Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rani Rudrama Legacy Warangal Fort


After a disappointing visit to Hanumakonda temple complex, we landed at Warrangal fort on the independence day ( 15/8/2011 ).  We were stunned by the unfolding open air museum of sorts with rain adding lush green background to the monuments.  The grandeur was overwhelming, i was left wondering why should such a complex not be declared a world heritage monument ?  We innocently asked the native gentlemen to explain regarding the historical background of the kakatiya capital.  He was proudly sporting the Indian emblem on his shirt and with pride he went on to explain the background.  His narration was primarily focussed on how such a grand complex was destroyed for its wealth, by the invaders, thus leaving behind the spoils to be excavated by ASI in 2000 AD.  

Time and History has its own way of preserving such exquiste monuments by human and nature’s interference. Warangal Fort is one such classic example.  The invaders literally plundered warrangal fort, where a beautiful incomplete shiva temple existed with ornate pillared arches, emulating the sanchi torana’s.  All the precious gems and jewelleries  adorning the lord and his consorts were taken away and the edifices destroyed.  The complex was filled with sand dunes to cover up their brutality.   Warragal has a history of being invaded 5 times for its wealth. On the hindsight if one were to dwell into survival of non rock cut temples or monuments, the maximum life span is just 500 years, whereas rock cut monuments have longevity beyond imagination.  It does not mean to justify the aggressors act.

Kakatiya History :

·                    Beta I (1000–1030)
·                    Prola I (1030–1075)
·                    Beta II (1075–1110)
·                    Prola II (1110–1158)
·                    Rudradeva I (1158–1195)
·                    Mahadeva (1195–1198) brother Rudradeva
·                    Ganapathi deva (1199–1261)
·                    Rudrama devi (1262–1296)
·                    Prataparudra/ Rudradeva II (1296–1323):    Grandson of Queen Rudramba

Gundaya ( 880 - 950 AD )  is the first historical character associated with Kakatiya dynasty by virtue of his service to Rashtrakuta Emperor Krishna II  (  878 – 914 AD ). In return for his service as gratitude, his son was appointed as governor of  Kurravadi in Warrangal district.  Later Betaraja I ( 1000 – 1030 ) took advantage of the conflict between Chalukyas and Cholas to carve out a small territory and thus establish officially the Kakatiya dynasty.

Betaraja’s son Prola I ( 1030 – 1075 ) was rewarded with Hanamkonda as grant from Western Chalukyan king Someswara I  ( 1942 – 1068 ).  Prola II ( 1110 – 1158 ) took full advantage of the weakening kingdom of the Chalukyas and annexed Mantrakuta.  One of the famous Rulers of  Kakatiya dynasty were Rudradeva I ( 1158 – 1195 ), who expanded and consolidated the empire with conquests of  Godavari Delta, upto Srisailam.  He is credited to have built the thousand pillar temple at Hanamkonda in 1163 AD
Ganapathi Deva ( 1199 – 1261 AD ) ruled for nearly two decades, who was set free by his captors with an understanding that he will support them in case of attack from Hoysalas.  He expanded his territory from Karimnagar, to Ankapalle and in the north upto Ongole. Orugallu became the official capital of  Kakatiya kingdom.  Orugallu literally means a single block of stone.  But he handed over his reign to his daughter Rudrama Devi ( 1262 – 1296 ) in and took a retirement from active running of the administration.  He however contined to guide his daughter. During his reign the foundation for the Golkonda  fort and Warrangal fort too was laid.  Ramappa temple too was constructed during his reign.

Rudrarama's Reign ( 1262 - 1296 ) 

Rudrama Devi (  1262 – 1296 )  Since Ganapathi Deva did not have sons he chose appoint his daughter and trained her to be a warrior.  She was annointed as son according to Putrika ceremony. A male name was designated to her as Rudradeva and declared the queen of Kakatiya kingdom.  History has relegated women rulers to a large extent across the globe. 

Rudrama Devi was almost baptised by fire into the kingdom with invasion from the Jatavarma Sunder Pandya.  Kakatiyas lost their battle in Muttukur ( Nellore ) and the entire kingdom was shaken up.  Nobles and army who resented the queen now started realising that they had no option but to toe the guidelines of their king.  Ganpathi Deva vested the administrative powers in the hands of his daughter.
However in 1266-67 she was devastated with the dual loss of her husband Veerabhadra and her father.  She wanted to commit suicide but was refrained by the noblity to continue her reign, she was promised all co-operation.  She became a de-facto ruler of Kakatiya under difficult circumstances. 

According to legendary folk tale Rani Rudrama was not very much fond of  music or literature, but was inspired by Shiva Tandav. It was known as Perini.  She took up dancing as a form of exercise and introduced it as part of training the royal guards.  Due to her marriage to the Chalukyan prince Veerabhadra, she had the advantage of seeking the co-operation of  their artisan to finish incomplete edifice to spruce up her capital.

Warrangal Fort

Warrangal fort is credited to have been completed during her reign. The fortress was reinforced with a circular moat which was filled with crocodile to deter the enemies.  She ensured that her dance form got embeded into the pillars and façade of the temples.  The Peacock symbol was given prominence in the arches.  It obviously symbolised the beauty and pride of the empire The arches are also known as Toranas, which is laid out during festive season. There are 4 arches one facing each geographical direction. These toranas can be compared to the Sanchi arches, but overshadows them in grandeur and execution.  She ensured construction of  Bhadrakali temple in Hanamkonda.  Another prominent fortress  was consolidated at Bhuvangiri ( Bhongir ).

The architecture of the temple and arches utilised soapstone, pink granite and black granite.  It obviously was sourced from different parts of her kingdom and neighouring zones.  The wealth derieved from mining precious stones seems to have fuelled the growth of kakatiya empire. The famous Kohinoor diamonds seems to have been unearthed at Kollur on the banks of river Krishna during her reign, which was bartered away for peace by her grandson Prataprudradeva II, when he was under dire straits and verge of defeat in 1310 by Malik Kafur. 

The sculptures on the panel and facades of the warrangal fort complex reveals that Rani Rudrama devi excelled in all types of traditional warfare including sword fight, shooting arrows, horse riding, hunting of wild animals, etc  She is depicted on the elephant too in one of the reliefs in the temple complex.
In her endeavour to leave a trace of her legacy, she ensured that the capital was a perfect blend nature and architecture.  The hillock Ekshila temple was built in honour of  Lord Shiva.  The locale of this temple is surrounded by a lake with a pundits head jutting out of water.  The pundit is almost in meditation with his eyes closed.

Venkateswara, Shambuni Gudi, Jangamiah and Ramalaya are other temple edifices located in the complex.  The queen worshipped Lord Shiva, Bhadrakali, Ekaveera and Padmakshi.  The main Shivalaya temple inside the complex was unfortunately unfinished because of her untimely death in the battlefield in 1296.
Rani Rudrama devi is known to have been benevolent in sharing the wealth with soldiers at times of being victorious in battles against Mahadeva Raja from Devgiri ( Daulatabad ) This strategy ensured loyalty of the army in her quest to retain the kakatiya suzereignty in the region.  She chose Prataprudradeva II ( 1296-1323 ) ( grandson )  as her successor as per the advice of her father Ganpathideva. 

Rani Rudrama can be considered as one of the most valiant and distinguished queen in the league of  Rani Chennama of Kittur ( East India Company ) , Durgavathi of Godwana ( Akbar ) Rani Chennamabairavdevi ( Sulva Keladi ) Razia Sultan ( Delhi Sultanate ) and the legendary Rani Laxmi Bai ( Jhansi ).  She will be remembered forever in the annals of history for conceiving a world class edifice for her capital city Warangal. Her reign was one of the golden age of  Telugu speaking kingdom.  

Ack : Wikipedia, Blogs, CultureIndia, and Research papers.

Sid s Blog

Marco Polo Travels

Travels of Marco Polo ( book 3 ) Chapter 19

Concerning the Kingdom of Mutfili

When you leave Maabar and go about 1,000 miles in a northerly direction you come to the kingdom of MUTFILI. This was formerly under the rule of a King, and since his death, some forty years past, it has been under his Queen, a lady of much discretion, who for the great love she bore him never would marry another husband. And I can assure you that during all that space of forty years she had administered her realm as well as ever her husband did, or better; and as she was a lover of justice, of equity, and of peace, she was more beloved by those of her kingdom than ever was Lady or Lord of theirs before. The people are Idolaters, and are tributary to nobody. They live on flesh, and rice, and milk.[1]
It is in this kingdom that diamonds are got; and I will tell you how. There are certain lofty mountains in those parts; and when the winter rains fall, which are very heavy, the waters come roaring down the mountains in great torrents. When the rains are over, and the waters from the mountains have ceased to flow, they search the beds of the torrents and find plenty of diamonds. In summer also there are plenty to be found in the mountains, but the heat of the sun is so great that it is scarcely possible to go thither, nor is there then a drop of water to be found. Moreover in those mountains great serpents are rife to a marvellous degree, besides other vermin, and this owing to the great heat. The serpents are also the most venomous in existence, insomuch that any one going to that region runs fearful peril; for many have been destroyed by these evil reptiles.
Now among these mountains there are certain great and deep valleys, to the bottom of which there is no access. Wherefore the men who go in search of the diamonds take with them pieces of flesh, as lean as they can get, and these they cast into the bottom of a valley. Now there are numbers of white eagles that haunt those mountains and feed upon the serpents. When the eagles see the meat thrown down they pounce upon it and carry it up to some rocky hill-top where they begin to rend it. But there are men on the watch, and as soon as they see that the eagles have settled they raise a loud shouting to drive them away. And when the eagles are thus frightened away the men recover the pieces of meat, and find them full of diamonds which have stuck to the meat down in the bottom. For the abundance of diamonds down there in the depths of the valleys is astonishing, but nobody can get down; and if one could, it would be only to be incontinently devoured by the serpents which are so rife there.
There is also another way of getting the diamonds. The people go to the nests of those white eagles, of which there are many, and in their droppings they find plenty of diamonds which the birds have swallowed in devouring the meat that was cast into the valleys. And, when the eagles themselves are taken, diamonds are found in their stomachs.
So now I have told you three different ways in which these stones are found. No other country but this kingdom of Mutfili produces them, but there they are found both abundantly and of large size. Those that are brought to our part of the world are only the refuse, as it were, of the finer and larger stones. For the flower of the diamonds and other large gems, as well as the largest pearls, are all carried to the Great Kaan and other Kings and Princes of those regions; in truth they possess all the great treasures of the world.[2]
In this kingdom also are made the best and most delicate buckrams, and those of highest price; in sooth they look like tissue of spider's web! There is no King nor Queen in the world but might be glad to wear them. [3] The people have also the largest sheep in the world, and great abundance of all the necessaries of life.
There is now no more to say; so I will next tell you about a province called Lar from which the Abraiaman come.


1.      There is no doubt that the kingdom here spoken of is that of TELINGANA (Tiling of the Mahomedan writers), then ruled by the Kakateya or Ganapati dynasty reigning at Warangol, north-east of Hyderabad. But Marco seems to give the kingdom the name of that place in it which was visited by himself or his informants. MUTFILI is, with the usual Arab modification (e.g. Perlec, Ferlec--Pattan, Faitan), a port called MOTUPALLE, in the Gantur district of the Madras Presidency, about 170 miles north of Fort St. George. Though it has dropt out of most of our modern maps it still exists, and a notice of it is to be found in W. Hamilton, and in Milburne. The former says: "Mutapali, a town situated near the S. extremity of the northern Circars. A considerable coasting trade is carried on from hence in the craft navigated by natives," which can come in closer to shore than at other ports on that coast.--[Cf. Hunter, Gaz. India, Motupalli, "now only an obscure fishing village."--It is marked in Constable's Hand Atlas of India.--H.C.]
The proper territory of the Kingdom of Warangol lay inland, but the last reigning prince before Polo's visit to India, by name Kakateya Pratapa Ganapati Rudra Deva, had made extensive conquests on the coast, including Nellore, and thence northward to the frontier of Orissa. This prince left no male issue, and his widow, RUDRAMA DEVI, daughter of the Raja of Devagiri, assumed the government and continued to hold it for twenty-eight, or, as another record states, for thirty-eight years, till the son of her daughter had attained majority. This was in 1292, or by the other account 1295, when she transferred the royal authority to this grandson Pratapa Vira Rudra Deva, the "Luddur Deo" of Firishta, and the last Ganapati of any political moment. He was taken prisoner by the Delhi forces about 1323. We have evidently in Rudrama Devi the just and beloved Queen of our Traveller, who thus enables us to attach colour and character to what was an empty name in a dynastic list. (Compare _Wilson's Mackenzie, I. cxxx.; Taylor's Or. Hist. MSS. I. 18; Do.'s Catalogue Raisonne, III. 483.)
Mutfili appears in the Carta Catalana as Butiflis, and is there by some mistake made the site of St. Thomas's Shrine. The distance from Maabar is in Ramusio only 500 miles--a preferable reading.
2  Some of the Diamond Mines once so famous under the name of Golconda are in the alluvium of the Kistna River, some distance above the Delta, and others in the vicinity of Kadapa and Karnul, both localities being in the territory of the kingdom
3 Here buckram is clearly applied to fine cotton stuffs. The districts about Masulipatam were long famous both for muslins and for coloured chintzes. The fine muslins of Masalia are mentioned in the Periplus. Indeed even in the time of Sakya Muni Kalinga was already famous for diaphanous muslins, as may be seen in a story related in the Buddhist Annals. (J.A.S.B. VI. 1086.)

ACK : WIKI Travels


Sushma Harish said...

beautiful. i like the boulders, stone work etc

Subhrashis Adhikari said...

beautiful place

Aravind GJ said...

Beautiful place.... And nice narration.

Jigar said...

beautiful description !!
pity that i never tried to describe my home-town..
that's warangal, btw. not warrangal.
thank you, for such beautiful description :)

Deguide said...

Jigar, ghar ke murgi dal barabar, is a popular saying, many a times we dont appreciate the beauty lying besides us, and look for distant objects.

Deguide said...

Jigar thanks for pointing out spelling mistake it is corrected now

Anil Kumar Singh said...

Nice blog and you have good info thanks for sharing. Blogger Solutions

Unknown said...

This is a very informative post, very interesting as I follow history as well. Thank you for sharing the same, will put Warangal on my must visit locations.

Jigar said...

@deguide very true.. we often over-see the beauty lying around us..

my pleasure :)

Teamgsquare said...

Lovely description of this place .


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