Prayerful splendour : Ramappa temple at Warangal

The Kakatiyas ruled over the Telugu country or Andhradesa with Warangal or Orugollu meaning “one stone” as their capital. They ruled between 11th and 14th centuries ,1052 to 1323 A. D. and built a fort, temples and created amazing sculptures. At Palampet , a village in the Mulug taluq of Warangal district exists a lake,green hills and a temple consecrated to Rudreswara known as Ramappa temple situated by the side of Ramappa Lake;it is possible that the sculptor’s name was Ramappa. Built in 1213 by a general of the Kakatiyas, Recherla Rudra ; as is mentioned on the north east pillar inscription .image001

Pic : Isha Vatsa

The temple has a main temple and  a nandi manatapa. The temple is built of light brick.  Each wall has a triple storeyed niche with ornamentation.

The other structures include two subsidiary shrines, north and south of the main temple, a dharmashala situated at its southwest. There are two minor temples southwest and north west of the main temple. Smaller shrines are present to the west and the western and eastern end of the bund of the lake.

The Kakatiya architects had consulted the Silpa and Agama texts. The Ramappa temple is of a cruciform plan with garbagriha, antarala on the western side.The east, north and south share porticos. The temple stands on a upapitha with space of ten feet around it which forms the pradakshinapatha. The upapitha has horizontal moldings.The adhisthana and pabhanga are also molded. The pabhanga has elephants and other motifs. The figure brackets which emerge from the outer pillars are alasa kanyas and gaja vyalas. These figure brackets spring from outer pillars and appear as supports to the roof projections.


Pic : Isha Vatsa

The temple is five feet higher than the upapitha and to enter the temple one has to climb steps. The pillars are arranged in such a way that the ceiling is divided into compartments and each is carved with rich designs. The central pillars are also richly decorated and one can find puranic episodes here. The Rangamantapa where musicians used to perform contains ornate pillars with scenes from Bhagavata including Tripura samharam, Gopika Vastrapaharanam etc. The dance postures in the temple inspired Jayapa Senani to compose Nritya Ratnavali.


Pic : Isha Vatsa

Decorative gateways lead to the antarala and garbagriha where the linga stands on a black basalt stone pedestal. The subsidiary shrines on the north stand on upapithas and can be reached by steps. The south shrine has a square hall with garbagriha which has no roof. The hall has pillars in the middle and the ceiling has beautiful carvings. Episodes from Ramayana are carved on the pillars.

The dharmasala is at the South west of the main shrine. Various other shrines have been built in the vicinity; a temple of Shiva with mantapa, antarala and garbagriha with parapets having beautiful sculptures and doorways with jali design. Another temple towards northwest has an open pillared hall, an antarala, a garbagriha and an open mantapa mostly in ruins. West of the main temple another ruined shrine in pyramidal shape facing north, At western end of the bund of the lake lies a temple which has a portico leading to  a main hall and three garbagrihas with antaralas to the north, south and west. At the eastern end of the bund is a temple standing on a upapitha with flower and animal carvings. There is a hall and a garbagriha at the eastern end.

The famous traveller Marco Polo has referred to the achievements of the Kakatiyas.image006

Pic : Isha Vatsa

References :

The art and architecture of the Kakatiyas by B. Satyanarayana Singh, Bharatiya Kala Prakashan, 1999.

Temples of Telingana by M. Radhakrishna Sarma, Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi,1972.

The Kakatiyas by Dr. P. V Parabrahma Sastry, Government of Andhra Pradesh, 1978.

Posted by : Soma Ghosh




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