Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ramappa Temple

Location: Ramappa Temple, Palampet, Telangana 506345, India
Ramappa Gudi (Temple) is situated 18° N, 79° E and 612 feet over sea level in Palampet village of Venkatapur Mandal, Telangana, INDIA.

237 k.m. from Hyderabad
70 k.m. from Warangal

Situated in a valley surrounded 3 sides by cotton, rice fields and mountain on the other side is a magnificient monument dating back to 1213 AD. It documents the glory and grandeur of the Kakatiya kingdom. 


Arts flourished in Telangana, during Kakatiya Dynasty and among the important and exquisite monuments of the State, Ramappa Gudi popularly known as Ramappa Temple, is an archaeological wonder. 

Historians and art enthusiasts regard this temple as the brightest gem of Kakatiya architecture and treasure house of medieval architecture.


This temple can be seen from 6 kilometers and played important role in protecting the capital of Kakatiya Kingdom Orugalla, now known as Warangal.The main presiding deity of Ramappa temple is Sri Ramalingeswara Swamy and is dedicated to Lord Shiva is a single-shrine temple, amidst picturesque surroundings dotted with countless date palm trees.

The Temple is surrounded by a stone compound wall and has two low entrances, one towards the East and the other to the West,  The main entrance gate facing east in the outer wall of temple is now ruined, so one can enter through small west gate only.

Advancing from the eastern entrance, the visitor first notices the remains of a ruined Nandi Mandapa (Pavilion). In front of the Nandi Pavilion stands the main temple which is of a cruciform plan stands majestically on a platform 6’ 4" high star-shaped platform. The plinth of the platform instead of being plain has been divided into foliating surfaces which give a very pleasing effect to the general appearance of the monument. The platform affords a space ten feet wide all round the temple, forming a sort of promenade for the devout pilgrims whence they can perform Pradakshina and gaze on the long panels of figures which adorn the exterior of the building.

The main entrance, like in any typical Hindu temple, faces east with balustrade steps and porched openings on three entrances on the east, south and north with two six feet high female figures on either side of the three entrances total 12 life-sized dancing girls, with different voluptuous poses fixed at an angle on high brackets. Carved from black basalt, some of these figures are ornate with decorative jewellery while others are simple. All of them are tall, ferocious and noble, carrying swords, arrows and bows, and are called Madanika, Nagini, Alasakanya and Salabhangika. There are red sandstone dancing figures on all sides of the temple. On the outer-walls there are carved figures of animals and war scenes in the same red sandstone. These carvings are of a very heterogeneous character, and consist of gods, goddesses, warriors, acrobats, musicians.
The temple consists of a shrine cell, garbhagriha and antarala or an ante chamber (a smaller room or vestibule serving as an entryway into a larger one) and a hall of audience called Ranga Mantapa. The arrangement of the interior can best be understood by the help of the accompanying plan. The Ranga Mantapa (hall) measures 41 feet each way and has a square apartment (18'x 18’) enclosed by four exquisitely carved pillars. The  decorative design on the pillars is so meticulous that only a fine needle can go through the lattice work. One wonders at the fine workmanship of the artisans with the meager available resources. In the middle, the place for musicians and singers to recite the holy hymns. A platform about 3 feet high runs round the hall, and on it have been built eight small cells for the images of the presiding deities. The ante-chamber measures 15’ 8’’ and 14’ 10’’. The sanctuary is entered by another richly carved doorway encloses a space 15’ 8" square, at the centre of which stands the mystical linga, the emblem of cosmic energy, on a high pedestal of black basalt.

The sanctuary doorway has carvings of Perini Dance Poses and Krishna’s flute which looks like tree trunk, when hit with finger nails make the sound sa-ri-ga-ma. Inside the temple is a magnificent display of sculptures depicting scenes from the early myths, the Ramayana, the Puranas, and the later Hindu texts. The arrangement of the columns has. divided the ceiling into several compartments, each of which is superbly carved, the decorations consisting of a variety of floral and geometrical patterns, from the full blown lotus to the most intricate honeycomb scroll. The ornamentation of the four central columns of the hall and the architraves above them is extremely rich aud subtle.

The idyllic scene of Krishna surrounded by a troop of amorous girls (Gapls), whom the mischievous God deprived of their garments
while they were bathing in a tank, has been specially selected by the artist and is represented on every prominent place, even on the jambs of the door of the ante-chamber. Again, the same God in his aspect of the Muralidhara playing on his magical flute is represented in several places. The figurines instead of exhibiting calm or repose, bear an expression of revelry and voluptuous joy, even the Ganesa with his rotund paunch is represented dancing on an architrave of the central apartment of the hall.

Apart from main temple, there are 3 more temples. Towards North is Kateswara Temple, South is Kameswara Temple, South-West(Niruthi) is Narasimha Swami Temple or Sabhamantapa. 
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.

Reference: Temples at Palampet by GHULAM YAZDANI and Ramappa Gudi by Mandala Malla Reddy.

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