The Ramappa Temple is located in the Palampur village of Warangal district in Telangana region. It is located at a distance of 77 km from Warangal and 160kms from Hyderabad. It is home to brilliant Kakatiya art as seen in the Ramappa temple.
The Ramalingeswara Temple is popularly known as the Ramappa temple because the chief sculptor was Ramappa. It is probably the only temple in India to be known by the name of the sculptor who build it. It was built under the patronage of the King Ganapathi Deva by his Chief Commander Rudra Samani at Ranakude. The temple has a foundation in the shape of a star that’s why historians described it as the “Brightest Star in the Galaxy of Medieval Temples in the Deccan”.
About the Temple and its architecture:
The temple is approached through a lawn with tree lined path. It is situated in a valley and is built with bricks that are so light that they can float on water.This temple stands on a 6 ft high platform on a cruciform plan.It consists of a garbhagriha, an antrala and a maha mandapa.Ramappa Temple proves to be a delight for both history and architecture buffs. But a temple of this significance needs to be protected — of the three shrines of Rudreswara, Kateswara and Kameswara, the last two are in ruins.
The temple signifies many facets of Shiva, his royal residence, the Himalaya Mountains and his inhabiting a sacred space beyond the mortal realm. The temple is built upon the classical pattern of being first raised upon a platform that separates its sacred functions from the taint of the everyday. This ‘sacred mountain’ mindset was characteristic of the temple builders in all the cultures.
The wall contains exotic sand stone carvings depicting lines of elephants striking different posses, lotus motifs, mythical animals along with images of Ganesha, Narasimha and other gods and Goddesses. Erotic sculptures are also seen here!!
Even after so many wars and invasions these sculptures didn’t loose its charm..
Circumambulatory Elephant Sculptures:
There are about 523 Elephant sculptures following the tradition by walking around the temple after prayers (Pradakshina or parikrama).
Madanikas – The Sumptuous Sculptures:
This temple has three entrances flanked by a dozen of elegant female dancers striking different poses known as Madanikas which are made of black basalt and carved to a glossy finish which are captivating.The sculptures of these dancing postures are the highlight of the sumptuous sculptures found here. Each of the three gateways of the Ramappa Temple are flanked by a pair of dancing girls on each side, thus making four dancing girls per gate and the number of dancing girls totals to twelve.
Each with their flowing clothes, intricate jewellery and not to mention the amazing facial expression will be part of the grand entry. These are strikingly peculiar and fascinating. Every single specimen found here unravels the kind of connoisseir and patron of art of the architect and the Kakateeyas.
Main temple Interior :
The Temple consists of star shaped mandapas with projected porches and balcony seating along with multifaceted pillars, Rich and intricate carvings adorn the walls, pillars and ceilings of this wonderful building.
The hall in front of the sanctum has numerous beautifully carved pillars that have been placed to create an effect that combines light and space wonderfully.
You can see a ponne chettu(Alexandrian Laurel tree) beside the dancing lady on the top of this tree you can see Lord Krishna playing flute. And the sound of the flute comes through this tree, If you knock on the tree you can listen to different sounds at every point. There are seven different sounds noticed these sounds are referred to as Saptaswaraalu(seven sounds). You can also see Cosmic dance(Shiva taandavam) on the left side top of this door. There’s a tradition of Kakateeyas, That they dance before they enter in to the warfare. Also you can see dwarapaalikas (female guardians of the door) on either sides of the door. It is not clear in the picture but you can notice yourself if you visit this temple that there is a sculpture of a women who is distributing banana as prasaadam( food offering).
Distinct features of the Pillars:
The interior of the temple is supported by pillars with exquisite carvings. All the pillars are hand polished. Every pillar has its own and distinct designs.
Among the four pillars, The outer east pillar is unique and different. It is thinnest pillar among the four. Remaining pillars has maharabharata and Sivapuranas sculpted on them. But this has love and erotic sculptures sculpted on them. This is because generally people enters into the temple from this side. So in order to prevent the evil eyes (Dishti) Ramappa made this pillar different from others.
You can notice the sculptures on the top of the inner east pillar on which the architect sculpted only 4 legs for 3 people instead of six legs. From this you can see the greatness of the architect as he left it to the visitors imagination. If you cover one peron’s body then you can see two complete figures. On one of the pillar you can see gopika vastraapaharanam (An act from the Mahabharata). On the other side of the wall you can also see gopikas asking krishna for their dress.There are 13 holes on the inner east pillar, carvings are so so fine that even a thread can pass through it. 13 holes because it was constructed in 13th century?
The Ceiling is elaborately carved out of basalt stone. There is an additional entrance from the north also leading to the Navaranga mandapam in front of the sanctum. The ceiling is divided into compartments by columns from the bottom and is carved with intricate patterns. There is a richness of carvings in this temple on dark rock with a smooth finish, portraying an amazing range of themes from the Puranas and various Indian mythological stories.
In the center of the naatya mandapa(Dance hall) Lord Nataraja is sculpted such that the dancer will get his blessings. There are 8 triangles on the roof which is referred to as Ashta digpalakulu (Guardians of the directions).
On the Roof there are miniature carvings of the dancing ladies, ksheera saagara madhana(Churning of the milk ocean) Lord Vishnu in the form of Mohini distributing amrutam(elixir), Satyabhama killing Narakasura and Soldiers fighting in a warfare.
The Shivalingam in the sanctum also rises to a height of 9 ft. In the day time Sunrays gets reflected and falls on the deity.
There’s an 9-feet Nandi statue at the entrance of the temple. Although the roof of the Nandi mandapa is ruined but the Nandi idol is still intact.
Uniqueness of this idol is that it seems to be in alter potion, ready to charge at the orders of Lord Shiva. Such a beautiful architecture…
By some strange magic it has survived the successive Islamic invasions and natural calamities. Because of the efforts put by ASI this temple is in good shape. But still Kateswara and Kameswara shrines are in ruins. I wish that ASI/State tourism board will take special care to protect this temple and reopen those shrines for tourists.
1. If you go there early in the morning you can spot so many different species of birds and the greenery surrounding the road on the way to the temple will make your trip unforgettable.
2. If you are planning for a one day trip, then try to visit Ramappa Lake , Laknavaram Lake ( 30kms from Ramappa temple) and Govindrao peta(7kms from Laknavaram lake)
3. Read this before you visit this temple, I can assure you that you will love checking its architecture..