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Telangana's 'Temple Man' Deserves World Recognition

Telangana's 'Temple Man' Deserves World Recognition

This is unbelievable but true. With single-minded determination and hard work, a man chiselled a mountain into a temple.

The Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Velchal village of Vikarabad district in Telangana is a proof of what a man can achieve with his sheer determination.

Paramaiah Yadav, popular as Paramaiah Dasu, dedicated his entire life to chiseling the rock into the temple located near the village in Mominpet 'mandal', about 100 km from Hyderabad.

With crowbar, chisel and hammer as the only tools, he toiled alone for several years to chisel a cave which is 20 metres deep and over five feet wide and houses the temple.

Villagers say he was a young man when he began the work in the 1960s. The area was then a dense forest and was known for tigers and other wild animals.

Paramaiah, who is now around 75, can barely speak but can recall that he embarked on the work after a god appeared in his dream and asked to build a temple.

According to locals, while rearing sheep and goats in the area, Paramaiah took shelter under the hillock and began chiseling it to shelter himself during rains. One day he slept there and after the dream, decided to devote his entire life in chiseling a cave.

Some people say he completed the work in the 1970s but some others say he worked for two decades.

From outside, it appears only as a rock but as one goes closer to the place, one can find the entrance to the cave and the temple inside. "With no technology and without support from anybody, he single-handedly completed the work and with mind-boggling perfection. You feel as if you are in Ajanta Ellora caves," said Vithal, a former member of the Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency (MPTC).

Locals say Paramaiah gave up his family and all relationships to dedicate his entire life to building the temple. He did not get the education and used to eat only once a day.

"My dream has come true," said Paramaiah in a trembling voice. He is happy that villagers came forward to develop the temple. They formed a committee which provides amenities to the devotees who come from surrounding villages and even far-off places.

Paramaiah lives in the same cave. He knows no mantra or rituals. Villagers say he used to tell them to pray directly to the god. It was only a couple of years ago that the temple appointed a priest.

Vithal said since Paramaiah was growing old, they decided to appoint a pujari to perform the rituals and take care of the temple.

Panduranga, a childhood friend of Paramaiah who later went to Dubai, recalled that he was not interested in anything other than chiseling the temple.

Locals say it was the power of faith which helped the shepherd to accomplish an impossible task.

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