The group of temples and temple & Fort complex related structures in Warangal of Kakatiyan Empire, signify a distinct architectural pattern, style and technology of the period and representative of the distinct regional style, exhibiting local innovation in temple building. Keerthi Thoranas is another example of distinct style of Kakatiyas for the gateways to temple complexes, unique only to this region and testimony to highly evolved proportions of aesthetics in temple and town gateways in South India. The magnificent Thoranas demonstrate both a creative masterpiece, and a continuity and transformation through interchange of cultural values for many years of Indian and Asian Art History. The cultural and administrative distinction of the Kakatiyas was greatly referred in contemporary literature like Kridabhiramamu and also later by the famous traveller Marco Polo. Prominent among the rulers are Ganapathi Deva, Prathapa Rudra, and Rani (queen) Rudrama Devi. After the defeat of Pratapa Rudra, the Musunuri Nayaks united seventy two Nayak chieftains and captured Warangal from Delhi sultanate and ruled for fifty years.
Remnants of Swayambhu temple and Keerthi Thoranas, Warangal fort:
Warangal fort is 12-km from Hanumakonda, built by King Ganapathi in 13th century and completed by his daughter Rudrama Devi, in 1261 A.D., The fort has two walls, with the traces of the third. The fort has 45 towers and pillars spread over a radius of 19 km, and a temple of Mother Earth called ‘Swayambhudevi Alayam' in the middle.
Rudreswara Temple (Thousand pillars temple), Hanumakonda:
Rudreswara Temple locally known as Veyisthambala Gudi (Thousand pillars temple) is one of the fine and earliest available examples of Kakatiya art, architecture and sculpture. It was built by Rudra Deva, and named after him as ‘Sri Rudreswara Swamy temple with the presiding deity as Rudreswara, in 1163 AD in the style of later Chalukyan and early Kakatiyan Architecture, star shaped and triple shrined (Trikutalaya). The temple is a fine specimen of architecture and sculpture with One thousand pillars implying that the temple has many pillars. There are richly carved pillars, perforated screens, exquisite icons; rock cut elephants and the monolithic dolerite Nandi as components of the temple.
Rudreswara (Ramappa) temple, Palampet:
Rudreswara (Ramappa) temple is Situated 65 km from Warangal at Palampet. The Ramappa Temple probably is the only temple in India known by the name of the sculptor who built it. The head sculptor was Ramappa, after whom the temple is known today, rather than after the presiding deity, Ramalingeswara, as is the general norm. This temple has been rightfully described as the “brightest star in the galaxy of medieval temples of the Deccan” a repository of Kakatiyan creative genius, with intricate carvings adorning the walls, pillars and ceilings of this marvellous edifice. The temple is a Shivalaya and stands majestically on a 6 ft. high star shaped platform. The hall in front of the sanctum has numerous carved pillars that have been positioned to create an effect that combines light and space wonderfully and the exquisitely chiselled walls and ceiling are unique to the time of Kakatiyan sculptors and empire.
The sculptural work of dance postures in the temple appears like frozen record of dances of the region in stone and was of great inspiration for the famous work ‘Nritya Ratnavali’, by Jayapa Senani. The postures pertaining to Bharata Natya, Shrunga, Bharunga, Rathi, Perini Nritya etc., are engraved on the pillars and top-beams of ‘Mukha Mandapam’, The mythological episodes such as ‘Gopika Vastrapaharanam, Tripura samharm, Daksha Samharam, Ksheera Sagara Madhanam, Girija Kalyanam etc., stand for the highest standards of Kakatiya Sculpture. The ‘Nagini’ and other eleven devanarthakis are arranged as supporting beams on both sides of each entrance.
The aesthetic sense which scaled innumerable heights in Kakatiya sculpture is clearly evident in these twelve postures of devanarthakis. The desi (local) varieties of dances such as Perini, Prenkana, Sudda Nartana, Dandarasak, Sivapriya, Chindu and Kolata are some dance forms in the sculptural art of the temple. The famous treatise of dance ‘Nritya Ratnavali’ of Kakatiya period is said to have been inspired by the construction and art work on Ramappa temple. Kakatiyan architecture has unique components that are not seen elsewhere. The strengthening of foundations through sand box technique, the skill of Kakatiya sculptors manifest in adroit craftsmanship and flawless ivory carving technique in their art, the ingenuity of Kakatiya sculptors visible in likes of lathe turned, and shiny polish in dolerite and granite stone sculpture and craft work of Nava rangamandapa are some such aspects.
The Ramappa temple is a best example of the love for art, music and dance as patronized by Kakatiyas. The temple is situated in a valley and is built with bricks so light that they can float on water, established after scientific research conducted indicating the creative master pieces of the time. The temple withstood many wars, invasions and natural calamities. Use, selection and making of materials, traditions and construction techniques followed in thousand pillars temple, Ramappa temple and Swayambhu temple have established scientific research base proving the creative master pieces during Kakatiyan era.
The Ghanpur group of temples are located in Ghanpur mandal, around 62 km away from Warangal. It is locally known as "Kota Gullu" It is believed that Ghanpur got its name from the illustrious King Ganapatideva who ruled between 1199 AD - 1260 AD. Exposed to the vagaries of nature and continuous battles, the temple complex is in a dilapidated condition but speaks volumes of the architectural proficiency of the Kakatiyas. The temples are now being renovated by the Dept, of Archaeology. The Ghanpur group of temples, comprising 22 temples constructed within a double walled stone enclosure contains a veritable museum of Kakatiya art and architecture. Among the group of temples, the main temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the most attractive.
Ramappa Temple- UNESCO World Heritage Tag
Telangana has no dearth of heritage sites, thanks to the architectural brilliance of the many dynasties that ruled the state for centuries. While Golconda, Charminar and the Qutub Shahi tombs have been major tourist attractions for the past several decades, what makes this little known temple in a sleepy town in Warangal qualify as a World Heritage site? Though the temple was built 800 years ago, the technology employed then made the temple stands tall, enduring the tyranny of ages. Such a magnificent World famous monument truly deserves to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Thanks to the efforts of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao as well as the Kakatiya Heritage Trust (KHT), Warangal, Ramappa temple stands to make an entry into the world map. If everything goes as expected, the architectural marvel of the great Kakatiyas, Ramappa temple may get the ‘World Heritage Site’ tag as the Government of India (Gol) nominated the temple as India’s only nomination for World Heritage Site selection process to be undertaken by the UNESCO this year. We expect the UNESCO teams to visit the temple in the coming months and ascertain its universal values that can put the Ramappa temple under the World Heritage sites
Conservation of Heritage through Photography
Telangana Photography Akademi, a non-profit making Photography Organisation established initially with the Governments’ initiative in the year 1973, is working continuously for the promotion of Art, Science & Technology of Photography by organising various photography events across the State. This year we have cautiously chosen Warangal as the venue and organised a National Photography Convention - 2019 at Warangal with the main aim of bringing the marvellous heritage of Kakatiya Dynasty on to the World through wonderful pictorial representation. Around 100 senior Travel, Documentary, Pictorial photographers and Bloggers who attended the convention made great images of this marvellous Kakatiya Heritage, Traditional Dance forms etc., from their different perspectives, which we are presenting here today. We plan to take this exhibition to the major cities of India and the World through our strong Camera Clubs’ Network. We thank Telangana Tourism, Dept, of Language & Culture, Archaeological Society of India, Hyderabad Division, Kakatiya Heritage Trust, Warangal Urban District Administration, All our affiliated camera clubs, Sponsors, Haritha Kakatiya Hotel, Executive Committee members of the Akademi and all other volunteers and especially all the delegates who helped us in making this event a grand success. We also thank the Director and Staff members of the State Art Gallery for providing the venue for the Exhibition.