Warangal was the capital of a Hindu Shaivaite kingdom ruled by the Kakatiya dynasty from the 12th to the 14th centuries.The old name of this newly formed city is Orugallu.‘Oru’ means one and ‘Kallu’ means stone.
The entire city was carved in a single rock, hence the name Orukallu meaning ’one rock’. The city was also called Ekasila nagaram. The Kakatiyas left many monuments, including an impressive fortress, four massive stone gateways, the Swayambhu temple dedicated to Shiva, and the Ramappa temple situated near Ramappa Lake.
The cultural and administrative distinction of the Kakatiyas was mentioned by the famous traveller Marco Polo. Famous or well-known rulers included Ganapathi Deva, Prathapa Rudra, and Rani (queen) Rudramma Devi. After the defeat of PratapaRudra, the Musunuri Nayaks united seventy two Nayak chieftains and captured Warangal from Delhi sultanate and ruled for fifty years.
Jealousy and mutual rivalry between Nayaks ultimately led to the downfall of Hindus in 1370 A.D. and success of Bahmanis. Bahmani Sultanate later broke up into several smaller sultanates, of which theGolconda sultanate ruled Warangal.
The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb conquered Golconda in 1687, and it remained part of the Mughal empire until the southern provinces of the empire split away to become the state of Hyderabad in 1724 which included the Telangana region and some parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Hyderabad was annexed to India in 1948, and became an Indian state. In 1956 Hyderabad was partitioned as part of the States Reorganization Act, andTelangana, the Telugu-speaking region of Hyderabad state which includes Warangal, became part of Andhra Pradesh.
The Orugallu Fort and Veyyi Stambhala Gudi (Thousand Pillar Temple) have history, architecture and sculpture and are probably among the best of Indian temples. Kakatiya dynasty, that ruled Andhr a region from 750 AD – 1325 AD – for 575 years, still lives in the ruins of the fort and almost intact temple. You can get a first hand of the dynasty’s taste for sculpture in Veyyi Stambhala Gudi or 1000 Pillar Temple. It has a catchy and apt name. Are there thousand pillars? Yes there are – of many varieties and sizes; some of them are even part of others! The pillars that support the central ‘Natya Mandapam’ (dance floor) are large and made of multiple blocks of stone.The other catch is psychological. When you hear“Veyyi Stambalu” (thousand pillars) you imagine a farm of pillars. For our expectation, the temple was much smaller. More so because a mandapam (see left of the picture below), that contributes 400 of 1000 pillars, was dismantled by the Archeological Survey of India for reconstruction. Unlike pillars in other temples of India, pillars of the main temple, are tightly knit and form its walls and so don’t seem like there are 600 of them.The temple is star shaped with tree shrines devoted to Rudradeva (Shiva), Vishnu, and Surya (Sun).
Interestingly, the third deity is not Brahma who is part of the Trinity of God [as in the Trinity (which consists of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) in Suchindrum] because the Kakatiyas worshippedLord Shiva and Lord Surya and not so much Brahma. On the fourth side is Shiva’s vehicle,Nandi or Bull.Unlike most temples in India that face east, 1000 pillar temple faces south. Because, the Kakatiyas, worshipers of Lord Shiva, wanted early morning sun rays to fall directly on Shiva Lingam. So, of the three shrines, Shiva’s shrine faces east and other shrines face south and west. On the fourth side is Nandi. Adding to the uniqueness, the Nandi in 1000 pillar temple looks east, unlike most Nandis in Indian temples that look west.
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