Kolanpak is a small quaint town some 70 odd km’s North East of Hyderabad in Nalgonda district. I recently came to know about its ancient temples and set out to explore them. Kolanpak literally means ornate with lakes, though I did not see any lake around. But then it would have been named so ages ago. It was apparently a Jain hub during the times of Chalukyas and Kakatiyas. Though the Shwetambar Jain temple authorities claim that the temple is far older than these dynasties.
Shwetambar Jain Temple, Kolanpak
Myths of Shwetambar Jain Temple, Kolanpak
Shwetambar Jain temple as it stands today is a pretty new one and will remind you of Jain temples of Gujarat in light pink sandstone. The main deity here is Manikya Devji also called Rishabh Dev Ji. His ancient idol occupies the central place in the temple. There are many myths associated with this idol. It is believed that this idol originally was placed in Ayodhya and then went to Indralok. From where Ravana requested for it for his wife Mandodari. When Ravana was about to die at the hands of Ram, this idol was left in the Indian Ocean. And was recovered by the then king of South India called Sankar Dev.
Like most idols, the condition was that if the king doubted anything about the idol, it would settle down at the same place. That is how it settled itself in this temple and has been here since then. No one can say what is the truth but it is a beautiful idol in black stone with golden signs on it.
Idols at Shwetambar Jain Temple, Kolanpak
Other idols here include a Deep Blue idol of Mahavir made in Feroza stone – a rare stone to make idols and probably one of its kinds. There is a standing idol of Parsvanath and a 12-armed idol of Padmavati, both in black granite stone. Another 3-tiered stand had miniature idols of all Jain Teerthankaras in gold. The floor in pure white marble has beautiful inlay work with colorful and intricate patterns. The pillar bases had elephants and peacocks carved in white marble that hold your eyes pretty much inside the temple. And that was probably the purpose of making spiritual spaces so beautiful so that you do not look outside.
There is a small library that has Jain literature. As and when you visit this temple, make sure you eat at their Bhojanshala that serves simple and wholesome meals served by volunteers with an attitude of Seva or Service with love & humility. Meals are free though you are indicated to donate any amount that you feel like for the same. There is a small museum that houses the excavated sculptures from around the temple. But you may have to haggle a lot with the staff to open this for you.
Opposite the main gate of this temple is Nehru Park that has a very colonial façade. You can go for a leisurely stroll in this park. There were horse-drawn tongas here that you can take for joy rides. It is after ages that I saw working Tongas in India.
Shwetambar Jain temple at Kolanpak was a discovery that I would remember for some time.
Recommend you to read the following Places to visit in Hyderabad, Telangana.