Exploring the Magnificent 1000 Pillar Temple in Hanamkonda, Warangal
In my previous post about the enchanting Warangal Fort, I introduced you to Warangal, a charming town nestled within the Tri-City region, which includes Warangal, Hanamkonda, and Kazipet. Today, I’m taking you on a journey through this quaint town to discover the hidden treasure known as the 1000 Pillar Temple.
Finding this architectural marvel amidst the narrow alleys and open spaces of Hanamkonda can be a bit challenging. The 1000 Pillar Temple, also known as the Rudreshwara Temple, was constructed in the 12th century CE during the reign of the Kakatiya Dynasty. The first glimpse of this temple reveals a unique three-shrine structure perched atop a 6-foot-high star-shaped platform.
One of the most fascinating aspects of this temple is its deceptive architecture. While it’s called the “1000 Pillar Temple,” it’s hard to believe that the facade actually boasts 600 intricately carved pillars. Additionally, within the temple complex, you’ll come across the Mandapam, a pavilion that alone features approximately 400 pillars. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has taken the initiative to dismantle and restore this remarkable structure.
The temple’s main shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva, as the Kakatiya Dynasty held deep reverence for him. Positioned to face the east, this shrine is designed to receive the first rays of the morning sun, which gently illuminate the massive shivalinga. The other two shrines within the complex are devoted to Lord Vishnu and Surya, the Sun God, facing south and west respectively. On the fourth side, you’ll find the Nandi bull, Lord Shiva’s loyal guardian.
Nestled between these shrines lies the Natya Mandapam, the Dance Hall, where vibrant dancers once performed in devotion to the deities. The pillars of this hall are crafted from multiple stone blocks and adorned with intricate carvings, featuring jewelry designs of the era, including chains, bangles, rings, crowns, pots, flowers, and more.
The temple’s construction employs a combination of local sandstone, black granite, and dolerite. Like many Kakatiya temples, its structure is supported by meticulously carved pillars and beams. Another distinctive feature of Kakatiya architecture is the use of a sand pack foundation. During the restoration of the Mandapam, ASI discovered a 30-foot sand pack foundation, a testament to the engineering brilliance of the Kakatiya dynasty.
As you plan your visit to this charming town, prepare to be amazed by the 1000 Pillar Temple. It may appear modest in size, but its rich history and architectural grandeur make it a true gem worth exploring.
Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll unveil another hidden gem waiting to be discovered in this captivating town. Hanamkonda and its surrounding areas have much more to offer than meets the eye!