During the 40th session, UNESCO announced the addition of two cultural sites from India. Along with Harappan city – Dholavira of Gujarat, the Ramappa Temple of Telangana marked its entry in the list of World Heritage. Consequently, these sites will receive financial assistance from World Heritage Fund for their protection and conservation.
In 2019, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) visited the temple and found nine shortfalls in the site. Yet, it managed to get into the tentative list as ‘The Glorious Kakatiya Temples and Gateways’
During the nomination meeting, Norway was the only country to dissent the inclusion of the Ramappa temple based on ICOMOS initial report.
However, Russia backed the majority and led an effort to amend rule 22.7. This paved the way for India to achieve its diplomatic triumph.
The Ramappa Temple was built in the 13th century during the reign of the Kakatiya dynasty. The name was given after its craftsman – Ramappa.
The temple is also known by other names such as Ramalingeswara temple, Rudreshwara temple. It is situated in Palampet village of Telangana state.
General Recharla Rudra constructed the building under the rule of Kakatiya King Ganapati Deva. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva where he is worshipped in the form of Lord Ramalingeswara.
ARCHITECTURE AND STYLE
The temple stands on a star-shaped platform at the height of 6 ft. There are many carved pillars erected in the hall right in front of the sanctum which provides enough space for light and air to enter.
The main structure of the building is made of reddish sandstone, flooring is granite and black basalt has been used to construct pillars outside.
A part of the temple known as white gopuram is made up of so light bricks that it can float on water.
It has two small Shiva shrines on both sides of the main temple along with the Nandi facing towards them.
The interior of the temple is adorned with sculptures of mythical animals, female dancers and musicians engraved on it. Females in Telangana performed an ancient dance form named ‘Perini Sivathandavam’ to honour Lord Shiva and even before soldiers went to war.
An inscription found here, suggests the origin of the temple long back to 1135 Samvat-Saka on the eight-day of Magha i.e., 12th January 1214.
The style is very distinct and truly defines the glory of aesthetics of South Indian temples and town gateways.
A European traveller Marco Polo once visited this place and remarked it as “the brightest star in the galaxy of the medieval temples of the Deccan”.
The temple has survived many wars, raids and natural disasters. However, some parts of the temple such as the entrance gate were damaged during a major earthquake in the 17th century. Thus, it is being looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Interestingly, it is believed to be the only temple in India to be named after its creator.
The construction of the temple involves a unique technique in which a pit is filled with a mixture of sand-lime, jaggery and karakkaya (black myrobalan fruit) to lay the foundation. Further, the building is constructed upon it.
This sandbox technique prevents the structure from the earthquake as the vibrations of tremor slow down while passing this mixture and lose their severity till it reaches the foundation.