A historic temple of Nageswara Swamy, believed to be buried in sand for several decades, has been unearthed on the banks of the Penna river in Andhra Pradesh's Nellore district.
The temple was unearthed by a few people mining sand at the Perumallapadu village under Chejerla mandal. It was said to be consecrated by Lord Parasurama according to folklore.
Officials of the Archaeology Department said that the temple may have been constructed in the early 19th century. It may have started getting buried in sand after the 1850 floods in the Penna river. The floods had submerged the village and the people relocated away from the river banks.
Locals who stumbled upon the structure, wanted to continue the sand excavation, but authorities soon reached the spot and stopped them saying that this could damage the structure. Archaeology Assistant Director Ramasubba Reddy, who also visited the spot on Wednesday, said that higher officials would inspect the site soon and decide on the excavation and preservation works.
People from Perumallapadu and surrounding villages thronged to the place to see the temple and offer their prayers. A few policemen were deployed and a police picket was set up to guard the site.
The officials of the Archaeology and Endowments departments said they would work out a plan to restore the temple respecting the sentiments of the villagers.
"This has been the dream of the villagers. We had heard about the ancient temple from our elders," one young man from the village said.
Some locals said that the 'gopuram' of the structure could be seen covered in sand dunes till about 80 years ago.
The Archaeology Department plans to hold talks with public representatives on the restoration of the temple.
Hindu religious leader Swamy Kamalananda Bharati also visited the temple on Wednesday.
The seer, who heads the Hindu Temples Protection Committee, demanded that the authorities immediately take up works to restore the temple.