Soaking in the glory of Ramappa temple

Experts say that owing to the temple’s unique architectural style and the kind of material used, it was able to withstand a major earthquake in the 17th century.

Published: 02nd October 2022 05:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd October 2022 05:30 AM   |  A+A-

Volunteers pose in front of the Ramappa temple

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Supposedly called the ‘brightest star in the galaxy of temples’, the Kakatiya Rudreshwara temple, popularly known as Ramappa temple, is one of the very few religious sites across the world that is known after its maker. It has been around 800 years since the temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva was built, but scholars and historians continue to gape and marvel at the engineering methods used in the structure. To raise awareness about the cultural value of Ramappa temple and the geo-engineering and construction technology of the great Kakatiya stapatis (architects or builders) and engineers, the UNESCO World Heritage Volunteer (WHV)-2022 initiative was held from September 19 to 30.

A total of 50 volunteers, including eight international ones, took part in the 12-day-long affair organised by the Kakatiya Heritage Trust (KHT) in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India, Warangal Chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and Telangana Tourism.

Experts say that owing to the temple’s unique architectural style and the kind of material used, it was able to withstand a major earthquake in the 17th century. However, that’s not all the participants learnt.

“What intrigued me was that the foundation of the temple was made of multiple natural materials like sand and jaggery. The buildings which we build now can hardly survive 100 years but this temple, which was built some 800 years ago, is still stable,” Ahmad Alothman, a civil engineer from Syria, tells TNIE.

Protection and preservation
The integration of various cultural and heritage activities in the region around the 3T concept (Tank, Temple and Township) of Kakatiyas promotes a spirit of adventure and togetherness, says KHT convenor Pandu Ranga Rao Mandela.

Mulugu district and the Thousand Pillar Temple
in Hanamkonda

“The purpose of this camp was to make young volunteers understand the importance of heritage and involve them in the protection and preservation of historical structures,” he adds. However, the fight to grab one of the volunteer spots was fierce. A meagre 18 per cent of the applicants were selected out of the 280 hopefuls. “Young volunteers from different disciplines like civil engineering, architecture and history, among others, took part in the training,” says Pandu Ranga.

Local sightseeing
As per the release by UNESCO, volunteers learnt about the materials and techniques used to build the temple and its integration with the natural surroundings. They also studied the current role and local impact of the water conservation system of the Kakatiyas.

WHV-2022 coordinator Kusuma Suryakiran says, “We provided lectures, demonstrations and exercises that create awareness about the conservation of the temple. To understand our culture and history, we took them sightseeing in Warangal where they saw the Thousand Pillar Temple, Fort Warangal, Ghanpur temples (Kota Gudulu) and Laknavaram.”

“The volunteers also saw performances of traditional dances such as Pherini, Kommu, Bathukamma and Lambadi, which provides them a better understanding of our ethnicity and culture,” the coordinator adds.

One of the 42 domestic volunteers, Sonali Gurunj, says, “The history of the Kakatiyas is not known to many. It is a very different culture.” Sonali, who is a Master in Architecture graduate from Ranchi in Jharkhand, explains, “The exposure to the techniques used and architecture of Ramappa temple shows how it is different to other temples in south India. The mandapam area was huge where cultural activities used to be organised for large audiences.” “As part of the programme, we also visited many tribal temples, where the focus was not on the beauty but its history,” she adds.



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