Among the good works done by the Birla Foundation of India (named after the famous Birla family of industrialists), some of the most lauded are the magnificent architectural showpieces they have systematically built in honour of various Hindu deities. These temples are, rather curiously, not best known by their deities or cities but are collectively called Birla Mandirs. Sharing the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi, these temples are open to Hindus of all castes and creeds. Among these, the Birla Mandir of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh emerges as a true religious and architectural gem of the city.
This temple complex gleams pristine white atop the Naubath Pahad hillock, at an elevation of 280ft above the rest of the city, overlooking the placid surface of the Hussein Sagar Lake and a panoramic vista that encompasses the most scenic sites of sister cities Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The entire complex, whose decade-long construction was completed in 1976, is built from pure white marble brought from Rajasthan. Its night-time illumination makes it one of the loveliest and most vibrant ornaments of the nocturnal cityscape.
Blending the traditional temple architectural styles of South India, Utkala and Rajasthan, the shrine is devoted chiefly to the Lord Venkateshwara, who is better known as Lord Balaji in the northlands. An 11 foot high statue of this deity carved from granite forms the centrepiece of this temple, flanked by the shrines of the gods consorts, Padmavati and Andal. A 40-foot-tall brass flagstaff also spears the air from the grounds of this temple.
The temple is especially noted for the exquisite carvings on its walls, depicting scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana, bearing testament to the skill of contemporary Indian craftsmen determined not to be outdone by their forebears. Life-like statues of various mythological figures from the Hindu pantheon, including the Lords Shiva, Shakti, Brahma, Hanuman, Ganesh and Goddesses Saraswati and Lakshmi decorate the path leading to the main shrine.
Suffused by the spirit of serenity, beauty and calmness, the ideal time to visit the temple is during the hours of early morning, when the strains of classical South Indian music praising the gods wafts high upon the cooling winds.
The Birla Mandir is only one of the many breathtaking sights one can explore while staying at a Hyderabad hotel. Travellers seeking quality luxury hotels Hyderabad should consider Ista Hyderabad as a hotel of choice, as this well-reputed accommodation boasts excellent service and a range of facilities for both business and leisure travellers.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry