The Kakatiya Kala Thoranam of Warangal - awaiting to be on UNESCO's permanent WHS list

Kakatiya Kala Thoranam, Warangal

Kakatiya Kala Thoranam, Warangal,

The city of Warangal, Telangana  has many tourist spots around it and  during their heyday the great Kakatiya rulers  had built a strong fort to repel the invasion  and temples  for their spiritual needs. This part of Warangal is one of the heritage cities in India and it showcases the extraordinary skill and artistic talents of the artisans of the past era who had left behind  rich monuments that bear testimony to the opulence, power and rich heritage of the past rulers. With the ebb and flow of time  and  foreign invaders, many of the monuments  are in ruins and their remnants are all over the historical fort.  But they are  till  specks of diamonds strewn across the land.  No doubt, the ethos of this city's culture and  the legacy of mighty Kakatiya dynasty  are inseparable.

location Warangal city, Telangana ,

Warangal fort, nandi mantap, Shiva temple,

Above image: Nandi mantap, part of Shiva temple, destroyed by the invading army from the Delhi sultanate....

Ruined Warangal fort and temple.

The historical and artistic arch called  Kakatiya Kala Thoranam (also called Warangal Gate) is part of the Warangal fort that lies on the outskirts of the eastern part of the city.  Located in the Warangal district, of the new Indian state of Telangana (29th state) , it was one among the four gates that adorned the place   forming  entrance to the  destroyed great Shiva temple. It was Ganapati Deva, the nephew of Rudradeva shifted the capital from Hanumakonda  to Warangal sometime between 1252 and 1254 CE. 

 The architectural feature of these historical arches of the Warangal Fort was  adopted as the symbol of the Kakatiya Dynasty and was  officially incorporated as the Emblem  for the state of Telangana (with capital at Hyderabad)  along with 400 year old Charminar of Hyderabad. Also included in the emblem is Ashoka Chakra. 

ornamental Thoranam, Warangal fort.

ruins of Warangal fort, Telangana.

Built around 12th century during the reign  of the Kakatiya dynasty,  several years ago the UNESCO included he ornamental thoranam on its tentative  list of World heritage site. The Monument was included in the "tentative list" of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Way back in 2010 in September a petition was made by  the  Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO to  get it on the permanent list. It is mentioned the   gates of Warangal have very much similar architectural features as those of the the Sanchi stupa, Bihar.

The great Swayambhusiva temple of Shiva in the fort built by Ganapati Deva (1199-1262) during the 12th century was revered by the rulers and all the four identical ornamental gates were part of the fort. The great big temple  is said to have been massive in size and its sculptural and artistic  splendor was comparable to  that of the Rudra Mahalaya Temple at Siddhpur in Gujarat.

To avoid being  vulnerable to enemy attacks, famous queen  Rudrama Devi and Pratap Rudra II of the Kakatiya Dynasty improved the fortification  with three concentric circles to retard the progress of  the intruders. The four ornamental gates (char kaman) forming the part of the Shiva temples were destroyed during the raid by  the Muslim invader Jauna Khan in 1323  who  had   desecrated many Hindu temples in that region as his rule never encouraged idolatry.   

The vestiges of the famous  Swayambhusiva temple, are in the middle part of the fort now  in the form of  free standing  "Entrance Portals" (Thorana Vaayal), or gates on the four sides, all being similar in design.  Each gate of the  10 meter - 33 ft high gate has twin pillars on either side with angled brackets over which lies the huge ornamental lintel/

What is so impressive about the gates that are devoid of religious symbols, is they are richly ornate with intricate carving of  "lotus buds, looped garlands, mythical animals, and birds with foliated tails". Historians say the Muslim invaders did not destroy them because of the absence of any religious figure or symbol.