Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Incredible India -- The story of Warangal

Old is gold people say,it perfectly made sense to me when I set out on a one day trip to explore my native city, Warangal.It was planned after having extensive discussions with my team mates at my organization.This time though it was a new experience for me all together since I was their guide.We started with an early morning departure from Hyderabad at 5.30 AM in the morning.Since we had to visit and explore many places in a day's time ,it was prudent to set out before sunrise.

Two hours after travelling by road we reached Warangal. The weather had by then turned a bit warm and balmy(considering the high temperatures here,this was a pleasant surprise as well).This was also a very good chance for me to explain to them the historic significance of this ancient city and its prominence in India's History.

Our first stop was was thousand Pillared temple,located in the center of the city.1100 Years ago Warangal was no small town but was rather the thriving capital of the powerful Kakatiya Dynasty.Their kingdom and power extended to most of southern India through the 11th and 12th Century A.D.The temple we visited is an architectural marvel of sorts.Not only because of its name but it is one of the few monolithic structures to be built entirely from a single rock formation.The intricate carvings and the sculptures within the walls of the temple justify its significance.
[caption id="attachment_898" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The magestic thousand pillared temple at Hanamkonda,Warangal "][/caption]

As in the case of other ancient cities around the world,Building temples must have been one of the many power plays which rulers would do in order to maintain and extend their cultural dominance and leave back a legacy.That legacy continues down the line in one form or another and becomes a part of everyone within the society
[caption id="attachment_900" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Main ceiling inside the temple "][/caption]

The sculptures themselves explain the rich architecture and cultural heritage brought by the kings.Would modern day architects ever think of designing such a structure which could signify our race?.I doubt it!The temple has gone through many Invasions by Islamic rulers and has stood well through the tests of time.

Next stop on the list was Ramappa temple,built in 1213 A.D by the same rulers in early years of 13th century A.D.There is specialty in the material used with this structure as well,The bricks used to build the temple can actually float on water!Partly damaged by an earthquake,it still stands majestically with its long spire going towards the heavens
[caption id="attachment_907" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Skyscrapers of Ancient India "][/caption]

There is no dearth of richness here as well.I was amazed to know that escape tunnels existed underground in those days which ran for 70kms between these two temples,in case the kings had to escape from an enemy invasion.The walls are filled with carvings explaining the various Hindu Mythologies and beliefs.Sacred texts being displayed in the form of carvings and art.I was also happy to see that both of them are now undergoing restoration under the auspices of The Archeological Survey of India.With the possible inclusion in the Unesco's World Heritage Site list on cards,this will certainly expose their presence among my fellow countrymen and the rest of the world

[caption id="attachment_911" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Simply Splendorous "][/caption]

Our day ended with a visit to a picturesque lake in a small tribal village called laknewaram.Situated inside a beautiful valley,and covered with thick forest on all the sides,it was sheer delight which filled us while we came there.The famous cantilever bridge which stands in between the various islands among the lake is the major attraction as it was built by the local tribal men.It has became so famous now that even the BBC has made a special mention of it in its prime time programs.
[caption id="attachment_913" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Nature at it's best "][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_915" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The famous cantilever bridge built by tribesmen "][/caption]

Some times I wonder how could our ancestors complete such wonderful projects with rudimentary tools and man power.There was also a sense of pride within me as well,not because I was the guide for the trip but due to the fact that I was born and brought up in such a historic city which has a story dating back to 1100 years....Indeed Old is gold....