Warangal, the capital of Kakatiya kingdom was the center of Kakatiyan art and architecture. Looking at the ruins and sculptural remains, one can imagine the glory during the heydays. It is said that one of the grandest temples was completely destroyed by the Muslim army. Today the remains are preserved at Warangal fort, an open air museum of Kakatiyan excellence. Of all that remains, the four massive arches called as Thorana almost intact and have become icons of Kakatiyan art. The word Thorana is common to Telugu and Kannada. Kakatiyan temple designs and art has evolved from Chakuyan architecture. Most Kakatiyan structures are much bigger and grander compared to Chalukyan.
March 17, 2017
Our tour of this museum started around 9-30, probably we were the first tourists of the day. We bought tickets for entry and cameras.. about ₹120 in all. These tickets are valid for Kush Mahal too which is less than 200 meters from here. Its a large enclosure, we decided to go anticlockwise. So we started with these stone water tanks probably for elephants and camels. May be the smaller ones are for horses.
Here we have a form of jewelry; a floral and geometrical combination; a stairway guide; and temple sanctum base. The stairway guide depicts two men on an elephant and a man under the beast's trunk.
Now we turn our attention to Kakatiyan icon, the massive Thorana. From the initial glance its seems like a monolith, can hardly make out where the joints are. This is an assembly of nine individual pieces- 4 columns, 1 central beam, 2 overhangs and 2 upper beams. Of course this entire structure stands Amazing creation!! The overall height and width are approximately 30' x 30'. Wonder how the pieces were sculpted separately to precision and then assembled. The columns, as I understand are partly buried, so the overall height of each column is approximately 40'. Imagine the effort behind locating the right raw material and transporting them here. The design would have taken into consideration the effects of varying temperatures.
Columns viewed from different angles. The edges are perfectly straight and the surfaces are absolutely flat. What kind of tools were used to achieve this precision. I believe its the power of sculptors' minds..
Somehow this little temple has survived the invasion. It's an east-facing temple, most likely dedicated to Lord Shiva. The structure is quite simple, devoid of any decoration but the design is typically Kakatiyan.. can be traced to Chalukyan. Its Mukha Mantapa and Sabha Mantapa are merged; a short vestibule- Antharala -connects the Sabha Mantapa to the Garbhagudi. The hall has a platform for people to sit on. A simple and neat structure.
Ramlingeshwar group of temples at Aihole.
Close by were few more smaller Thorana. One of the columns' faces had this interesting art. Looks simple but I'm sure it takes lot of effort to create this.
..this article will continue in the following post - Kakatiya sculptures at Warangal fort - Part II.