Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple near Warangal, Telengana - a new UNESCO Heritage Site!!

Rudreshwar temple, Hanamkonda, Telegana

That  the UNESCO has granted World Heritage status to Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple built in the 13th century  near Warangal  is a good news and every Indian has to be proud of this recognition. It has been long due for a decade or so. Now  this 800 year old was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 25, 2021. It in 2019, it was nominated for the world heritage tag and UNESCO granted the recognition at the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee  held in the recent past.

Located in Palampet, about 220 km  from Hyderabad, Telangana   Kakatiya Rudreshwara temple  was reported to have been constructed by   Racherla Senapati Rudrayya, a general of Kakatiya king Ganapatideva, in the 13th century. This temple is a symbol of India's expertise in the area of temple construction and architecture involving planning, design and execution, often mixing aesthetics. The 13th century was no exception and the workmanship of  stone sculptures and  images in this site is just amazing. As for the iconic Ramappa Temple, it is a true manifestation of  breath-taking  artistic work and craftsmanship of great Kakatiya dynasty. The minute and intricate  carvings on the walls, perforated screens, ceiling and pillars may defy the imagination of the visitors. 

1000 pillar mantap, Rudreshwar temple, Telengana.

View showing bracket figures of Ramappa temple © ASI

Rudreshwar temple, Telengana.

Commissioned by  Racharia Rudra in 1213 this temple was named after the sculptor Rammappa who worked on it for 40 long years. Indeed a grat gesture on the part of the Kakatiya general; this is according to the record of the temple. 

The temple is dedicated to Ramalingeswara Sawami (God Shiva) , though the official name is Rudreshwar.   A six feet high star-shaped platform  forms the base  within a walled complex.  The temple has  ornamental  beams ornate pillars of  granite and dolerite rocks. yet another catchy feature is its  pyramidal Vimana (horizontally stepped tower) made of lightweight porous bricks, so-called ‘floating bricks’. The advantage of this arrangement is  it distinctively reduces the weight of the over-lying structure, in this case roof,  according to the UNESCO website.  UNESCO committee is of the opinion that the artistic sculptures  in the temple  illustrate regional dance customs prevailing then  and  the nuances of Kakatiyan culture.

The temple stands on a six feet high star-shaped platform, within a walled complex. The temple contains decorated beams and pillars of carved granite and dolerite with a distinctive and pyramidal Vimana (horizontally stepped tower) made of lightweight porous bricks, so-called ‘floating bricks’, which reduced the weight of the roof structures, according to the UNESCO website.  The international body also said the temple’s sculptures of high artistic quality illustrate regional dance customs and Kakatiyan culture.

Often referred to as a one thousand pillar temple, it is located in Hanamkonda village (6 km from Warangal Railway station).  The temple has three deities Shiva, Vishnu and Surya, however Shiva is the main deity here. . This unique temple has a wide assortment of  stone inscriptions  and there sculpture of God Shiva and Nandi (bull), God Vishnu  and Surya Deva (Sun). Here the big Nandi is monolithic carved out of dolorite rock fine to medium grained intrusive igneous rock) There are numerous lingams in this temple as one finds in many Shiva temples of Tamil Nadu and elsewhere. The idols of Sri Vishnu and Surya Deva are missing as this temple was  desecrated by the Tughlaq dynasty during their invasion of the Deccan. 

I understand the ASI is making efforts to save this temple as the Kalyana mantap (hall) is already in ruins) The temple was revovated in 2004 and since then no renovation has been done. This temple need to to be preserved for the posterity. 

It is said more than 1000 devotees visit this old temple daily. Of course,  now there are restriction on the  visit to the temple due to COVID -19.