MONUMENTS IN WARANGAL

 

Monument No: 1

Monument Name: THOUSAND PILLARED TEMPLE

Location: Hanamkonda

Brief History:
Among the most celebrated temples built by Kakatiyas the temple complex locally known as Veyistambhalagudi, (the Thousand pillared temple) was perhaps the earliest. According to an inscription the complex was raised by Kakatiya Rudra Deva-I (1162-63) and enshrines Rudresvara, Vasudeva and Surya images. It is thus a triple shrine. The main deities are arranged in square sanctums fronted by an antarala leading to a common rangamandapa or natya-mandapa with long portico entrance at the south. Between the temple and the portico is a plain pavilion housing a huge Nandi now open to sky. The temple is reared on a star-shaped jagati. The roof is semi-flattish. South of this trikuta and falling in the same line is a splendid edifice a hall of columns, nearly 300 in number. The temple contains fine examples of Natya Siva, besides images of Surya, Narasimha, astadikpalakas, etc. The door-sakhas and lintels here (also the ruins at Warangal) contain some of the finest relief figures, besides nidhis and dvarapalas, Nritya Ganesa. Tandava-Narasimha and Indra on Airavata. A remarkable balustrade sculpture from a ruined mandapa symbolizes the great queen Rudrambadevi, shown on lion trampling elephant like enemies (daya-gajakesari); a window screen (bhadravalokana) characteristic of the Kakatiya lapidary art. The pillar inscription of the time of Rudra Deva-I is at the eastern torana entrance of the prakara by the side of a stepped tank which served as a pushkarini. The epigraph gives a graphic description of Hanumakonda, its learned scholars and damsels of this beautiful city.

To the students of Art History, this inscription of the time of Rudradeva (1163 A.D.) represents a graphic and conventional account of the city, its colourful life and environs.

Tasy=aste=Numakomda-na-ma-nagari Sri-rajadhan-iva ya Yatr=odyat-sad-akhamda-khamda-parasu-vyajrimbhan-ojjrimbhita !

Kamdarppasya pur=iva sa ratimati srimgara-bhav-anvita Mahemdra=iva cha Jishnu Vishnu--sahita Rambha-vilas-orjjita !!

"A capital city named Anumakonda which was like the capital of the goddess of fortune raised to a great state by the rise of the excellent and full grace (lila) of God Siva who was there: which was full of delight (Rati) like the city of Cupid: and it is like Mahendri in being possessed of temples Jishnu and Vishnu (as image in its temples) and (which was) beautiful with the charm of plantain trees (with the amorous play of Rambha):"

Yatra striyo Makaraketana-rajadhanya anila-nira-ja-palasa-drisah kris-amgyah ! trailokya-sumdaradrisam tilakayamana apina-tumga kucha-kumbha-bhar-alas- amgyah !!

"Where, the women were indeed the metrolopis of Cupid, having eyes like the petals of the blue lilies and slim bodies; ornaments to the women of the three worlds and had bodies weighed down by the weight of big and high breasts:"

Yatra dvijemdra-bhavaneshu nivaryyamanah kirah pathamti patavo vatubhis=sametah ! sarvv-amga-samgata-samasta-vichara-charu-charitra-charchchita-pada-krama-yukta-vedan !!

"(Where) in the houses of the excellent brahmins clever parrots join the students, though prevented and study the Vedas (which contain) all the Vedangas all appropriate subjects, beautiful histories and (which are) in well studies pada and krama methods:"

Vesya-griheshu surat-otsava-jata-cheshta-sabd-a-nukari-sukasaba(va)-kajoru-sabdah: sarvva diso mukharayamti diva vitanam kamdarppa-darppa-taral-arnnava-purnna-chamdrah !!

"(and where) in the house of courtesans the loud and sweet sound of youg parrots make all the quarters resound - (parrots) imitating the sounds of amorous sports in sexual enjoyment, which are during day-time like full moon of the tremulous ocean of the excitement of love".

This was indeed, the Anumakonda Nagari of the Kakatiya times.

The Garuda banner of Pratapa Rudra is regarded by some scholars as the lanchana of Santinatha, the 16th Tirthankara. Ekasila was a Jaina Resort. Several Jaina images were found in the Fort area. The Vardhamana Parsvanatha model shrine with Tirthankaras in niches all of black basal are typically Kakatiyan. Padmakshi temple on Hanumakonda hill was continuously patronised. The steep narrow path is an arduous one but ascetic Jains chose such places only. The Jaina basadi here enjoyed perpetual grants during the time of Pratapa Rudra who held all the Samayas (faiths) in equal esteem.

Monument No: 2

Monument Name: RAMAPPA TEMPLE

Location: Palampet

Brief History:
Palampet is an obscure village about 65km. north east of Hanumakonda. The magnificent temple popularly called Ramappagudi (Rudresvara) is regarded as the brightest gem in the galaxy of Medieval Deccan Temples. It is the most elaborate example within a massive stone prakara, 90 metres east-west and 86 metres, north-south and the back door entry to the complex is of recent origin.

An inscription on the four faces of the polished black basalt column within a mandapa at the north east of the temple records the pious foundations of the city of Palampet and a lake, perhaps the very lake, caused by Racherla Rudra a loyal General of Kakatiya Ganapati Deva (1213 A.D). Ramappa, whose name became famous and attributed to the lake as well as the temple by the locals, was a great planner of 17th century A.D. and devotee of the temple for consolidating the lake and the irrigation system of the Kakatiyan times.

The main temple facing east has a pyramidal sikhara of brick of four tiers (chatustala) externally cruciform on plan fronted by an antarala (vestibule) with a sukhanasi, roof extending in height upto the thrid bhumi and falling in line with the horizontal decor of the main sikhara. The elevated star-shaped jagati platform two metres high provides ample circumambulatory space around. A notable feature is that the sikhara above the awning is made up of feather-weight spongy bricks specially used here to reduce the weight of the superstructure. The door frames of the sanctum and ardhamandapa are very elaborate and intricately carved with creeper scrolls makara-torana on the lintel and patralata or creepers with inset figures of dancers, couples of geese etc. characterising the entrance door-sakhas.

The dvarapalakas and the idyllic scene of Krishna as muralidhara and the gopikavastrapaharana are splendid specimens of mirror-art over the black basalt.

The sabha mandapa had elongated projecting porches on the three sides approached by imposing balustraded steps. The mattavarana (sloping seat-back) all around carried dwarf pillars which hold the roof. These pillars are famous for their overhanging bracket figures fitted into the mortices. The tall slim and voluptuous nayikas the Nagini, Madanika or Rati, the gaja-vyalas here are master-piece creations of the Kakatiyas. The central natya-mandapa is supported by massive lathe-turned black basalt pillars whose carved facets depict dancing groups, puranic stories, hamsas, etc. The ceiling is octagonal, the intricate workmanship over the architrave in particular the synoptic panels depicting Natya Siva Gajantaka, Tripurantaka are noteworthy examples of lapidary work.

As suggested by G. Yazdani the spirit of the sculptured is plays volluptuous joy and sensuality. Even Ganesa with his protruding belly is represented dancing on the archtrave of the central apartment of the hall. These when compared with similar sculpture the contemporary temples of Central India or Orissa particularly Khajuraho and Bhubaneswar show restraint of the Kakatiya artist in depicting amorous poses with more refined charm.

A striking feature that marked the temple is the figure brackets springing from the shoulders (Virakantha) of the outer pillars which supported the ponderous Chajja slabs. Twelve of the consist of female figures while the rest are Vyalis standing on elephant heads carved with considerable skill almost true of life chiselled on highly polished black basalt with great precision and accuracy both in mana and pramana. The exuberance of youth with unfettered emotion particularly seen in a woman, a nude Nagini intoxicated with fearvour of youth "impetuous Joie-di-Vivre, convened through delightful swaying in the body line between the youthful bosom, the hip and the slender legs enhancing the grace of the Kakatiyan beauty.

The detached Nandimandapa merits special attention. The recumbant Bull here is a classic example of Kakatiyan art, life-like in appearance, and one can discern the veins under the skin of this stately animal. Other temple units within the compound include a Devi shrine at the north-west the temple of Yoga Narasimha at the south west and a triple shrine, characteristising the elaborate southern entrance of the main prakara. Several imposing examples of the triple shrines over the lake bund (closer to the Tourist house) and elsewhere in the fields of the village are look worthy and deserve to be preserved.

Monument No: 3

Monument Name: WARANGAL FORT, DEFENCES AND GATEWAYS

Location: Warangal

Brief History:
During the time of Ganapati Deva (1199-1261 A.D) and his daughter Rudramba (1261-1295 A.D) the capital was shifted from Hanumakonda to Warangal - Orugallu - the famous Ekasila Nagari. Warangal is characterised by three concentric circuits of fortifications believed to have been laid out during Ganapatideva's time. The circular fortification of the city is well recognised on the ground visually. The map and areal photographs confirm this pattern. As pointed out by George Michael, the symbolic meaning of this circular layout lies in its cosmic significance somewhat reflecting the universal character a Chakravartin Kshetra. The first that is the inner most is of massive granite stone blocks and 1.2 km, in dia. with gateways at the four cardinal points. The second one is 2.4 km. in dia. is an earthern one, the third and the outer most remains somewhat irregular circle 12.5 km. in dia. encompasses the whole modern town of Warangal. The inner stone fortification with 45 bastions enclosed an area of 1.3 square km. was caused by Rudramadevi while Pratapa Rudra-II (1289-1313 A.D) made improvements and embellished the city with palaces, gardens and fountains. In the heart of the fort are the ruins of many secular and religious edifices. By far the most imposing ones are remains of huge temple complex (Svayambhuva) which was indeed a Srivisala type. Four lofty hamsa-toranas (gate ways) stand erect at the four cardinal directions. These torana gateways, unlike the gopura dvaras of the medieval temples, are unique experiments recalling the lofty toranas of the sanchi stupa. The rangamandapa of the temple is seen by uprooted slabs, pillar brackets and gives a sorrowful look. The Svayambhu deva was the family God and Rudramadevi built the Ranga and agramandapas commemorating her great victory over the Yadavas of Devagiri. She proudly assumed the title "Raya (Daya) Gajakesari".

The other buildings closely include the Ramalingesvara and Venkatesvara temples. The Khush Mahal known as Shitab Khan Mahal and named after Sitapati, a Hindu chief who was a Governor for some time under Bahamani rule has been raised over the ruins of the Kakatiya palace.

The Kakatiya period is one among the brightest periods of Andhra History and Culture, Art and Telugu literature flourished. Tikkana Somayaji who lived in this period authored the last 15 cantos of Andhra Mahabharata besides, Nirvachanottara Ramayana Prataparudra-II's Court poet Vidyanatha wrote an Alamkara Sastra called Prataparudra Vasobhushanam. Noteworthy poets like Srinatha of Kridabhiramam fame and Potana flourished during this age. Palkurki Somanatha;s works like Panditaradhya Charita and Basavapuranam are classics propounding Vira Saivism. Sakalya Malla wrote Udatta Raghavam and Niroshthya Ramayanam, while Jaya Senapati Commander of Ganapatideva wrote Nritta Ratnavali.

Another structure is Shitab Khan Palace. Amongst the sculptures lying in the ruins of the Svyambhudeva temple complex are the pillar brackets on which there are representations of the gajakesari motifs. A lady with the headdress of a warrior as well as a queen holding a dagger and shield seated on a lion, which is seen standing on the trunk of an elephant, is shown fighting. She has been idnetified with Rudramadevi who was a most courageous and valiant queen of the Kakatiya dynasty.

SHITAB KHAN PALACE, FORT WARANGAL:
This Mahal (Palace) is a rectangular building, which measures 16x38x12m. It is said to have been constructed by Shitab Khan, using a few building members of some Hindu temples are seen in this Mahal. The façade of the incomplete building has an arched entrance in the Indo-Saracenic style. The hall has an arched ceiling inside, joining a number of arches together to form the interior.

The last political phase of the history of Warangal is referred to in the lengthy fort inscription of Shitab Khan dated 1504 AD., at the southern Torana. It is stated here that he belonged to the Bhogi Kula, probably a warrior caste in Telingana and that his Hindu name was 'Sitapathi'.

His earlier career may have started in the service of the Bahamani subordinates. Further it is recorded that he had occupied a number of formidable forts like Rajadri, and others. When Qutub-Ul-Mulk, the Governor of Telingana from 1498 AD., third to restore effective control over such forts as Warangal, Rachakonda and Devarakonda, Shitab Khan to set up his standard of independence over the ramparts of Warangal fort sometime before 1504 AD. He further proclaimed that he had occupied the great city of Warangal only to restore the Hindu Dharma. During his brief occupation of Warangal, Shitab Khan reinstated the images of the temple of Panchalaraya, Adisakti and Svayambhudeva. During his last struggle Shitab Khan appealed to the Gajapathi king Prataparudradeva for help to save his principality. In 1518 AD., Sri Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagar invaded the Gajapathy kingdom, in the course of which he advanced towards Simhadri (Simhachalam). Krishna Deva Raya had to face the fiery arches of Shitab Khan. This proved to be Shitab Khan's last battle in which he was vanquished by the Vijayanagar forces.