Jun 17, 2017

Warangal Fort - eastern gateways

March 17, 2017
It was exactly 9 AM when we reached the eastern gateway of Warangal fort, one of the largest forts of Telangana state. The fort's gateway has a curved path through it. The walls are high, approximately 30' tall and backed by massive earthen mounds.

The gateway. like any other fort has is an arched gateway. This is the inside view.  The gateway, being a checkpost has large open halls annexed to it. Those will be used as offices for security guards and also to store arms for emergency use. The arch seen here seems to be built by Muslim rulers.

Warangal was the capital city of Kakatiya kingdom which existed between 1163–1323. Orugallu was the original name of Warangal. It is said that Warangal fort was originally a brick-walled structure was replaced with a stone structure by Ganapatideva who died in 1262. Then Rudrama Devi (Ganapatideva's daughter) ruled from 1262 to 1289 followed by her grandson Prataparudra II. Warangal fort saw many enhancements when Kalatiyan dynasty was in power. The second and third rings were built around the original fort. Kakatiyas were conquered by the Sultans of Delhi and Warangal fort was conquerd by the Muslim army. Only the two inner rings have survived till date..

The fort's outer ring is approximately 2.4 kilometers in diameter while the inner ring is 1.2 kilometers. The inner wall and outer walls were protected by moats; even to this day the moat pits can be seen filled with water however, the pits have collapsed in most places. The fort has four gateways, one in each cardinal direction. It seems the eastern and western gateways were the important ones. There's one straight road running between the western gateway and eastern gateway with two inner gateways between them.

Here we are looking at the inner western gateway, fairly well preserved. The walls here have three sections- lower, middle and upper. The lower and middle are built during Kakatiyan rule, while the merlons are built by Muslim rulers.. using debris from demolished Hindu temples.

 View of the entrance from the curtain wall. Flanking the entrance are sculptures of lions, hence I would call this entrance as Simha Dwaram.

 The snarling lion of Kakatiyas.. its ready to turn around and pounce.

Somehow these lions have survived the onslaught of Muslim armies and forces of nature. We did not get to check out the other three entrances but I feel those entrances too might have a pair of lions.

A close look at the wall over the door frame. Notice sections of black stone sculptures embedded into the wall are pieces from demolished temples.

Even the merlons have been 'decorated' with stone meshes. How mean were the Muslim rulers.. the community somehow cannot tolerate any other religion or culture.

View from the curtain wall.. on the left is the bastion adjoining the entrance and on the right is the curtain wall. The curtain wall has a shoulder along its length.

Guards can watch over the entrance or shoot from the gaps between the merlons.

The inside view of the entrance. Behind me is a 90 degree turn and another doorway which in turn links to a courtyard.

This is the rectangular courtyard which is with two doorways. This complex security system is designed to confuse and trap enemy forces trying to enter the fort. Once trapped in this courtyard, the enemy forces can be forced to surrender or disseminate easily.

This is one of the gateways seemingly in its original form. We happened to see these similarly dressed siblings.. walking rather slowly.. they must be going to or coming from morning tuition classes. This road leads to the center of the fort where you can see the massive Kakatiya Torana, Kush Mahal and Ekasila Gutta. It is possible that the monolith in this fort must be the origin of the name Warangal. Monolith in Telugu is Ekasila which is also known as Orugallu or one-stone; with time Orugallu changed to Warangal.

This is the gateway in the northern direction. This also has a complex security system. Towards the right of this gateway, is a rectangular bastion built into the rampart walls. It is said that King Prtaparudra II, according to the terms with Delhi Sultans, was supposed to stand on the bastion and bow towards Delhi once a day.

Closer look at the doorway and a narrow entrance on its side. Here the merlons are rounded, these seem like the original construction from Kakatiyan times.

This is probably the bastion on which Prataparudra was to stand and bow towards Delhi. Nevertheless Prataparudra was a brave king, he tried to break away from the Muslim rulers three times before taking his own life.

Right in the center of the fort are the famous arches of Kakatiyas.  Its a big enclosure, kind of an open-air museum of Kaktiyan stone sculptures. We spent couple oh hours looking at the amazing art works.

Kakatiyans were megalomaniacs.. you can see that in their arches and Ramappa temple. We will come to them in detail in the following posts.