Ramappa Temple, Warrangal
One October morning I stood in front of the Ramappa Temple, the serenity of quiet morning and the peaceful green stretch in front of the temple created a kind of feeling within me, a feeling which you can call ‘happily sacred’. I am neither religious nor rebel, but the positive vibration that I felt as I entered through the gate of the Ramappa Temple permeated through my senses and soothed my soul.
The very structure of the temple is remarkably South Indian and majestic. This area is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and from their notice board I came to know about its origin.
It was built in 1213 AD during the rule of the Kakatiya dynasty. Kakatiya King Ganapati Deva ordered his general Racherla Rudra and it was built by the sculptor Ramappa. Though this temple is known as Ramalingeswara Temple, a temple for worshipping Shiva, it is popularly known as Ramappa Temple, named after its sculptor. Is not it amazing? Specially in India? A temple being named not after the god, not after the king or his ministers but after the sculptor. This temple lured me and was included in my bucket list because of many such magical characteristics of this temple.
When we entered the temple the guard of the main temple, a dumb person, showed us a musical column and hit his figure at different points of it just to bring out different sounds. I have heard of musical pillars at a few temples in India, but this is the first time I witnessed one and remained spell-bound.
This column is artistically musical: If you stand facing toward the main door of the temple, on your left side there is a panel of gopinis standing under a tree and on the top of the tree Lord Krishna is standing with a flute in his hand. The stem of the tree is a hollow column and emits music, the music from Lord Krishna’s flute.
As we were engrossed into the intricate carvings at the walls and pillars of the temple, the priest arrived and then a guide. We entered inside the garbhagriha and saw the Shivalinga made of a black stone, offered prayers.
The guide informed us that though the temple is made of red sand stone, the bricks used in building the roof of this temple are light weight and float in water.
The floor of the temple is made of stone and it is symmetrically unlevelled due to an earth quake in the 17 th century. This is due to the ‘sand box’ technology used in its foundation.
Each pillar is decorated with carvings depicting the stories of Puranas, the Ramayana and other mythologies. But one side of a basalt made pillar is left blank with a slight dent to ward of evil eyes from this beautiful human creation. Incredible India!!
Nandi figure is a must in every Shiva temple. Here Nandi, the bull is a little different: Its left ear is turned to its lord for his order and its left leg is a little lifted as to show its readiness. This Nandi figure may be a symbol of the Kakatiya bravery and readiness.
Moreover, natural calamity has taken away the roof of his temple, but the black basalt idol if Nandi is intact for ages --- isn’t it magic?
The intricacy of the carvings is the next magical quality of this temple. The finesse of the carvings is so minute that a fine string can pass through these carvings made from only one stone.
It shows a variety of stories in its carvings from the story of Samudra Manthana to the erotic side of human life.
Magic No.7: the 7th Wonder
The main attraction, the final magic or the real wonder of this temple is of course the 12 Madanikas made of black granite who adorn this temple in brackets side by side the stony figures of Vallis. Most of the figures are intact and depict different emotions and activities.
I felt wretched at this point because my camera battery was weak after clicking at Salar Jung Museum, I managed the beauty of Laknavaram with my Samsung J7 but here I really missed my DSLR, this place is a heaven for photographers, for historians, for inquisitive and exploring souls.
Well, let me serve you with my meagre collection.
The lady with bow arrow in her hand got something pricked in her foot on her way to the forest and her attendant is busy in removing it—I wondered how smart the women in the 13th century was!
They were enough stylish to wear high heel, platform shoes even !! think almost 800 years back!!
Different facial expressions of them belied the phrase 'stony face'.
There are sub shrines on both the sides of this temple – Kameswara and Koteswara but now only the shrine of Koteswara remains.
The Outside of the temple has a set of three-storeyed stone-carved cases on the three sides of the temple. These are places for Navagraha: nine planets are worshipped by Hindus to overcome any ill-fate or obstacle.
Navagraha temple at the outer wall
The Navagrahas are found in every temple and are worshipped by the believers before they pray to other deity. But here the idols of these lords are missing.
Two almost ruined elephant figures adorn the main entrance of the temple and the whole temple is finely decorated with the series of carved elephants and each is different from the other in their design. They are carved around the inner and the outer wall of the temple and I think it is done to show that the elephants are protecting the temple symbolically.
The Perini dance panel, the Mahisha Mardini relief and much more are there to make a traveller awe-struck, jubilant and satisfied.
Perini dance panel
Kakatiya rulers were Hindu and worshipper of Shiva, but the chiselled-out figures of Jains and men from other religious faiths justify their liberal relationship with the outer world.
Female drum players
Actually, this temple showcased various aspects of the life of people during the reign of the Kakatiyas.
Ramappa temple tells the story of a wonderful India, presents the philosophy of Hinduism and spurs a traveller to explore something more through its enticing beauty and charm.
How to go
· Hyderabad to Warangal by train or bus, then to Hanumkonda-Hanumkonda to Palampet by a taxi.
· Telengana tourism also organises tours to this place.