Nava Bramha Temple Alampur: A group of nine temples of Navabrahma (also known as Nava Brahmeswara) are located at Alampur town in the Mahbubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh. All these temples, devoted to Lord Shiva, are situated near the banks of Tungabhadra River. They are built during different periods by the Badami Chalukyan kings.
The nine temples are as follows.
- Taraka Brahma
- Swarga Brahma
- Viswa Brahma
- Padma Brahma
- Arka Brahma
- Garuda Brahma
- Vira Brahma
- Kumara Brahma
- Bala Brahma
Description of Nava Bramha temples: The Navabrahma temples are situated near the left bank of River Tungabhadra. All the temples, except Taraka Brahma, were built within the premises of fort in the courtyard. Taraka Brahma was built outside the fort. It is the only temple which is built in south Indian style while all other temples were built in north Indian style. These Nava Brahma temples resemble the architecture of Sangameshwara temple of Kudaveli. All the temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and each of them has a long rectangular mandapam with pillars enclosed to the sanctum sanctorum and Nandi sitting in front of it. There are minor differences between one another regarding the number of pillars and carvings. Some of them have a front porch and the doors of the entrance are carved with multiple divisions of lintel and jambs.
The outer walls have uniformly carved niches, built in the northern style conjoined by circular or semi-circular decorations. All of them have multi-tiered Vimanas (towers) which are built in the northern style and some of these are ruined. The towers are extended with a wagon-shaped roof and the base is attached to a circular or horse-shoe shaped blind arch connecting to the façade, which encloses a carving of Nataraja (Lord Shiva). But, some of them lost the carving of Nataraja. The interlocking circles (or semi-circle) and pieces of ridged stone make the towers so beautiful. The roof of the towers are covered with "amalaka" (a spherical stone with a flat base), ribs carved on the margins with a "kalasa" (pot shaped structure) on the top.
The carvings on the temples include the sculptures of Lord Shiva (in several incarnations), other deities, dancers, musicians and other saints. Several carvings of flying figures, one of them; depicting a couple making love during the flight, are found on walls below the cornice of Swarga Brahma temple.
Viswa Brahma temple has the tallest tower which is partially damaged. This temple has no front entrance porch and the roof corners are adorned by Nandis. The lintel of the entrance door is carved with the images of Garuda in a flying posture; Ganga and Jamuna are carved on the ends of door jambs. Large windows are carved in a lattice texture providing ventilation into the temple. Most of the carvings include Mithuna couple (Vedic gods), the pilasters are carved with beautiful females with three body bends and the ceiling in front of the sanctum sanctorum is carved with lotus. Vira Brahma temple looks similar to Viswa Brahma in its layout and style. The exteriors have a few carvings but with no side porches on it.
It also bears three large lattice windows on each side of the sanctum providing it with adequate light and air. But, the "amalaka" (a spherical stone with a flat base) and "kalasa" (pot shaped structure) on the top of the tower are missing in this temple.
Another temple, Arka Brahma also has some of the beautiful carvings sculptured on it. One of the most beautiful sculptures depicts Goddess Rati Devi, the consort of Lord Kama. Her sculpture is carved in a standing posture with a few decorations and garments, with abundant hair starching out like a fan. She stands in front of a crocodile, holding sugarcane with her left hand and a jar of Amrutham (a drink that gives immortality) with her right hand. The Padma Brahma temple has a stone sculpture of Lord Siva in the form of a lingam. And, Bala Brahma temple has the main shrine which receives all the regular rituals and poojas. The temple also has the disfigured idols of Jogulamba and her consorts, which are kept by the devotees during the Muslim invasions in 14th century. All major festivals are celebrated flamboyantly in this temple. The temple attracts an umpteen number of pilgrims during Karthika Masam and Maha Shivaratri.
Also, there are some other temples in this complex such as Narasimha Swami temple and Suryanarayana Swami temple, which dates back to 9th century AD. Early inscriptions reveal that the Narasimha Swami temple is built by Sri Krishna Devaraya of Vijayanagara Empire. Also, there is another group of ruined temples called "Papanasi" near the town. These temples are dedicated to Papanaseswara Swami (Lord Shiva) and they belong to 11th century AD.