Jun 10, 2017

Thousand Pillar ~ Rudreshwara Swamy Temple, Warangal

Thousand Pillar temple remained stuck to my mind ever since I heard my college time friend Ramesh's narration of his trip to Warangal. This was mid 1990s when we has just started off with our working lives. Ramesh had taken up a job in Hyderabad. One weekend he and a friend rode a scooter all the way from Hyderabad to Warangal and back, that's about 300 kms. At the end of his story he mentioned he never ever do a two wheeler trip again!

After moving to Hyderabad, I seldom went on trips. One was my work time and the other was city traffic. Anyway, I slowly learnt to handle crowd and traffic and it was time I got back to historic trips. We planned a two-day trip to Warangal and also stop by at Kolanpak on the way. We also had plans of visiting a lake resort if time permitted. Finally the day arrived.

March 17, 2017
We left early morning while the traffic was easy. It was almost an effortless drive to Uppal and then towards ORR. Then it was open highway.. by 6-45 we were next to Bhuvanagiri, we had covered around 70 kms. With 80+ kms to go, I calculated that we should be reaching Warangal by 8-00. Well, about 10 kms from Bhuvanagiri, the 6-lane road suddenly shrunk to a 2-lane road. Our speed dropped drastically, we were averaging about 55 kmph. We stopped at Raghunathapalli for breakfast, a 30 minute stop. Soon we reached Hanamakonda and we took a diversion to Warangal. The first item on our list was Warangal fort. We went around the fort until noon before heading back to the city.. to
the Thousand Pillar temple. I was expecting to see a temple with rows of pillars.

So, finally I stood looking at the temple. This is the view from north-east.

 A small board at the entrance read as below-
The temple according to an inscription on the pillar here, was constructed by Rudra-I of the Kakatiya Dynasty in 1163 AD. This temple measures over 31x25M and stands on a platform raised to a height of 1m from the ground. It consists of three shrines of Siva, Vishnu and Surya arranged around a central hall with a Ranga Mandapa. In the fore front there is a large pillared Mandapa in variety of patterns. Between the temple and the Mandapa is a plain pavilion for a massive Nandi.

The elegant carvings at the richly decorated pillars under a spacious roof spanning the embellished side slabs is an achievement of unparalleled excellence of the architect. Other units have included a rectangular stepped Pushkarni, a Thorana entrance in the east and a pillared Mandapa correspondingly at the western wing of the ruined Prakara.

The midday heat was blistering; being barefoot, the sandy ground was burning our feet. We rushed towards a patch of grass and shade.. the temple as seen from the west. I was trying to imagine how a temple of this could have 1000 pillars..

Looking at the temple front portion.. a elephant and bull guarded the entrance. So this is a south-facing temple.. generally temple are east-facing.

Well, the temple is beautiful. It has signs of Chaulkyan architecture. But where are the thousand pillars?
A handsome tusker. The tusks are broken. It is said the temple was desecrated by the Tughlaq army during their occupation of the Deccan.

A board proclaimed that photography wasn't allowed inside the temple. Rituals are performed daily and a group of people were waiting inside. I got over my curiosity about the pillars and asked why this temple was called thousand pillars. The clerk replied "this temple has 400 pillars and the mandapa opposite has 600 pillars which sums to 1000." I understood the pillars were part of the temple walls.. that's why they do not obstruct the view of any of the deities. I thanked the lady and stepped out.

This style of temple building was continued by the Hoysalas. Most of their temples are built on star-shaped platforms.

Lord Rudreshwara's mount- Nandi or Basavanna as known in Northern Karnataka. This Nandi is almost 6 feet tall.  As you see, he is richly decorated with plenty of jewelry. Fortunately the Nandi looks well preserved..

Almost intact, except the tail is broken.

This is the Mantapa which contains 600 pillars. Being under restoration, it was out of bounds for tourists. I had to be content in taking two pictures of the beautiful structure.

I'm guessing the restoration work could go on two years.

We decided to leave since we wanted to see Bhadrakali temple. Walking back to the parking lot was a punishment.

Two massive Lingas close to the temple. These are quite similar to the ones seen at Pattadakallu.

Well, our tour of 1000 pillar temple was a quick one.


teamgsquare said...

Nice post, yet to visit Warangal.

siddeshwar said...

Thank you, TGS.

Manjula Umesh said...

Good one again, as usual, I too was curious to see thousand pillars when read the title,it wld be feast to eyes visit the place.

siddeshwar said...

Thank you, Manjula. Good to have presence :)

manjeshkar said...

This is relay good blog ,u explained every thing with clear description and photos are to good ,this is helpful for the new visitor or traveler .
thanks for your hard work .