Kakatiya Architecture


  • Between the 12th and the 14th centuries, the Kakatiya dynasty dominated the majority of the eastern Deccan region.
  • During the Kakatiya dynasty's reign in 1163–1323 CE, a famous Vesara temple architectural style known as Kakatiya architecture was created.

  • The majority of Kakatiya architecture is influenced by Chalukya architecture, a synthesis of Nagara and Dravidian forms.

Kakatiya architecture's main characteristics are:

  • The unusual architecture, engineering, and ornamentation of the Kakatiyan temple complexes are evidence of the influence of the Kakatiyan sculptor.
  • The Kakatiya Temples are notable for and evolved from the later-Chalukyan style of temple building and decorating known as Trikutaalyas, as well as the sculptural art and adornment particular to the time and the Kakatiyan Empire.
  • The Kakatiya temples, which are largely dedicated to Siva, exhibit a harmonic synthesis of North Indian and South Indian architectural traditions in their construction, which affected the political atmosphere of the Deccan.

Is this a combination of south Indian and north Indian styles?

  • They inherited the Dravida style from the south as well as the Nagara Bhumija style from the north.
  • The most important of these temples are the Ramappa temple in Palampet, the Thousand Pillar temple in Hanamkonda, and the temples in the Warangal fort, which also includes the enormous, deserted Swayambhunadha temple complex.

Who built the Temple of a Thousand Pillars?

Rudra Deva built the Rudreshwara Swamy Temple, popularly known as the Thousand Pillar Temple, in 1163 AD. One of the best specimens of Kakatiya architecture and sculpture is this temple.

At Gateway, Keerthi Thoranas:

Keerthi Thoranas is another example of a unique Kakatiya design utilized only in this region for the gateways to temple complexes.

Buildings that are earthquake-resistant employing iron dowels and sandbox technology:

  • Kakatiya built magnificent structures that can endure powerful earthquakes around 800 years ago.
  • Two great cases of sandbox-built structures that can withstand earthquakes are the Ramappa Temple and the 1000 Pillar Temple.
  • Kakatiya utilized the sand to build the building's foundations. Depending on the size, foundations were filled with a powdered mixture of granite, jaggery, and Terminalia chebula (known in Telugu as karakakaya) to make the sand mixture more durable.
  • On this Sand Mixture foundation, only substantial, weighty structures have been built.
  • They also fastened the stones of walls, pillars, and temple rooftops with iron dowels to decrease the impacts of seismic vibrations.
  • Each of the boulders used to construct these dowels had tiny tunnels or holes drilled through them into which melted iron was poured.
  • These dowels firmly hold the rocks together as a result, making the entire building stronger and fitting like a frame.

Detailed Carvings:

  • The carvings in the temples range in subject matter from upana to prasthara.
  • The other most intriguing details include the lattice window and doorframes, which are joined to the pillars by exquisite open works.

Location Near Tank, Temple, and Town:

  • The connection between the Tank, Temple, and Town that is a hallmark of Kakatiya architecture is another distinguishing attribute.
  • They built the temples next to the bodies of water (such lakes and tanks) they had made.
  • The development of thriving communities with interconnected temples was invariably a result of water tanks (structures used to conserve water).

The Nandi Mantapa:

  • At the entrance to the Shiva shrine, as in all Shiva temples, stands a large Nandi.
  • Black basalt was used to carve the colossal structure of Nandi.

Shrines of Shiva Facing East:

  • The other shrines face south and west, whereas Shiva's shrine faces east.
  • This was so that the early morning sun's rays would shine directly on the Shiva Lingam, as requested by the Kakatiya, who were followers of Lord Shiva.

The Star Style:

  • The Ramappa temple and every Kakatiya temple building are shaped like stars.

Ramappa Temple's highlights include:

  • The Ramappa temple was constructed in 1213 AD during the Kakatiya Empire's rule by Recharla Rudra, a commander of Kakatiya monarch Ganapati Deva.
  • The presiding deity (Shivalingam) in this place is Ramalingeswara Swamy.
  • It is also referred to as the Ramappa temple after the 40-year sculptor who created it.
  • Only this particular temple bears the artist's name.
  • The Ramalingeswaram temple was built over the course of 40 years, beginning in 1173 AD and ending in 1213 AD.

Waters and drainage system:

  • The temple's surrounding rainwater drainage system sheds light on the Kakatiyas' advanced technological skills.
  • Ramappa Lake, which is next to the temple, is always full with water.
  • A levee and sluices were utilized to form the lake between the two mounds.
  • The water level is 35 feet, and it has a 2,912 TMC storage capacity. The pond is 610 meters long.
  • Two sluices are used by farmers to cultivate two crops annually on roughly 10,000 acres. This pond continues to be the primary one nearby.

Resources Used:

  • The temple was constructed using stone. But the Sanctorum was built of thin brick to lower the weight of the temple in conformity with the properties of the land.
  • These bricks float on water and are smaller than those used nowadays. The nation has never used such bricks, and it is still unknown how they were manufactured.
  • Inside the temple, the maha mandapam and parts of the sculptures are made entirely of black stone, while the façade is built of red and white stones.

Sculptures or themes:

  • The Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Shivatandavam, and the Sivakalyanam dance styles are all shown in beautiful sculptures.
  • Additionally, the sculptures feature significant portions of the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Ksheera Sagara Mathanam, and Sivaparvati Kalyanam. Additionally featured are dance and martial arts.
  • Around the temple are twelve statues depicting Madanikas, Naginis, and Koyastris in various poses. A couple of the statues highlight the role that women played in the Kakatiya kingdom as well as their ornamentation.
  • The Nandi idol faces the sanctum, while the Kateshwara and Kameshwara temples are on the left and right, respectively.
  • The sculptures in the temple focused mostly on the Perini Shivatandava.

Technology Related to Earthquakes:

  • The Ramappa temple, which dates back 800 years and was constructed employing sandbox technology, is still intact today.
  • A three-meter-deep foundation is dug and filled with sand at the temple construction site. Maintaining moisture is important.
  • On the sand, stones were stacked to create the temple.

Other characteristics include:

  • The Shivalingam in the Sanctorum is clearly visible even without electric lighting. In front of the Sanctorum, in the mahamandapana, are four large black stone pillars. The lingam seems brighter as the light from the outside catches it.
  • In some places, there are pictures of Egyptians and Persians. They are known to have communicated with outsiders throughout the Kakatiya dynasty. There are also few statues of Buddhists and Jains.

Overview of the Kakatiya Dynasty:

  • The Kakatiya dynasty of South India dominated the majority of the eastern Deccan region, which today encompasses Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, as well as a tiny piece of eastern Karnataka and southern Odisha, between the 12th and 14th centuries.
  • Orugallu, today known as Warangal, served as their capital.
  • The Rashtrakutas and Western Chalukyas were feudatories to the early Kakatiya monarchs for more than two centuries.
  • They took over the area in 1163 CE under Prataparudra I by putting down other Chalukya subjects in Telangana.
  • Ganapati Deva (1199–1262) considerably expanded Kakatiya territory in the 1230s and established Kakatiya sovereignty over Telugu-speaking lowland delta districts close to the Godavari and Krishna rivers.
  • Ganapati Deva was followed by Rudrama Devi (1262–1289), one of the few queens in Indian history.
  • When Marco Polo visited India between 1289 and 1293, he spoke highly of Rudrama Devi's suzerainty and temperament.
  • She was successful in halting raids into Kakatiyan land by the Devagiri Yadavas (Seuna).
  • Alauddin Khilji of the Delhi Sultanate invaded the Kakatiya territory in 1303, which was disastrous for the Turks.
  • In 1323, the Kakatiya army bravely resisted Ulugh Khan's second attack, but they were ultimately defeated.
  • During the Kakatiya dynasty, a distinctive architectural style also emerged; famous examples include the Warangal Fort, the Hanamkonda Thousand Pillar Temple, the Ramappa Temple in Palampet, and the Kota Gullu in Ghanpur.
  • The Kakatiya era is well-documented by inscriptions, which include over 1,000 stone inscriptions and 12 copper-plate inscriptions.
  • One of the sources is a book released by the Government of Andhra Pradesh in 1978 by P.V.P. Sastry on the history of the Kakatiyas.