D. Kishan Rao
Raichur: A pair of life-sized elephants, carved in white granite during the period of Kakatiya Dynasty in 13th Century, located in the fortress in Malliabad village, on the outskirts of Raichur, are in a state of neglect. The State Department of Archaeology has declared these elephants as historical monuments. But no signboard has been put up to indicate it.
The elephants were built when the original fort of Malliabad was built by the Kakatiya queen of Warangal in 1294 A.D. It is said that the beautifully sculptured elephants once adorned the gateway of the Malliabad fortress, which was one of the strongest frontier forts of the Kakatiya kings. Once the Vijayanagara Emperor Krishnadevaraya stayed with his army in this fort during the historic battle of Raichur in 1520 A.D. against the Adil Shahi Sultan of Bijapur.
The monuments are crumbling due to exposure to the elements and lack of maintenance. The monuments are left uncared in a field within the fortress within which the remnants of a historical temple are scattered around. A narrow entrance at a wall of the fort, which leads to the monuments, is blocked by thorny bushes and there are no specific paths to reach the monuments. Further, the way leading from all directions towards the monuments has been encroached upon for cultivation. The district administration too has no interest in protecting these explicitly carved stone elephants.
Since a decade, people who are interested in the preservation of historical monuments have appealed to the district administration to protect the monuments. Some historians had suggested shifting of the monuments to the museum of the Department of Archaeology in the city. Recently, the issue was also brought to the attention of Deputy Commissioner Tushar Girinath.
Recently, vandals had cut a portion of ear of an elephant, while they removed a tusk of another. People fear that the monuments may face further challenge posed by the vandals and disappear from the history of Raichur if no immediate attention is given to protect them.