Time travel might still be limited to sci-fi books. But if you want a trip down to the 13th century, you could head to the Warangal Fort in Telangana. A relic of the past, this fort is a marvelous spectacle of the Kakatiya dynasty
WORDS: AMOGH PUROHIT
TIME only makes history look even more beautiful. One such stunning example is the Warangal fort in Telangana. Built on a hillock Ekashila in the 13th century, this fort is one of the most significant architectural masterpieces of the Kakatiya dynasty.
The Warangal Fort stands as a worthy example of the historical opulence of the region during the reign of Kakatiya. The tri-city of Warangal-Hanamkonda-Kazipet is known for the Kakatiyas and Telugu culture.
Head towards the southeastern side of Warangal and you will not miss the grandeur of the fort even from a distance. Its architectural excellence and historical richness live up to the reputation. Warangal fort is sure to impress you with its imposing structure.
To ensure safety of the royal family, it was built in three layers of fortification. Although now in ruins, the remains of the fort still present a glimpse of the mesmerising craftsmanship and breathtaking artistry that can be seen in the motifs, sculptures, stonework and more throughout the fort.
Warangal fort has witnessed many battles and various invaders have destroyed parts of it. The remains of the fort have been recognised as a monument of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Kakatiya Rudradeva started the construction of Warangal fort when he shifted his capital to Warangal from Hanamkonda centuries ago. It was built under the leadership of Kakatiya Ganapatideva, one of the most illustrious rulers of the dynasty. The fort was considered to be an invincible seat of power.
Under Ganapatideva it was planned in such a way that it breathed protection for all dwellers. The fort boasts of three-layered fortification. The first is a 40-ft high mud wall; the second is a granite wall, closely fitted together. This was done with no mortar, showcasing another sign of architectural masterpiece. The third ring is where the main fort stands.
The fort was built as Ganapatideva had shifted the capital of the Kakatiya kingdom to Warangal from Hanamkonda. Later his daughter Rani Rudrama, who also ruled Kakatiya, looked after the completion of this fort.
This fort withstood many attacks and the destroyed parts tell its tales. In 1309, Malik Kafur, who was the general to Alauddin Khilji, had launched an attack on the fort during the rule of Prataparudra II. A large army attacked the fort in a battle that lasted for many months.
It also faced the wrath of the Sultans of Delhi. Eventually the Qutub Shahi dynasty took control of the fort, which later
came under the rule of Hyderabad Nizams.
Even after each onslaught, the fort held on to its grand beauty and stature. It is spread across 19 sq km and consists of around 45 towers. But the most attractive part of this fort is the ‘Gateway of Glory’.
This elegant gateway consists of four impressively carved massive pillars that have been built out of a single rock. Standing strong these pillars are around 30 feet high and present intricate carvings. These majestic gateways are also known as Kirti Toranas and represent the south Indian architectural style.
In the middle of the fort, there is a temple dedicated to mother Earth named as Swayambhudevi Alayam. It is said to have been built by Qutub Shahi kings.
Warangal fort has many ruins and the central part has been recognised as an archaeological zone. The ruins of Shiva Temple are another aspect of the fort that should not
Warangal fort has many ruins and the central part has been recognised as an archaeological zone. The ruins of Shiva Temple are another aspect of the fort that should not be missed. You can also see wall slabs, entrance pillars, ceiling panels, relics and many small shrines along the tour.
be missed. You can also see wall slabs, entrance pillars, ceiling panels, relics and many small shrines along the tour.
The main deity of the temple, Linga, with four faces of Lord Shiva has been kept in a shrine towards the southern complex of the fort. Regular prayers are still offered to this deity. The fort complex is also dotted with ponds and various small temples.
These remains offer an insight into the fort structure and of the Kakatiya era. Inscriptions on the pillars and the walls also speak about the period during the reign of the Kakatiyas.
The light and sound show in the evening should not be missed. After all, you wouldn’t want to go back from a fort without feeling like a king.