Historical warangal Fort, Telengana where Kohinoor diamond was pludered! by the Delhi Sultanayte

Warangal Fort, Warangal Goibibo
Warangal. Tlengana. View of Kakatiya Kala Toranamen.wikipedia.org
 Warangal Fort, in Warangal district of the newly carved state Telangana in India  is believed  to have existed since the time of the Kakatiya dynasty - atleast  12th century. Warangal was then the capital of this famous dynasty in this part of Telugu country. What remains of the Warangal Fort are chiefly ruins, that include ornamented stone carved gateways, shrines and tablets, etc and it was the silent spectator of the rise and fall of various ruling clans. None owned it for a pretty long time.

The impressive features of this historic fort are the beautifully ornamented gates, commonly known as Kakatiya Kala Thoranam, that originally formed the entrances to a now ruined great Shiva temple. The gates speak volumes of the workmanship of the talented sculptors.  The new state of Telengana has officially adopted and incorporated it into the Emblem of Telangana after the state bifurcation in the recent past.
Delhi sultanate destruction.Temple Warangal fort, Telangana,
The history of Warangal fort has a hoary past. In the 8th century Yadhava rulers ruled Warangal and other adjacent areas. It was in the 12th century the Kakatia dynasty took control of this place. As to the origin of the fort, no precise  information is available and the historians agree that the fort underwent some structural changes under the Kakatiyas. The brick wall was replaced with hard stones to give better strength to the fort against enemy attacks.  Ganapatideva, who died in 1262, strengthened the fort. As he had no male heir, he was succeeded by his daughter  Rudrama Devi, who ruled it effectively  until 1289. Then her grandson Prataparudra II, ruled the kingdom with skill and won the heart of his subjects. His era was tagged  as a "Golden Age". Considering the vantage location of the fort Ganapatideva, Rudramadevi, and Prataparudra II spent money and time to make the fort formidable by way of building strong gate ways, bastions  increasing the height of fort, besides adding additional circular earthen wall. Towards the end of the Kakatiya period efforts were made to make the fort difficult to access. The fortifications consisted of a strong outer hardened mud structure with a deep ditch in front that had to be filled with dirt before the army could surmount it. The inner fortress was built of stone and surrounded by a moat 

Warangal Fort, inner part. Crazy Holidays
 Time and tide kept changing so were the dynasties. About 20 years later, the kingdom fell into the hands of the Delhi Sultanate. In 1309, the unexpected raid by Malik Kafur, the eunuch and the military general of Alauddin Khalji,  with a large force of 100,000 men, consisting of savage killers and mercenaries had a severe impact on Prataparudra II and his kingdom. People secured themselves within the formidable fort and within he safety of this fort the Kakatia ruler  managed the siege. When the siege continued for more than six months, Prataparudra gave in, having battled bravely for many months with the invading army. He agreed to a truce  and reparation of his  vast wealth with Kafur. You will be surprised to know that it was here in this part of Telengana the world famous diamond  Koh-i-Noor   changed hands and moved over to Delhi Sultanate. Apparently, it is believed, came from the Shiva temple. In the south it is believed any pilferage of Lord Shiva's property or anything from the temple premises will cause destrucion and haos. In Tamil, it is mentioned "Siva soththu, kula naasam". Presently it is in the British Crown that ison display in the British museum. The British queen rarely wore the crown with the diamond.  

This siege was chronicled by Amir Khusrow. After Kafur's departure   in March 1310, with a bounty of 2,000 camels loaded with Kakatiya treasures, it was agreed that  Pratapa Rudra would pay an annual tribute to  the Sultan of Delhi. After Kafur's departure, Pratapa Rudra  continued his reign, but some of his vassal chieftains had declared themselves independent rulers of their small kingdom. But in 1311 Pratapa Rudra  was compelled to  support the Sultan on his raid to the Pandyan kingdom in southern Tamil Nadu  where the Pandyan brothers were at each others' throat to capture the throne. Kaufer took advantage of this bad situation to his favour and looted the Pandya kingdom and also caused severe damage to the world famous Madurai Meenakshi temple. The sultan helped the Kakatia ruler get back his lost vassals under his control. The Pandyan kingdom lost quite a bit of expensive  treasures to the Delhi Sultanate army.

Later from  1318,  Pratapa Rudra  was on a collision course with the Delhi ruler and had to be subdued by the military power of the Delhi Sultanate. This time the Delhi forces accessed the fort by building a tall ramp (450 feet) and Pratapa Rudra had to cough up tribute by way of horses and elephants, etc., annually. 

When Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq became the ruler after Khailji, again the ruler of Warangal wilfully  defaulted on his annual payment to the Delhi sultans Tughluq, sent his son Ulugh Khan to recover the dues. Ulugh Khan could not proceed to attack the kingdom due to internal problems and then he came back in 1323 with a  well trained army of  65,000 mounted merciless soldiers carrying archery, attacked the fort, and plundered and destroyed the capital.  Prataparudra's force was no match for the Delhi sultanate forces, for they used powerful cannons, besides special catapults  to lop stone missiles at the fort. Ulugh Khan's army plundered and destroyed the capital. 

As it was their wont among some  of the repressive Muslim rulers.  General Ulugh Khan ordered destruction of the great Swayambhusiva Temple where the State deity had been deified. What was once a beautiful temple in a short time became of mound of rubbish and broken stones. It is in ruins now with  remnants scattered around the fort. Then the Tughluq rulers  built an enormous mosque to one side of the fort. Having become desolate, Pratab Rudra was upset and was sent  to Delhi. It is said that on the way near Godhavari he died. Some historians believe that he committed suicide after his debacle in the war. Warangal became Sultanpur and the Delhi rulers stuck to their rule here till 1335. The local Nayak rulers jointly attacked and took control.  The Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda and later under the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad adminitered the this region.

The fort has some amazing features and let us see them in the next post.  The chief attraction is the thousand pillar temple which is usually not accessible to the general public, and the smaller sculptures carved from an unidentified black stone. On 10 September 2010 ,the Monument was submitted by the Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO to recognise it as one of the world heritage sites. The Fort is already  included on  the "tentative list" of UNESCO World Heritage Site.


 The treacherous military general Ulugh Khan, having captured and plundered Warangal, then moved on  down south in the same year 1323. This time, his target was Srirangam Ranganathar temple and its vast treasures. 

According to 'Koyilozhugu,' a true  record of events relating to Srirangam temple, the main shrine - sanctum  was  well protected by  groups of  staunch devotees, each entrusted  with  the main  task of guarding the temple and its  sanctity. They came to know about the raid well in advance and were very particular about protecting the temple and the precious idols in the sanctum. In the ensuing  battle against the well-equipped armed ruthless butchers  from Delhi, the unarmed and defenceless people were no match.  Caught unawares, the devotees  could not do anything to stop them. In the aftermath, temple record points out that 12,000 Vaishnavites  (in Tamil - 'Pannerayiravar mudi tiruthiya pandriazhwan mettu kalagam') lost their precious lives in the process of saving the temple and the remaining people left the place and settled down in adjacent villages such as Tirupachil (now known as Pachoor), Govarthanakudi (now called Kovathakudi), Tiruvarangapatti  and  Azhagiya Manavalam.
Nithya (daily) puja protocol  meant for Lord Ranganatha Swamy was performed to Sri Adhinayaka Perumal idol in Gopurapatti till the normalcy was restored in Srirangam and the temple was consecrated by the pundits. Tradition has been that to mark annual rituals of homage, the 'Sirartham'(Thith) is being performed on Adi Amavasai every year on the banks of the Vaikkal. This was to pay homage to 12,000 vaishnavites who scarified their lives to save the idols in the Grabagraha (Sanctum or Sri Kovil).