Warangal: Whispers From The Past
Warangal, one of the best heritage cities of India is located at a distance of about 145 km from Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana (an Indian state). It was called Orugallu (One Stone) in the olden times. It is believed that the entire city had been carved out of a single rock. In fact the three urban cities, namely Kazipet, Hanamkonda and Warangal are together known as Warangal tri city. Hanamkonda was the first Kakatiya capital, though it was soon replaced by Warangal. The city used to be the capital of the mighty Kakatiya rulers between 12th & 14th centuries. It is interesting to note here that the great traveller Marco Polo wrote about Warangal & its famous rulers, the Kakatiyas in his travel diaries. The Kakatiya dynasty represented an overall growth, prosperity and development in the fields of architecture, art, dance, literature and agriculture. The architectural masterpieces left by the Kakatiyas include temples, forts, stone gateways and lakes. This region is also known for its handicrafts like Pembarthi metalwork and Cheriyal paintings.
Thousand Pillar Temple
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Thousand Pillar Temple is an ancient Hindu temple located in Hanamkonda. It is also known as Rudreshwara Swamy Temple, named after Kakatiya King, Rudra Dev. This temple was constructed by His Highness in 1163 A.D. This beautiful structure houses three major shrines in it and are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Surya and Lord Vishnu. The three shrines together is called Trikootalayam. This temple is supposedly one of the finest examples of Kakatiya architecture & art. It depicts the Chalukya style of architecture. It is believed that the foundation of this structure has been fortified using the sandbox technique. In other words, sand is filled in a deep pit and then covered with rock beams. It is said that columns were built on those rock beams to construct the structure. This temple has a Natya Mandapam/dance floor at the centre. It is a star shaped structure and stands out for its amazing architecture. No wonder it took 72 years to create this architectural masterpiece. It is supported by thousand beautifully carved pillars. These pillars are placed so close to each other that it almost looks like the wall of the temple. There are rock cut elephants, beautifully & intricately carved pillars and exquisite icons.
The temple is open on all days of the week from 6 am to 8 pm. It is at a distance of 1.5 kilometres from Hanamkonda bus stop. The nearest railway station is Warangal Railway Station while the nearest airport is Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad.
At the entrance of the shrine of Lord Shiva, there is a huge monolith Nandi (the sacred bull of Lord Shiva) made up of black basalt stone.
This is a historical fort located in Warangal district spread over 19 kilometers between Warangal and Hanamkonda. It used to be a big construction with three strongholds and surrounded by a moat. The remains belong to the 11th century when it used to be the capital of the Kakatiya dynasty. It has four ornamental gates called Kakatiya Kala Thoranam. It was initially entrance to a great Shiva temple which is in ruins at present.
Kakatiya Kala Thoranam
This temple also known as Ramalingeswara temple dates back to the 11th century and is named after its chief sculptor, Ramappa. It is perhaps the only temple in the country to be named after its sculptor. The presiding deity here is Lord Shiva or in other words, Lord Ramalingeswara is worshipped here. It is situated in a village called Palampet on the banks of Ramappa lake and is around 77 kilometers from Warangal.
The main structure is called Rudrashewara temple, named after King Rudra Deva. This temple stands on a star shaped platform which is six feet in height. In fact it is known as the brightest star in the galaxy of Deccan temples. The main temple structure is made up of red sandstone while its beautifully and intricately carved pillars are made up of black basalt. It is said that the bricks used in building this temple can float on water. It has a nine feet long statue of Nandi at the entrance of the temple. The carvings on the walls of the temple depict mythological stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. This temple is open on all days of the week from 6 am to 6 pm.
Intricate carvings of dancing figures
Beautifully carved ceiling
This rectangular Mahal/Palace was built in the 16th century during the rule of Tuglaq dynasty and lies within the premises of Warangal Fort. This structure is said to be built by Shitab Khan, a Telugu chieftain. The actual reason for constructing this Mahal is still unknown, yet it is believed by some that this was built to be used as an audience hall.
It is said that Prince Ulugh Khan of Tughlaq dynasty after annexing Warangal from Kakatiya rulers, started demolishing Kakatiya architectures and building new ones. This was the time when Kush Mahal was built. It is open on all days of the week from 10 am to 7 pm.
This lake was built in the 13th century A.D. by the rulers of the Kakatiya dynasty. It is located in Govindraopet village in Warangal district, about 70 kilometers from Warangal. This is a very popular tourist spot. There is a mini island in the midst of the lake. This lake provides irrigation to the nearby areas. It has a beautiful hanging bridge. This place is beautiful, nestled amidst hills. Boating, camping and fishing are the major attractions of this place.
This is a very old temple, built around 625 A.D. by the King, Pulakeshin II of Chalukya dynasty. It is located on a hilltop and lies between two cities, namely Hanamkonda and Warangal. A lake was also built next to the temple. The presiding deity here is Goddess Bhadrakali. This temple is open on all days of the week from 5.30 am to 1 pm and then from 3 pm to 8 pm.
This is a man made lake located in the Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary in Warangal district. It was built by the Kakatiya King Ganapathi Dev in 1213 A.D. This lake is surrounded by forests and spread over 30 square kilometers. It is about 54 kilometers from Warangal city and well connected by road.
There’s plenty to experience here right from hillocks, lakes, hanging bridges, boating, camping to visiting forts & ancient temples while walking through grand stone gateways of the Kakatiya era soaked in rich heritage and grandeur where each brick has a story to tell. Some memories must be treasured forever. The nearest airport to reach Warangal is Rajiv Gandhi International airport, Hyderabad. Warangal is also well connected by road and train from major cities like Hyderabad. In case you wish to stay in the city for a few days, online bookings are available. So, until we meet again, stay safe and healthy. See you soon.