Ramappa Gudi temple is situated at 18° N, 79° E, and 612 feet above sea level in Palampet village of Venkatapur Mandal, Mulugu district, Telangana India. Ramappa Gudi is 237 km from Hyderabad and 70 kilometers from Warangal. Also, this is situated in a valley surrounded by 3 sides by cotton and rice fields, and mountains on the other side is a magnificent monument dating back to 1213 AD. The temple took nearly 40 years to be completed its construction.
Okay, so you might think why I am writing about this temple. What is so special about Ramappa Temple? Ramappa temple was originally named Rudreshwara temple. And it is built around 1213 AD during the reign of the Kakatiya dynasty and played an important role in protecting the capital of the Kakatiya Kingdom. It is believed that it is the only temple that has been named after the sculptor Ramappa.
This temple is an archaeological wonder and an important historical monument of the state. Even Historians and art enthusiasts regard this temple as the gem of Kakatiya architecture and a treasure house of medieval architecture. There are holy places and pillars surrounding the temple which speak the mythological stories from a bygone era. Interesting thing is that, if you strike these pillars with stone, one can hear musical sounds too!
Well, this temple can be seen from 6 kilometers also. The kingdom of Kakatiya Orugulla is now known as Warangal. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is a single shrine temple, amidst picturesque surroundings dotted with countless date palm trees. The Ramappa temple is surrounded by a stone compound wall and has two low entrances, one towards the East and the other one to the west. The main entrance gate facing east in the outer wall of the temple is now destroyed, so one can enter through the small west gate.
While entering the temple you will notice the Nandi Mandapa but in very bad condition as it is being destroyed. And in the front of the Nandi Mandapa stands the main temple which stands in the shape of a cross majestically with a 6’4’’ high star-shaped platform. However, the main entrance, like in any typical Hindu temple, faces east with balustrade steps and porched openings on three entrances on the east, south, and north with two 6 feet high female statues on either side of the 3 entrances total of 12 life-sized dancing girls, with different types of poses fixed at an angle on high brackets.
Furthermore, it is carved from black basalt, some of these figures are designed with decorative jewelry while others stay just simple. All of them are tall, ferocious, and noble, carrying swords, arrows, and bows, and are called Alasakanya, Madanika, Nagini, and Salabhangika. There are some red sandstone dancing figures on each side of the temple, and on the outer walls, there are carved figures of animals and war scenes in the same red sandstone. These carvings are of a very heterogeneous character and consist of gods, goddesses, warriors, acrobats, and musicians.
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Additionally, the temple consists of a shrine cell, garbhagriha, and antarala, or an antechamber (smaller room) and a hall of the audience called Ranga Mantapa. The Ranga Mantapa hall is 41 feet long and has a square apartment enclosed by four exquisitely carved pillars. Hence, the design of these pillars is built in such a way that one fine needle can go inside it. A platform about 3 feet high runs around the hall, and on it have been built eight small cells for the images of the lords. Let’s understand these facts in a very simple way.
- Firstly, the temple is earthquake-proof. Meanwhile, the temple is made out of clay mixed with acacia wood, chaff, and myrobalan fruit (a family of Amla), the bricks used in building the gopuram of the temple are light enough to float on water. And using this technique has made the temple light, which means, in case of a natural earthquake, the probability of it collapsing would be very low.
- Also, the temple construction was done using the sandbox technique, this is a technique where the foundation pit is filled with a mixture of jaggery, sand-lime, and black myrobalan fruit. This mixture acts as a cushion in case of a natural disaster like an earthquake.
- A second interesting fact is a temple also has gorgeous craftsmanship on black basalt rocks, basalt is one of the hardest rocks to work with. This basalt-carved artwork features brackets on the red sandstone columns which are all finely polished carvings of mythical animals and female dancers. These female dancers later become an inspiration for the famous Telangana dance guru Nataraja Ramakrishna to revive the old-and-forgotten dance form Perini Sivatandavam.
- The third fact is, the temple’s carved pillars are positioned in such a way when the sunlight hits these pillars, they create a fantastic play of light illuminating the entire temple. One of the pillars has Lord Krishna carved into it. When gently hit, the pillar produces musical notes.
- At the Lastly, the temple is displaying amazing skill and architectural marvels of that time, one of the pillars has 13 finely carved holes, as it is as wide as a thread or a needle.
Moreover, the entrance has carvings of the oldest dance form, the Perini Dance and Krishna’s flute which looks like a tree trunk. If one hit it with the fingers nails make the sound Sa-re-ga-ma. Inside the temple, there is an incredible display of sculptures which are representing scenes from early myths, the Ramayana, the Puranas, and the later Hindu texts. There is one scene of Krishna in which he is surrounded by a group of girls (Gopis), whom God stole their clothes while they were bathing in a river, has been specially selected by the artist and is represented in every leading place, even on the jambs of the door of the ante-chamber. Also, there is the scene of lord Krishna while he is playing with his flute.
Apart from the main temple, there are other 3 more temples. One is towards the North is Kateswara Temple, South is Kameswara Temple, South-West is Niruthi or Narasimha Swami Temple or Sabhamantapa. On the western side, there is the Ramappa lake which is being built during the same period as the temple.
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