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Monday, September 27, 2021

Ramappa Temple – architectural marvel of Kakatiya Era

Telangana’s Ramappa Temple recently received the UNESCO World Heritage Site status making it the 39th site in Bharat to be accorded the status. It is also known as Rudreshwar Temple with Ramalingeswara Swamy as the presiding deity. This architectural marvel belongs to the 13th century and was built during the rule of Kakatiya Ganpati Deva. The temple is located in Warangal’s Palampet Village.

Available inscriptions state that the temple was constructed in 1213 CE under Ganpati Deva’s Chief Commander Recherla Rudra’s supervision by a sculptor name Ramappa. It took 4 long decades to complete and stands as a perfect testimony of the Kakatiyan art and architecture.

Temple
PC: Warangal Tourism

The foundation has been constructed using the sandbox technique which helps in cushioning the structure during earthquakes. In this technique, the pit that has been dug up for laying the foundation is filled with a mixture of sand-lime, jaggery (for binding), and karakkaya (black myrobalan fruit). The structures are then erected on these sandbox foundations.

The temple has been built using a variety of materials. While granite has been used for the floors, the pillars have been raised using basalt and red sandstone has been used to construct the lower part of the temple. The construction of the gopuram has been done using light bricks that are said to float on water instead of sinking.

Temple
PC: Warangal Tourism

Intricate carvings adorn the walls, pillars, and ceiling of this Shivalaya (Shiva temple) exhibiting the architectural skill of the Kakatiyan sculptors. The temple, which stands on a six feet high star-shaped platform comprises a garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), an antarala (antechamber), and a maha mandapam (pillared hall or pavilion).

Temple
PC: Deccan Herald

The pradakshina (circumambulatory) path is dotted with a shikara. There are numerous pillars with intricate carvings. A majestic murti of Nandi facing Bhagwan Shiva presents an impressive sight as one makes one’s way into the temple. Although the Nandi Mandapa is now in a state of ruins, the vigraha of Nandi Bhagwan is very impressive with exquisite bell carvings on its body.

Temple
PC: Warangal Tourism

Carvings on the garbhagriha entrance depict numerous musical instruments and dance poses. One of the carvings at the entrance depicts a flute which when hit makes the sound of musical notes sa-ri-ga-ma.

Temple
PC: Warangal Tourism

Scenes from Hindu granthas including the Ramayana, Shiv Puran, and others have been engraved on the garbhagriha ceiling. Sculptors have featured scenes from the granthas on eight sides in the inner portion of the roof. Among the various scenes depicted in the beam carvings on the ceiling are the entire story of Samudra Manthan, Daksha Yagna and Daksha Samhar, Tripurasura Samhar, Gajasura Samhar, and Narakasur Vadh.

Temple
PC: Warangal Tourism

It is also interesting to note that the pillars and stones of the walls are said to emit musical sounds on being struck. Another noteworthy feature of the structure is that the pillar carvings are said to be so fine as to allow one to pass a strand of hair through them.

Similarly, the posture of Nandi here is different from those of most shivalayas in the country and he appears ready to take and carry out Bhagwan Shiva’s command. Furthermore, the columns have been laid out in such a manner that sunlight always shines on the sanctum (garbagriha).

Temple
PC: Deccan Herald

Kameswara and Koteswara sub-shrines have been constructed on both sides of the main temple that stands on a raised platform. However, the Kameswara temple now lies in ruins. The temple withstanding weathering for several centuries testifies to the architectural and engineering genius of the Kakatiyan artisans.

References:

  1. Warangal Tourism (Source)
  2. Telangana Tourism (Source)
  3. Times of India (Source)
  4. Insights on India Website (Source)
  5. The Hindu (Source)
  6. The New Indian Express (Source)

(Featured Image Source: Deccan Herald)


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Maitri
A opinionated girl-next-door with an attitude. I'm certainly not afraid to call myself 'a proud Hindu' and am positively politically incorrect. A Bharatiya at heart who loves reading, music, sports and nature. Travelling and writing are my passions.

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