Hyderabad: Three persons, including two women, were killed at the Shiva temple complex at Korthikota village of Tanakallu mandal in Anantapur district on Monday.
The intention behind the murder is yet not clear, although villagers are suspecting that treasure hunters could be behind the attack.
The deceased were identified as S. Shivaramireddy, 70, his elder sister Kadapala Kamalamma, 75, and Satya Lakshmiamma, 70.
Kadiri Rural Circle Inspector T. Madhu told a leading daily that the 15th century temple was being renovated.
Police said some unidentified persons came to the temple complex after midnight, allegedly slit the throats of all the three persons and sprinkled the blood on the Shiva Linga in the sanctum sanctorum and a couple of anthills.
A native of Madanapalli in Chittoor district, Shivaramireddy is the priest of the temple and returned from Madanapalli on Sunday evening. His wife and three children stay at Madanapalli.
The villagers came to know about the incident in the morning as the temple is located 500 metres away from the village.
Investigation is on. No arrest is yet made.