one who has been elected — Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. Mr. Rao consulted the well-known Vaishnavite figure Chinna Jeeyar Swamy for the temple, dedicated to Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy, while film set designer Anand Sai designed it. The State government has allocated ₹250 crore for the temple in the current budget. It had allocated ₹100 crore over the last two budgets taking the total allocation to ₹450 crore.

“By March, the temple will be ready to welcome pilgrims,” says G. Kishen Rao of Yadagirigutta Temple Development Authority.

Yadagirigutta, a 1.5 acre plateau, was home to a small cave temple dedicated to Narasimha and a rock with a carving of Hanuman. “It was a small temple which people from Hyderabad visited on Saturdays and other festive occasions and returned home by evening. There was hardly any queue of pilgrims and very few amenities. Now, we are waiting for the main temple to open,” says Vijayalakshmi, a devotee from the village, offering prayers at the adjacent makeshift replica of the new temple.

The new temple now sprawls over four acres on a platform constructed of reinforced concrete piles rising from the base of the hill. A road is being laid to accommodate the expected traffic.