Do the bricks float? How does a structure stand on a sand foundation for so many centuries? How was the hardest rock carved like a mirror? These, and many such questions are what a team of foreigners visiting Palampet village in Venkatapur mandal posed, keen to know more about the ancient Ramappa temple.
A group of officials of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are slated to visit the temple on September 25 to inspect this historic monument for the World Heritage Site tag.
A 40-year labour of love
The temple, according to the inscriptions found there was built in 1213 AD by Kakatiya general Recherla Rudra during the reign of Kakatiya king Ganapathi Deva. According to local lore, it took nearly 40 years for the sculptor, Ramappa, and his team to build this temple where Lord Sri Ramalingeswara is the presiding deity. The majestic temple is known for many architectural marvels – a flute carved out of stone at the entrance of sanctum santorum sounds like a real flute when tapped with a finger; the bricks used for construction of the Gopuram float on water; the pillars that support the roof reflect the sun and the roof’s columns depict four different epics on the four sides. They are beautifully carved with such precision that one can pass a strand of hair through the intricate carvings.
Tested by invasions
Speaking to The Hindu , district Collector C. Narayana Reddy said the temple is unique in the world and one cannot find such a temple with such beautiful architecture. “This is the uniqueness of the Kakatiya rulers. Another surprising thing is despite many invasions and ravages of time, the main structure still stands majestically,” he explained.
According to him, the district administration has applied for the World Heritage Site tag for the Ramappa temple with a detailed report listing out its unique features. “I strongly hope that the team of experts coming from UNESCO will also be impressed by the beauty of this temple and include it in the list of World Heritage Sites,” Mr. Narayana Reddy said.
Once the temple gets the prestigious tag, apart from attracting tourists from all over the world, it would also get funds for its maintenance. This would also lead to more local employment and business with increased tourist footfalls.
Unique 3-T concept
The Kakatiya kings seems to have adopted the concept called 3Ts – temple, town and tank – as the temple stands on the sprawling Ramappa lake, which is another major attraction here. For the benefit of tourists, the State government has built cottages, and the surrounding forest makes the visit enthralling.