Oru gallu - 1 Ramappa Temple

It was decided to go to Warangal for a team mate's marriage. I was eager to go as it is the center for the Kakatiya rulers and gave a chance to see some of their excellent architectural remains in the form of the temples in the area. Since J and the kids didn't want to travel, I decided to go it alone. Tickets were booked and the day came.

The journey started in earnest when I boarded the Charminar on the 23rd. The journey was uneventful with nothing to write about and reached Warangal at around 5AM on 24th. Checked into the Suprabha hotel and after breakfast started for the Ramappa temple.

Ramappa Temple and Lake

The driver I've had for the trip was a young guy, who basically had the habit of checking his hair in the rear view mirror now and them. Sometimes he checked his still growing moustache. A sure way to run into the so many lorries coming our way, but he did not mind. When I told him a couple of times, he shrugged it and went on doing it. Then I decided if this is what fate intended to do, to make fun of my final minutes, I will as well embrace it. 

Cotton Fields

Ramappa temple is located in a place called Ramappa, near the palampet village which is near Mulug. The total distance comes to about 75Kms one way. The road is suppose to be a national highway but had nothing to show for it. It is two-laned with not-so-much traffic, just the APSRTC buses ,lorries and share-autos with so many people on it plying the roads. Both the sides of the road are full of cotton fields.  

Long home to the Naxal movement in Andhra and now in the midst of the Telangana struggle, Warangal district out side the city of Warangal shows the reasons why it is so. The villages that I crossed were full of abject poverty with few stone houses and many huts. Probably the land owners are in the cities and the workers are left in the villages. As we travel along, the cotton fields vanish with the arid red soil takes over. Between the hillocks, I was thinking of the numerous ambushes that would've happened here. My driver was talking about a place nearby called Pagala Chevuru where we can see the bombed out buildings from the Naxal time. I didn't had the time and decided not to go.

One of the queer things in the middle of that poverty was the presence of at least 2 English medium schools in each of the villages. All these are very prominent with flex-boards outside with the students and their makrs promising IIT and medical foundation courses etc. I can only think of the amount of money these people will be paying those for all that. And these schools are not just schools they are either 'Techno schools' or 'Digi schools', I was not even aware of these words till that time. What they mean by that only God knows, but I am sure they will get the explanation in loads of money. On the other hand, they all have some funny name for the schools (like HCL Digi school etc) but the winner of the naming competition is one 'Disneyland English medium school' just outside Warangal. I cannot believe when I saw that. There were even two mickey in that name, which promises the same as every other school in the area.

Back to the trip, the roads were OK and we made good time to reach Mulug. The next10 KMs to the Palampet village are trying, to say the least. Ramappa temple lies 1-2 KMs from the Palampet village.


 The temple itself is hidden by the trees in the garden and once you reach the outer wall, it comes to full view. The first thing that strikes is the similarity to the Hoysala temples. The same raised platform, the temple gopuras, the pillars, the panels around the temple etc. Since the Kakatiyas and the Hoysalas were in the same period, it was difficult to say who influenced whom. But it was easy to say that both were heavily influenced by the Chalukyas.

 
Built by the great Kakatiya ruler Ganapati Deva, the temple is named after its sculptor Ramappa. One of the thoughts that consistently ran in my mind while there was why some one would chose this place, which is 75 KMs from the capital and has no other city nearby, to build on instead of building it in the capital itself. That is a mystery.


Front view of the temple
           The temple is in a raised platform which is star-shaped and houses a big black-granite Lingam in the garbagraha. There is a gopuram and it was told that the temple was built by having placed stones one over other and no cement or mortar is used. The sculptures in the panels outside were in bad condition and the temple itself looks a little better. Compared to Belur/Halebidu which were built around the same time, this temple is maintained badly, to say the least.

Pointed star ceilings
The dancing girl

Guess what?























 The sculptures in the panels sports mostly vignettes from the puranas and there are some erotic ones thrown now and there. And like in the Halebidu, the panels show off eroticism and there are quite a few of them to boost. The dancing girls in the mandapas are good but compared to the Shatala Devi dancing sculptures of Halebidu, they look ordinary.

 







I started comparing with Hoysala temples as the resemblance is uncanny. The carved windows, the pointed star shaped ceilings with various purana sculptures all remind one of the common influence the builders and how differently it was conceptualized.

Raised stone slabs in the Mandapa
 The Nandi was probably the best part of the temple and it is huge, polished with intricate carvings on it. There were supposed to be three shrines in the complex and the other 2 are in ruins. The outer compound wall and the entrance is also in ruins. Apparently an earthquake in the 18th century was the reason and you can see the raised stone slabs inside the temple almost in sync which was the result of the earth quake.

Ruins outside the temple
Much of the prahara outside is littered with panels and broken sculptures from the temple without even a roof over it. When I visited, there was a huge demolishing machine parked in the prahara, which if I were not that clever, would've believed to be there for the ASI to demolish and build the temple.

Probably the crowd is not there, and the 5 Rupees entrance fee is not enough, but that is no reason for keeping a place like this untidy and in perpetual ruins. The patching job done here and there in the temple with cement and mortar is jarring to the eyes to say the least. But I was not prepared for what lied in front of me when I will be visiting the Hanamkonda temple.

Ruined temple on the banks of Ramappa tank
After the temple was done, visited the Ramappa tank, which is a huge lake with full of water (please, I live in Chennai!). There was a ruined temple on the bank and it was used for cooking huge amounts of food for the villagers there. There were few people taking a dip as well.


Ramappa Tank
While returning from the tank, we saw a couple walking to the tank. My driver slowed the vehicle, continuously honked, then turned his head (with the car moving) till the girl went out of view. This is something which I noticed in general here. People ogle at women openly and without any quibble to their conscience it seemed (noticed that in Warangal as well!). May be it was considered an admirable trait in the area, but for the uninitiated, beware.

And the trip to Ramappa concluded with me dreaming of the beautiful Andhra meals that was getting ready in the reception that I was going to.
  
For more pictures from my trip --> Ramappa Temple

For my trips to Belur and Halebidu temples , go here -->
Belur, Halebidu & Hulikere

For more on the erotic sculptures of Ramappa temple, go here --> An approach to the erotic sculpture of Ramappa temple

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நவீன தமிழ் கவிஞர்கள் - தேன்மொழி தாஸ் / அ.வெண்ணிலா

தேன்மொழி தாஸ்  கவிதை, சிறுகதை, சினிமா, தொலைக்காட்சி  என பல தளங்களில் இயங்கி வரும் தேன்மொழி தாசின் கவிதைகள் பெரும்பாலும் துயரங்கள் நிறை...