Jul 8, 2017

Ramlingeshwar ~ Ramappa temple

March 17, 2017
We were on our maiden tour of Warangal with plans of visiting Ramappa temple the following day. By 2 PM we had covered most of the main places in Warangal.. Warangal fort, Art collection, Ekasila Gutta, Thousand Pillar Temple and Bhadrakali temple. We brought Pulihara packets at Bhadrakali temple which would be our lunch accompanied by cucumbers we were carrying. Distance from Warangal to Ramappa temple being 70 odd kilometers, and we heard road was in good condition. So we decided to head towards Ramappa temple. We took a short break for lunch by roadside.. the Pulihara was little oily; wish we had carried spoons.

The road passes through a town called Mulugu. The terrain around Mulugu reminded of mining area. In fact, the road was flanked by strips of red colored dirt ..however, research showed no mines around here. On the way, we decided to camp overnight at Haritha Lodge at Ramappa Lake. The road indeed was good, we made good speed and reached Ramappa temple by 3-30 PM. There's a small settlement along the approach road to the temple.. small shops selling fancy items, snacks, soft-drinks and water.

The temple creates an imposing sight, we are looking at it's rear. Like most temples, this one is an east-facing temple. The temple is a protected monument hence a well maintained spacious garden. The temple has a wall around it, most parts of the wall seems original. The wall itself is double lined with dirt filled in between.. like a fort wall. I remember seeing such walls in temples built by Vijayanagar kings.

View from north-west. An inscription of this temple states it was built during the rule of Ganapati Deva in the year 1213 CE by Recherla Rudra, a general in Kakatiya army. It was built by a builder names Ramappa, hence the name and the time taken to complete it is said to be 40 years. The star-shaped platform is 6' high.. that should give you an idea of the temple size. The stone used here is similar to Chalukyan temples.. shades of pink to brown. The interesting fact here is the Shikhara is built of bricks. They are special bricks which float in water. I'd heard of the brick-making technique from an acquaintance.. it seems paddy husk was mixed in the mud which would burn off when the bricks were heat-treated in a kiln. So the bricks would have air pockets inside which makes them float in water. When you look at the temple, it creates a feeling that the Shikhara is light-weight, as though its sitting there delicately.

The northern entrance. Two damaged elephants greet visitors here. The lotus shaped base is 6' high and another 6' above is the temple floor level.. overall 12' above the ground level. There are two more entrances.. one each on eastern and southern sides. This temple is a Ekatachla meaning one sanctum. Ancinet builders have experimented with one, two or three doors. There must be scientific reasons for that.
For some time, lets divert our attention to the smaller temple besides the main temple. This is said to be the model before the main temple construction began. This is smaller in size and has one entrance only. Also, the base is not star-shaped but its almost rectangular. Probably the builders wanted to study other aspects of construction..

Front view of the trial temple.

The interior is quite simple. The central Mantapa is occupied by a black stone Nandi. Notice the mesh flanking the Garbhagudi entrance.

View from the trial temple entrance- a small mantapa with an inscription pillar and Nandi Mantapa bang opposite the main temple.

Like the temple, the Nandi Mantapa too built on a 6' platform with 12 corners.

A black granite Nandi sits peacefully on a pedestal. Check out its jewelry, amazing detailing isn't it. See the bell with chain links. One of the most beautifully decorated Nandi's I've seen.

Every aspect of the Nandi has taken care. Brilliant piece of work indeed.

Now lets see the main temple interior. As I climbed the temple stairs, the first thing that caught my attention was the floor. Can you see the slabs at odd angles. Surely this is not part of the temple design. I guessed it must have been caused by an earthquake. Research confirmed it.. an earthquake in 17th Century damaged the temple badly. It was restored recently, I believe. In fact, about 1,1 kilometers to the south, on the slop of a hill is another temple which has collapsed completely and in neglected state. The temple is view of Ramappa Cheruvu, a man made lake built during Kaktiya rule. Now back to Ramappa temple..

Looking towards the Garbhagudi. Rituals are performed here daily and a full time priest is present in the temple. The temple's roof is help up number of massive pillars. As you see the style is very much Chalukyan. The central Natya Mantapa has black granite columns, turned and mirror finished.

The South-North view. At least 8 floor slabs have dislodged from their original positions. Wonder if anyone ever witnessed the temple being damaged when the quake occurred. In spite of serious damages to the structure, the columns have survived well.

A close look at one of the central columns middle portion. Amazingly beautiful! These 800 year old columns are square at the base and remaining parts are octagonal or circular. Salute to the sculptors.

A collage of two columns (either sides) and a portion of the exterior wall (middle). Check out how complex the black stone columns are. It must have taken a year to make each of these pillars.

A look at the ceiling. Again another complex design. A square placed diagonally inside another square and a 24 spoke wheel at the center. The corners are adorned with floral art.

Closer look at the wheel. Wondering what's the significance of this design. Its not simple decoration.. surely its has some significance.

The roof overhang is supported by blocks decorated with sculptures of beautiful women. they all seem to be tall. Love their slender figures.

Another collage of eye catching sculptures on the temple walls. A line of royal elephants. One of the two beautiful maidens at the northern entrance. Lions, miniature columns and more elephants. Each of the elephants seem well fed and trained for battle fields.

Just outside the temple walls is a stock yard of semi-finished sculptures. Since we were short of time, we did not explore it... wondering what beautiful artworks we might have missed. Also, check out the temple wall design.

Ramappa Lake is about a kilometer from Ramappa temple. At the lake is a state owned tourism lodge.. Haritha Resort. Our plan was to camp there for the night but the place was booked fully. Later we found that it has just 7 double rooms. So, there will be a next time and we'll make sure we have the reservation.

About 10 to 12 kilometers from Ramappa temple is Ghanpur, another historic spot with a lake, fort and ruins of ancient temples. One can easily spend a day sigh seeing the wonders of our ancestors and Nature.

No comments: