All You Need to Know About Ramappa Temple – India’s new UNESCO Heritage Site

Ramappa Temple is an ancient temple situated at Palampet village in the Warangal district of Telangana. Also known as Ramalingeswara Temple or Rudreshwara Temple, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built during the period of Kakatiya ruler Ganapati Deva. It is one of the top heritage sites in India, and among the must-include places in Warangal tour packages. Known for its splendid architecture & intricate carvings, the temple has been on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site under ‘The Glorious Kakatiya Temples and Gateways’, since 2014. And, it has been conferred with a World Heritage Site status on 25th July 2021, making it the 39th World Heritage Site of India. What are you waiting for? Let us dig into the history and know some of the interesting facts about this amazing piece of art that stands as a testimony of the royal Kakatiyas.

1. Built during Kakatiya Period

Warangal in the Deccan plateau is home to the very classic and brilliant Kakatiya art. The Ramappa Temple is one such amazing piece of art that stands as a testimony of the royal Kakatiyas. The temple was built by general Recherla Rudra under the patronage of the Kakatiya ruler Ganapati Deva in 1213 AD. According to history, it took nearly 40 years to be completed. This temple is constructed in the South Indian architectural style and is devoted to Lord Shiva. Marco Polo, during his visit to the Kakatiya Empire, described the temple as “the brightest star in the galaxy of medieval temples of the Deccan”.

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2. Named After its Chief Sculptor

Ramappa Temple is one of the best medieval temples in South India. Despite being decades old and witnessing various invasions, it still stands majestically, creating a mesmerizing impression on every visitor. Usually, the temples in India are named after the presiding deity of the temple. Though the temple is dedicated to Lord Ramalingeshwara, it was named after its chief sculptor Ramappa. It is one of the very few temples in the world named and probably the only temple in the country to be known by the name of its sculptor.

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3. Known for its Splendid Architecture & Intricate Carvings

This temple displays a distinct style of architecture that exhibits the influence of the Kakatiyan sculptor. Stands on a 6 ft high star-shaped platform, this sandstone temple is crowned with a grand sikhara and is surrounded by the pradakshina path. AMong the top places to visit near Vijayawada, the Ramalingeswara Temple consists of garbhagriha, large ranga mandapa and a mukha mandapa. At the entrance of the temple, we can find a large Nandi mandapa. The hall in front of the sanctum is filled with exquisitely carved pillars. The walls of the temple exhibit carvings depicting stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The corners of the ceiling at all 3 entrances have a total of 12 sculptures of madanikas marvelously carved in different poses, which are the main attraction of the temple. The figures of madanikas made from black granite with metal-like finishing resemble the famous sculptures of Belur Chennakesava Temple.

4. An Engineerig Marvel of the Kakatiya Era

Aside from its architecture and elaborate carvings, Ramappa Temple is known for its architectural brilliance that gives us a glimpse of the technical innovations in the form of floating bricks, sand-box foundations, selection of building material, and masterful stone sculpting as part of Warangal 2 day tour. The lower part of the temple comprises red sandstone, its foundation is built with the ‘sandbox technique’ to make the temple earthquake-proof, and the pillars include basalt. The pyramidal vimana of the temple is made of lightweight porous bricks, so-called ‘floating bricks’, which reduced the weight of the roof structures. The bricks were believed to be made spongy using something like saw-dust. It is one of the must-visit Warangal tourist places.

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5. A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Telangana’s Ramappa Temple, also known as the Rudreshwar Temple has been on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014. India submitted the nomination dossier for Ramappa Temple, to the World Heritage Committee in January 2019, and is the only nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage site tag for the year 2019. On 25th July 2021, the temple was granted the UNESCO World Heritage Status at the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO,  making it the 39th World Heritage Site of India. It is now a crowning glory of Telangana Tourism.

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