Two noticeable trends during Kakatiya dynastic period were the construction of reservoirs for irrigation in the uplands and that of temples in the relatively populous delta areas. Ramappa temple is one such temple which was built 800 years ago. Apart from its age and architecture, this temple is now the centre of attraction for a different reason. Do you know why?
The Ramappa temple is the only temple in the country which is known by the name of its craftsman and not by the god which is being worshiped inside the temple. Its located 210 kilometres northeast of Hyderabad and was built in 1213 AD by Kakatiya general Recherla Rudra during the reign of Kakatiya king Ganapathi Deva. The deity worshipped in the temple is Lord Ramalingeswara.
The temple stands majestically on a 6 ft high star-shaped platform. The hall in front of the sanctum has numerous carved pillars that have been positioned to create an effect that combines light and space wonderfully. The main structure is in a reddish sandstone, but the columns round the outside have large brackets of black basalt. These are carved as mythical animals or female dancers or musicians, and are “the masterpieces of Kakatiya art, notable for their delicate carving, sensuous postures and elongated bodies and heads.”
The roof of the temple is built with bricks, which are so light that they are able to float on water. There are two small Shiva shrines on either side of the main temple. The enormous Nandi within, facing the shrine of Shiva, remains in good condition.
A major factor which has kept this temple in news of late is the fact that Ramappa temple is the only site nominated from India this year for the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) tag. The Ramappa temple was first considered for the WHS tag back in 2017 only to be rejected due to incorrect details. It should be noted that the Qutb Shahi-era Golconda fort, Qutb Shahi tombs and the Charminar (Hyderabad’s foundation, built in 1591) have already been on the tentative list from the state of Telangana.
The temple is in dilapidated condition and Archaeological Survey of India is doing the conservation work at the site. Last week, the UNESCO representative along with officials from the state government’s Department of Heritage and Tourism have visited the site. Eligibility of the site for inclusion in WHS list will largely depend upon the report submitted by the UNESCO representative.