The historical thousand pillars temple is located at Hanamkonda, Warangal District, Telangana State. The history of the ancient temple roots back to the time between 1162 – 1163 AD. The temple was constructed by the great Prataparudradeva I also known as Rudradeva. The deity worshipped in the temple is Rudreshwara Swamy, a personification of Lord Shiva.
The holy temple has a rich history and dates back to the Chalukyan era. Thousand Pillar Temple in Hanamkonda is one of the finest constructions of Kakatiya architecture and sculpture. The temple is an example depicting the typical Chalukyan style of architecture.
Although the temple was ruined and it was occupied by the invaders, the Garbhagudi itself has managed to survive the test of time. The pillars of the temple has a unique architectural style and are known for their detail, design, and resplendent polish. The temple structure is in the form of a star shape with three shrines devoted to Rudradeva (Siva), Vasudeva (Vishnu), and Surya (Sun). Lord Siva idol faces the east and other idols face the south and west respectively.
Nandi idol is located on the fourth side of the temple. In most Indian temples, Nandi is located on the west direction of Lord Shiva. But, in the thousand pillars temple, the Nandi is situated in the east direction. The main idols in the main sanctum are arranged in square shape fronted by an antarala leading to a common Natya mandapa.
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There is a huge monolithic Nandi made of black basalt open to the sky present between the temple and the portico entrance from the pavilion. We can find a hall of columns nearly 300 in a number called the Kalyana Mandapam behind the Nandi in the temple. Although there are 1000 pillars present in the building complex, no pillar hindrances a person standing at any point of the temple from viewing the deity in the other temple.
The architecture of the temple depicts the typical Chalukya style in every corner of the temple. With its architectural styles, the temple is considered as one of the finest of arts of the Kakatiyas. The major deity of the Kakatiyas is the Lord Rudra, the thunderer. Lord Rudra is carved on a square pillar. A long Sanskrit inscription “Mahamandaleshwara (‘l the great Lord “) was made by Rudradeva, son of Prolaraia, Jagatikesarin Kakatiya, son and successor of Tribhuvana Betmaraja of Warangal.
The temple also contains some other inscriptions mentioned in Telugu. The inscriptions commemorates the heroism of a Muhammadan general named Shitab Khan. An inscription was also mentioned praising Muhammadan general in Hindu language. The sculptural excellence of the temple is reminiscent of the rich culture the heritage of the Kakatiya Kingdom.
The intricate designs and carvings on the temple walls have always been able to draw people’s interest and made the common public visiting the temple from different parts of the country and the world. The holy temple essentially consists of stone columns and a roof with plan dimensions of 31 m X 25m. All the pillars are carved out of coarse-grained porphyritic granite and dolerite in those times.
The huge granite Nandi, is a splendid specimen made out of the monolith rock. The Nandi figure is of six feet in height and it presents itself in beautiful form with exquisitely chiseled ornaments and garlands.
The Thousand Pillar Temple carved elegantly on the slope of a hillock is one of the finest specimens. It showcases the rich architectural legacy and skill in stone sculpting of the Kakatiya Period. The structures that bring out the fine carving skills of these craftsmen are the rock-cut elephants on either side of the main shrine and the black basalt Nandi measuring about 6 ft in height. Their architectural mastery is evident from the richly carved pillars in the main temple.
The thousand pillar temple is one of the most important tourist attractions in the Warangal city with the many visitors from all the other tourist places coming all throughout the year. On average about 1500-1600 visitors visit the temple every day.