ANANTAPUR: The legendary 16th century royal palace located in Penukonda, known as Gagan Mahal, built during the Vijayanagar period which was the second capital of Emperor Sri Krishna Devaraya, has now an eye-feasting look after getting a facelift and restoration of its pristine glory by the Department of Archaeology and Museums.
The palace, which was in a dilapidated condition, is now the cynosure of all and part of tourist circuit of the Tourism department, reports The Hans India.
The department has restored its past glory with the help of architects from Tamil Nadu.
Legend has it that a beautiful royal dancer, Gangamma, made Gagan Mahal her abode for entertaining the visiting kings and dignitaries.
The architecture of Gagan Mahal is a combination of Hindu and Persian and the same is now renovated by the department of Archaeology without disturbing its original beauty.
Once resembling eerie, ghost-infested palace shown in horror movies, Gagan Mahal now houses a photo exhibition reflecting the history of Penukonda, the second capital of the legendary emperor.
The palace is now an ideal spot for film shootings, the locals say. Number of religious structures have been added at the palace during the Vijayanagar period.
The people of Penukonda, who are proud of its rich cultural and political heritage, are sad at the utter neglect of the historical town by the Central and the State governments.
The very soil of the ancient rustic town is a witness to the grandeur of its rich past, says Kulayappa, an octogenarian, who has been a resident of the town for the past eight decades.
The government has starved the department of Archeology of funds. Recent reports say the department itself is being wound up as it is considered a white elephant.
Another senior citizen Narayanappa sipping tea at a kiosk seconds the observations of Kulayappa. History is being erased by the utter neglect of Archeology department, the story teller to future generations, he lamented.