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Andhra Pradesh ~ Warangal

The ancient city of Warangal (one stone hill) lies 157 kms from Hyderabad. Noted for its beautiful lakes, magnificent temples and wildlife, Warangal was once the capital of the legendary Kakatiya kingdom in the 11th and 12th centuries. The city finds mention in the travel diaries of Marco Polo. The Kakatiya dynasty of Andhra was a warrior dynasty that ruled for nearly 200 years. However, they were patrons of the arts and have left behind a heritage that is very visible in their ancient capital and its surroundings.

What to see:

The Thousand Pillar Temple:
The famous Thousand-Pillar Temple was built in 1163AD by King Rudra Deva and dedicated to the Gods Shiva, Vishnu and Surya. The temple is built in the Chalukyan style of temple architecture. It is perched on the slopes of Hanamakonda hill on the outskirts of Warangal. A thousand richly carved pillars are unique to this temple.

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Sapphire God

The pillars in black stone are three-quarter reliefs carved in intricate fashion. Geometric intricate designs are carved on the stone pillars and only the finest hairbreadth can be inserted into the holes of the delicate stone bangle carvings. A splendidly carved granite statue of Nandi the bull rises six feet in height. There are rock cut elephants on either side of the main shrine.

Bhadrakali Temple:
This famous temple of the Kakatiya period is situated on a hillock between Warangal and Hanamakonda. The 2.7 metre tall stone image of the deity is the main attraction. This temple too is built in the Chalukyan style of temple architecture.

Warangal Fort:

Warangal fort lies 12 kms from Hanamakonda. Kakatiya King Ganapati Deva and his daughter Rudramma built the fort during the 13th century. The construction was started by king Ganapati in 1199 A.D and later completed by Rudramma in the 1261. It is a mud and brick structure and is largely in ruins now, but some of the remains stand tall here to this day. These include four huge stone gateways and several exquisite pieces of sculpture. Places of interest in the fort are a temple and four gateways similar to those at Sanchi, reflecting a Buddhist influence. The fort has two walls, the circumference of the outer wall is 49 kms, the largest of its kind in India.

Ramappa Temple:
Marco Polo has described this breathtakingly beautiful temple as the "brightest star in the galaxy of mediaeval temples in the Deccan". Rich, intricate carvings adorn the walls, pillars and ceilings of this marvellous edifice. It is located at Palampet, 64 km from Warangal. The temple dates back to 1234 AD and is a Shivalaya. It stands majestically on a six feet high star-shaped platform in a spacious compound and picturesque surroundings dotted with countless date palm trees. The platform has been constructed in such a way that one can walk around it and look at the carved figures which decorate the outer walls of the temple. The hall in front of the sanctum has numerous beautifully carved pillars that have been positioned to create an effect that combines light and space wonderfully.


The temple is named after the sculptor of the temple and not after the presiding deity. It was built by the army Commander Rudra Samani on behalf of Kakatiya King Ganapati Deva. The bricks used in the construction of the temple are so light that they float on water, yet are so strong that temple has survived till date. It suffered from neglect for a long time and the famous bricks were being stolen. It is now under the charge of the Archaeological Survey of India.

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. Kakati Ganapati Deva was a great patron of art and learning and Ramappa temple was his best contribution to the world of South Indian temple architecture.

Pakhal lake
The Kakatiya rulers built the lake, 50 kms from Warangal, in 1213 AD Surrounded by hills and forest it makes for a very tranquil sojourn and is one of the best picnic spots in the state. The lake was constructed from the waters of one of the tributaries of the Krishna River.


Pakhal wild life sanctuary
The sanctuary covers 90 acres around the lake and is home to tigers, leopards, bears, hyenas, deer and a wide variety of birds.

Eturnagaram Sanctuary
This large sanctuary covers 812 sq. km. of dry deciduous mixed forests and is home to the tiger, leopard, sloth bear, nilgai, chousingha (four horned antelope), chinkara (mountain gazelle), black buck and many birds species. The area is mostly plain with some hilly terrain at altitude ranging from 200-450 metres with many streams and springs. It has teak and other trees of good quality standing 60 feet and above.


How to get there:
Air: The nearest airport is at Hyderabad at a distance of 157 km.
Rail: Warangal is an important railway station and is well connected to important cities of India.
Bus: State bus services operate from Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Karimnagar, Khammam and other districts.

Where to stay
The accommodation available includes the AP Tourism hotels and private luxury and economy hotels.

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.