Kotappakonda to Turn ‘Tourist Haven’

Famous hill shrine of Trikuteswara atop the Kotappakonda in Guntur district witnesses lakhs of devotees during ‘Maha Sivaratri’. But on normal days, though it has much to offer to tourist year around, there are lesser takers.

In a bid to change this and ensure that Kotappakonda comes alive with tourists and pilgrims, efforts are being made to make the place a ‘tourist haven’ and make the tourists visit again and again. It is not just the endowments or tourism department, but every department is chipping in and taken up projects worth several crores, which are nearing completion.

According to the temple officials, the devasthanam with the help of endowments department has taken up beautification works at the cost of Rs 2.86 crore. The flooring of the temple premises has been changed with non-slippery tiles. In front of the temple entrance, the moving area has been extended and the area between Lord Ganesha statue and Gollabhama temple have been fortified with railing and a pathway of 17-foot width having interlocked bricks has been developed. Pilgrims visiting the place can have an unhindered view of the scenery from the place.

To facilitate those trekking to the hill shrine from foothills, a 40 feet shed covered with galvanised sheets is under construction. The exit area on the north side of the temple is being extended. ‘Pravachana Mandap’, ‘Yagasala’ and ‘Navagraha Mandapam’ are under construction. “We are also constructing a pilgrim hall, ‘Potu’ (temple kitchen), ‘prasadam’ counters and coconut breaking points,” explained temple executive officer D Srinivas Rao.

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He added that a proposal for constructing a 300 m-long ropeway from foothills to the hill shrine will be taken up under public-private partnership mode and the works are expected to be completed in a year.

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has chipped in for the development of the region and is setting up a ‘Veda Pathasala’ aside from a pilgrim amenities complex with more than Rs 10 crore.

The forest department, on its part, has taken up development of the ghat section by working in tandem with the road and buildings department. An eco-park and a children park have also been constructed, which have giant working models of dinosaurs. The R&B, on its own, is constructing an island and waterfalls, while the tourism department is engaged in constructing Pagoda-style waiting halls and the RWS department has undertaken the beautification works of the temple.

Once all the works are completed, the temple will emerge as a major tourist attraction, much near to the proposed capital city on the banks of River Krishna in Thullur, the temple officials hoped.