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Birla Mandir: God’s Marble Home

360° Panoramic Views

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Birla MandirIndustrialists Birlas have built a number of temples of architectural magnificence all over the country which, strangely, are referred to as Birla temples and not Lakshminarayan temple or Venkateswara temple. A quarter century ago, they built a temple in Hyderabad entirely in marble brought from Rajasthan and dedicated it to Lord Venkateswara, known as Balaji in the north. The temple, built on a hillock called Kala Pahad, one of the Naubat Pahad twins, lords over its equally celebrated surroundings comprising the imposing Secretariat buildings, the azure-blue waters of Hussain Sagar, the serene and halcyon Lumbini Park, the luxurious Public Gardens dominated by the Asafjahi-style Legislative Assembly complex and the Reserve Bank of India. From the highest level of the temple, the spectacle around is breath-taking, providing a view of the verdure of the city, the incessant flow of traffic on the Tank Bund, crowds thronging the administrative complexes of the government, the newly-built flyovers and the cultural hub of the city Ravindra Bharathi and the NTR Memorial.

Birla Mandir night viewThe approach to the temple is through a lane opposite the Reserve Bank, and once you trek this small patch, you reach the foot and both sides of a meandering stairway flanked by ornate banisters. On the way are several marble statues representing the Hindu pantheon. The temple manifests a blend of South Indian, Rajasthani and Utkal temple architectures. Before you reach the sanctum, several structures beginning with the baroque canopies at the foot of the stairway, greet you. The main temple is entered through the four-tiered rajagopuram built in the garudalaya style of South Indian temples. Beyond the rajagopuram swings into presence the great Dilwara temple-style gallery dwarfing nearly every other structure by its intricately carved detail.

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