Warangal Fort

Warangal

The text below is adapted from http://www.kaladarshana.com/sites/warangal/

The Kakatiyas, who started as feudatories of the Chalukyas, became dominant rulers of the Andhra territory in the 12th century. They were enthusiastic patrons of architecture as is clear from the several temples built during their reign in and around their capitals at Hanamkonda and Warangal. The temples are built in a distinct architectural style derived from late Chalukyan archetypes and are recognizable by polygonal floor plans and intricately sculpted ceilings and pillars in the mandapam. The few Islamic buildings within the Warangal Fort date from the mid-14th century when Tughlak armies occupied the fort and from the 16th century when it became an outpost of the Bahmani and Qutb Shahi empires.

Warangal Fort 

In the early 13th century during the reign of Ganapatideva, the capital was moved from Hanamkonda to the new city of Warangal, which was laid out in a circular plan with three concentric rings of walls. The first ring which constitutes the Fort has high walls made of massive granite blocks laid without mortar. Inner faces of the walls have steps ascending to a path that runs along the top. Entrance gateways like the one seen here were renovated in Bahmani times as is clear from the sculpted fragments reused from dismantled temples. Here a temple ceiling fragment is placed in a niche. The image is of Vishnu carried by Garuda and surrounded by attendants. Above this some granite blocks are replaced by panels of elephants and yali.

Portal  These free-standing portals now at the east and west ends of the enclosure, were probably ornamental gateways to the temple complex. They have now become symbols of Warangal and Andhra Pradesh. Each portal has four pillars surmounted by miniature vimanams. Between them is a lintel composed of torana with five pendant lotus buds, regurgitated by makaras with elaborate tails. Below this is a row of nine rudrakshas and lotus buds. This ornate cross-beam has projecting sides with fully-carved hamsas standing on platforms held up by dwarfs. The projection is connected to the upright by a curved bracket on which stands a yali. The non-religious theme of these gateways is probably why they were spared by invaders.

Entrance Frame

Recovered portions of the sanctuary entrance frame. A pierced screen is formed by a pattern of empty rhombuses and hamsas. On either side of this are are columns of creepers emanating from kumbhas. The pilaster next has circular and octagonal sections at the centre, all intricately carved. Above this is a panel with Venugopala beneath a miniature torana and flanked by attendants and pilasters. A column of striding yalis to the left of the pilaster completes the composition.


Columns and Ceiling Panel The triangular block, part of a ceiling panel, has musicians, warriors and attendants around an elegant dancing Mahisamardhini image. Below this is a frieze with a row of yalis, uniformly carved. These blocks are held up by mandapa pillars with ornate scroll capitals and disc-like sections.

Ganesa Shrine 

Another set of unearthed fragments are formally arranged as a Ganesa temple. To its right is an immense but broken ceiling panel contining a krittimukha framed by dense foliage and creeper circles.

Recovered Slabs

The enclosure is filled with recovered carved granite blocks like these. There are fragments of ceilings and walls with panels of lotuses, yali, and hamsa.

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