Monday, December 31, 2007

Warangal Tour

I started off with Parents, Wife Tripura and daughter Meenakshi and by the time we left the Hyderabad City outskirts for Warangal, it was around 11 AM on 29th December 2007.
Warangal is one of the oldest cities of India.
It used to be called as "Orugallu".
The Kakatiya Dynasty ruled Andhra Pradesh for many centuries under various able kings until the Qutub Shahi Dynasty brought it down - with Vengeance.

The Hindu Vijayanagar Empire (in the neibhouring state of Karnataka) was brought down by 5 Muslim kingdoms and the cities were flattened down including huge temples and palaces. The destruction of the city of Hampi (world heritage site) is a glaring example.

Similarly, Kakatiya Kingdom faced its destruction by the marauding muslim armies who destructed every thing on their way.
We can see the destruction at various Hindu temples in and near Warangal.

Intricate Carvings at Ramappa Temple:

A General of the Kind Ganapati Deva, Racherla Rudra got this temple built in 1213AD.
The Architect of this temple, Ramappa, was specially invited from Karnataka.
That's one reason why we can see similarities of the carvings here with those at Belur and Halebid in Karnataka.
Ramappa Temple is around 60 KM from Warangal on the Mulug Highway and a diversion at Palampet.
While most of the temples are known from the kings who got them built, this temple is named after it's Architect.

Kakatiya Kings were great devouts of Lord Shiva. Shaivism was the official religion at that time.
But, they ensured religious harmony, which can be seen at Ramappa Temple.
This temple has Lord Shiva as the main idol and we can see smaller idols of other Hindu and Jain Gods and Goddess on the other parts of the temple.
Shaivism was at its peak at this time in both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

It is beyond words mentioning the carvings. Some of the most astounding ones are:
* One lady sculpted wearing high heels sandles. If you keenly observe, there is a gap between her foot and the sandle when she raises her foot 45 Degrees.
* Ladies sculpted wearing Mini and Micro Skirts.
* This temple is built using sand stone - very difficult stone to make any changes to. If there is a small error, the entire stone has to be thrown away.
* The top portion of the temple is built using bricks which are of so less weight, that they float in water. The reason for using the bricks is that, since the temple is built with sand stone, it cannot bear the weight of the heavy stones otherwise used throughout the temple.
* On one sculpture, they even carved the shade of stone garland on the stomach of the lady !!
* Most of the carvings, we can see even the nails carved in such a way that they look very natural.

By the time we reached Warangal, it was around 6PM and we directly went to the Bhadrakali Temple which is in the center of the city.

Bhadrakali Temple:

This temple is built in 8th Century AD.
Though the image of the deity is called the Bhadrakali, the goddess is said to have been transformed by the mantras into a very rare form called the Tripura Sundari, which includes the Kali form.
Tripura Sundari is regarded as the supreme manifestation of Prakriti - the feminine power which is the vital energy of the universe. Literal meaning of Tripura Sundari is 'The Beauty of the Three Worlds' or more precisely the three Cites or 'Pura'.

From the temple, we checked in at Hotel Ratna costing Rs.900 for each of the two double A/C Bedrooms we booked.

Pakhal Lake:

Got ready by 9AM, had breakfast at the Hotel Restaurant and started off to Pakhal Lake.

Pakhal Lake is located at around 45KM on the Warangal - Bhadrachalam Highway. Pakhal is around 12 KM from Narsampet, the nearest village with better facilities.

Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary is a man-made lake, completed in 1213 AD by the Kakatiyas. The sanctuary is spread over 860-sq-km consisting of a large plateau surrounded by low hills. The environment and the Pakhal Lake form the core area of the sanctuary. The vegetation consists of tropical dry deciduous mixed forests, bamboo and mixed teak forests.

Its natural scenic beauty and landscape is extremely beautiful and captivating, which makes this place worth visiting. This sanctuary consists of a large plateau surrounded with low hills. The Pakhal Lake and its environs form the core area. Altitude ranges from 280-300 ft.

The only problem we faced here is that the Government Tourist Building was blasted off by the left wing Naxalites and since then, the Tourism Department did nothing to develop this place.
Same time, the Forest Department is not encouraging the tourist department as the facilities would attract more people, thus endangering the sensitive bio-diversity at that place.

By the time we reached Warangal, it was around 1PM. We directly went to the Warangal Fort.

Warangal Fort:

This fort was built by the Kakatiya King, Prola Raja at around 1250AD and it was extended and improved during the time of King Ganapati Deva and his daughter, Queen Rudramamba (1289AD).

This Fort is still under use and lot of people live in this fort.
Marco Polo visited Warangal in 1293 AD and praised the administration of Queen Rudramamba.

The great Swayambhu Temple is marked by four huge gates - which are strangely, still existing even after the destruction by Muslim Rulers.

The destructor's left the Gates as they are but wiped out the Temple.
The Archaeological Survey of India took pains in reconstructing 10% of the original temple.

From Warangal Fort, we visited the 1000 Pillar Temple.

1000 Pillar Temple:

This temple was constructed under the reign of the Kakatiya King, Rudra-1 in 1163 AD.
The carvings at this temple resembled the Ramappa Temple.

The interesting fact is that exactly 1000 pillars are carved in this temple.
The Archaeological Survey of India is reconstructing part of the Temple.

From the 1000 Pillar Temple, we went directly to Hotel Ashoka, had our lunch and from there, went to our Hotel Ratna.

We started off to Hyderabad at 5PM and reached Home at 8PM.

While we remembered the intricate carvings, we were also at pain as most of the carvings were destructed.
These temple remind us that only when we are united, we can stand against any army.
India was united under the King Purushottam (Porus) and we could able to halt the victory march of marauding armies of Alexander.
Alexander is forced to retreat and his army was attacked throughout his journey through India (present areas of Multan and Baluchistan in Pakistan).

Since we were not united, the Muslim armies could able to hand us a defeat where they not only defeated the army but also attacked and looted our holy temples. At some places, they destructed the temples and using the same pillars, they constructed Mosques.

History is a lesson for us to stand United !!

Click Here For The Snaps Of The Tour

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Blogger raggy said...

nice increase traffic to your blog just submit your news,links at the change in one week.i would like to have you registered on my site

10:54 PM  
Blogger Sheetal said...

WOW!!I enjoyed a lot.Felt as if again I am visiting these places.

3:10 PM  

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