The Ramappa temple is a superb example of their love for art, architecture, music and dance. The temple is situated in a valley and is built with bricks so light that they can float on water. Yet th temple is so strong that it is still intact after numerous wars, invasions and natural calamities. There was a major earthquake during the 17th century which shook the Ramappa temple and the other nearby temples. In the Ramappa temple many of the smaller structures were neglected and are in ruins. There were even instances of people carrying away the bricks, to be proudly exhibited that they can float on water, before the Archeological Survey of India(ASI) took charge of it. The main entrance gate in the outer wall of the temple is ruined, so one can enter only through a small west gate.
After a couple of hour's journey on the desolate highway, a long dusty road leads to Palampeta. Amidst the wilderness, the lawn and the pathway come as a great relief. Then one passes through a low stone-slabbed archway, suddenly facing the awe inspiring, serene, fading beautiful monument. Seeing the weathered beauty is an experience by itself.
Marco Polo described the temple as "the brightest star in the galaxy of medieval temples". The Kakatiya kings took Vira Saivam which means militant faith in Shiva and built many richly carved temples of Shiva at Warangal, Hanumakonda, Pillalamarri, Palampeta, Nagupad and Kolanupaka. During their rule of three- and-a-half centuries, the times of Prola Ganapathy and Rudrama are the most prolific in terms of cultural contribution. The medieval art and architecture is represented by temples remarkable for richness and finish of appearance.
Like its other medieval counterparts at Konark and Halebid, the Ramappa temple stands on a raised platform, which is wide enough to perform Pradakshina, for which there is no provision in the temple.
The main entrance, like in any typical Hindu temple, faces east. The temple consists of a shrine cell, garbhagriha and antarala or an ante chamber and a hall of audience called sabhamantapa, with porched openings on three entrances on the east, south and north, with two six feet high female figures on either side of the three entrances with different voluptuous poses fixed at an angle on high brackets.
Carved from highly polished black granite, some of these figures are ornate with decorative jewellery while others are simple. All of them are tall, ferocious and noble, carrying swords, arrows and bows, and are called Madanika, Nagini, Alasakanya and Salabhangika. There are red sandstone dancing figures on all sides of the temple. On the outer-walls there are carved figures of animals and war scenes in the same red sandstone.
The sabhamantapa, also called rangamantapa, is small but saturated with fine sculpture. Facing the eastern entrance is a large seated Nandi with elaborately carved ornate jewellery, bells and a back-cloth, with lively face and watchful eyes. At sun rise, the sun rays fall on its head and reflect on the linga for a few minutes. The mantapa dome is supported by four heavily carved black granite monolithic pillars.
One face of the front pillar on the left is left bare without any carvings and is highly polished to enable the emperor to watch reflections of anyone approaching from behind, while attending the temple rituals! The decorative design on these pillars is so meticulous that only a fine needle can go through the lattice work. One wonders at the fine workmanship of the artisans with the meagre available resources.
The most important part of the garbhagriha is the highly ornamental and decorative door panels. There are several rows of circles with small figures of dancing women, with women musicians playing mridangam, which are done in great detail- each figure, its pose and position totally different from the other, depicting Perini, a dance form of Andhra. Perini is a dance of male warriors, both militant and spiritual, which was revived by studying these poses along with Jayapa's Nritta Ratnavali, a written version of the dance.
The garbhagriha holds a massive Shiva linga placed on a high base, slightly tilted to the right. Different themes from Ramayana and Mahabharata are frozen in hard basalt rock! There are also many panels on which themes from Shiva Purana are depicted with fine aesthetic sense.
On the northern side of the temple there is another temple- the Kateshwara shrine. Here also the temple stands on a raised platform with a flight of steps from the east leading to the temple. The structure is destroyed and is in poor condition. The basalt Nandi is disfigured and broken. Much of the brick super-structure is ravaged by man and time.
It can be made into a great tourist attraction on par with Mahabalipuram near Madras. The thousand pillar temple and the Mahankali Temple in Warangal along with Ramappa Temple can be developed as tourist spots by constructing more cottages and giving face lift to the Ramappa cheruvu (lake) which can be exploited to advantage with vision.
Thousand Pillar Temple
The famous thousand pillar temple, built in 1163 AD, by king Rudra Deva is an important monument situated near the Hanamkonda-Warangal highway. One thousand richly carved pillars and a magnificent black basalt Nandi are unique to this temple which is dediated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Surya.
This breathtakingly beautiful temple has been rightfully described as the "brightest star in the galaxy of mediaeval temples in the Deccan". Rich, intricate carvings adorn the walls, pillars and ceilings of this marvellous edifice. It is located about 64 km from Warangal, at Palampet.
This fort was built during the 13th century by the Kakatiya king Ganapati Deva and his daughter Rudramma. Some of the remains that stand tall here to this day, include four huge stone gateways and several exquisite pieces of sculpture.
Area : 54.98 sq km.
Altitude : 1,700 feet.
Temparature (deg C): Summer- Max 39.6, Min 23.2; Winter- Max 30, Min 13.5.
Rainfall : 82.5 cms ( June to September ).
Best Season : September to February.
HOW TO GET THERE
Laknavaram Lake, Pakhal Lake and Wildlife Sanctuary (60 km.), Ramappa Lake (65 km), Yadagirigutta (64 km), Yadagirigutta (72 km).
TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE / TOURIST CORPORATIONS
Regional Tourist Information Bureau,
Tourist Rest House, Kazipet (Warangal), Tel.6201.
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