The ancient city of Warangal (one stone hill) lies 157 kms from Hyderabad. Noted for its beautiful lakes, magnificent temples and wildlife, Warangal was once the capital of the legendary Kakatiya kingdom in the 11th and 12th centuries. The city finds mention in the travel diaries of Marco Polo. The Kakatiya dynasty of Andhra was a warrior dynasty that ruled for nearly 200 years. However, they were patrons of the arts and have left behind a heritage that is very visible in their ancient capital and its surroundings.
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The Thousand Pillar Temple:
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The pillars in black stone are three-quarter reliefs carved in intricate fashion. Geometric intricate designs are carved on the stone pillars and only the finest hairbreadth can be inserted into the holes of the delicate stone bangle carvings. A splendidly carved granite statue of Nandi the bull rises six feet in height. There are rock cut elephants on either side of the main shrine.
Warangal fort lies 12 kms from Hanamakonda. Kakatiya King Ganapati Deva and his daughter Rudramma built the fort during the 13th century. The construction was started by king Ganapati in 1199 A.D and later completed by Rudramma in the 1261. It is a mud and brick structure and is largely in ruins now, but some of the remains stand tall here to this day. These include four huge stone gateways and several exquisite pieces of sculpture. Places of interest in the fort are a temple and four gateways similar to those at Sanchi, reflecting a Buddhist influence. The fort has two walls, the circumference of the outer wall is 49 kms, the largest of its kind in India.
The temple is named after the sculptor of the temple and not after the presiding deity. It was built by the army Commander Rudra Samani on behalf of Kakatiya King Ganapati Deva. The bricks used in the construction of the temple are so light that they float on water, yet are so strong that temple has survived till date. It suffered from neglect for a long time and the famous bricks were being stolen. It is now under the charge of the Archaeological Survey of India.
On the western side is the idyllic Ramappa Lake constructed during the same period as the temple. The building of a temple and an irrigation tank side by side was the tradition of the Kakatiya rulers. Kakati Ganapati Deva was a great patron of art and learning and Ramappa temple was his best contribution to the world of South Indian temple architecture.
Pakhal wild life sanctuary
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Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.