Monday, June 14, 2021

Architectural magnificence of Ghanpur

It was during a weekend bike trip around Warangal district that we stumbled upon this lesser known group of temples in Ghanpur. A chance detour enroute to Hyderabad led us to this magnificent temple complex. Though we had planned the trip in advance we never came across these temples. But thanks to the board by Telangana Tourism, we decided to drive an extra 11 km to see it and we didn’t regret it.


Templing Around


We started on a Saturday morning from Hyderabad and reached Warangal around 10 am and spent the day going around the Warangal fort, Bhadrakali temple and Thousand Pillar temple. Next up on our list was the Ramappa temple, about 70 km from Warangal. One of the most magnificent temples built by the Kakatiya dynasty, the carvings on the temple depict stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, not to mention, it’s my favourite temple in Telangana. After spending some time here, we started for Hyderabad when we came across the board to Ghanpur. The decision was also influenced by the good roads and nice weather. Dark clouds had gathered in the sky and the winds buffeting against us were exhilarating as we rode towards the temples.

Architectural magnificence of Ghanpur
The nandi bull in the central courtyard.

Locally known as Kota Gudulu, Ghanpur is home to 22 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. A fine example of the Kakatiya art and architecture, this group of temples are a must visit, when visiting Ramappa temple. The temples were constructed by King Ganapati Deva of Kakatiya dynasty in the early 13th century. The Kakatiyas ruled the region between 1199 AD and 1260 AD with Warangal (previously known as Orugallu) serving as the capital. They were great lovers of architecture and built several temples during their rule.


Architecture


The dilapidated temples in different shapes and sizes are enclosed within a double-walled complex. The centre of the enclosure has a temple dedicated to Shiva and is built on a star-shaped platform similar to the Hoysala temples in Karnataka. The main shrine contains bracket figures of yalis and mandakinis but they lack the beauty of their counterparts in Ramappa. It is here you get to see the detailed carvings; the East side has several sandstone freezes featuring elephants and lotus and a curved granite door frame which leads to the inner sanctum. The mandapa lies to the south side of the main shrine.

Six other smaller temples surround it and a sole Nandi bull is located at the centre of the courtyard. Though it was severely damaged during the invasion of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq in 1323, there is still some magic about the complex. A lot of intricate carvings are still intact and are a visual delight.

Since it’s a little out of the way, one will be hard pressed to find anyone here. While we were there, some workers were busy arranging pieces of stones towards restoration of the temple and a few kids were playing around. I personally like to visit such kind of temples where I can find peace and not long queues. We sat for some time gazing at the beautiful sculptures before starting our journey back home.

Architectural magnificence of Ghanpur

The main shrine contains bracket figures of yalis and mandakinis but they lack the beauty of their counterparts in Ramappa

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Checklist

Carry water and snacks as there are no shops around.

It can get hot roaming around, so carry a summer hat.

Architectural magnificence of Ghanpur

Places To Stay

There is no accommodation facility at Ghanpur. So Warangal is the best place to spend the night.

Distance

Ghanpur is located at a distance of 75 km from Warangal and 11 km from Ramappa Temple.

Nearby Attractions

Ramappa Temple, Palampet, is a must see place on the way.

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