Dr Ujwala Chakradeo
The Ramappa Temple, characterised by beautiful carvings of birds, animals, dancers and lyricists, is one of the finest examples of the Kakatiya dynasty in the field of art. It has been damaged over a period of time. Fortunately the polish on the stone sculpture of this temple is retained even now
Telangana’s Ramappa temple has been declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO in July 2021. This iconic temple is now India’s 39th world heritage site. It is also called Ramalingeshwar. The temple is located at a distance of 77 km from Warangal village in Telangana state. An inscription in the temple itself shows that the temple was built in the 13th century i.e. 1213 AD. This temple was built during the reign of Kakatiya king Ganapati Deva. This is a Shiva temple and Ramlingeshwar is worshiped here.
The temple stands on a beautiful star shaped platform six feet high. There are many pillars in the pavilion in front of the sanctum sanctorum. The pillars are characterised by beautiful carvings on them, and the distance between the two pillars is such that a beautiful play of light and shadow can be seen in this pavilion. The temple is known today by the name of Ramappa who made the idols in this temple. It is probably the only temple in India known by its creator.
The temple remained intact even after repeated wars, plunder and destruction during wars and natural disasters. There was a major earthquake during the 17th century which caused some damage. It survived the earthquake due to its 'sandbox technique' of laying the foundation. Kakatiyas have used sand in the foundation of this temple. The foundation was three meters deep. The foundation was filled with sand and the sand was mixed with the powder of granite, jaggery, terminalia chebula (Hirada).
The main temple is built of red sandstone. But the inner pillars of the temple and the large brackets on the outside are made of black basalt stone. The work on the stone is one of the finest examples of the Kakatiya dynasty in the field of art. Especially the smooth curves of the female body achieved by the sculptors and the level of polishing that has been attained on these statues. The most surprising fact is that the temple has been damaged over the period of time but the polish on the stone sculpture is retained even now. Many beautiful carvings like birds, animals, dancers and lyricists are sculpted here. The skills possessed by our ancestors are manifested through every small detail of the sculpture and through the perfection of the construction; the head automatically bows down with reverence here.
(The columnist is Principal of SMM College of Architecture, Nagpur and specialises in Bharatiya Architectural Heritage)
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