Orugallu or Ekasila nagaram famous for medical and engineering colleges today and also popularly known as Warangal was on our “To visit’” list for long. It is not very far from my place and we had been close to its sister city Kazipet long back but Warangal for some reason was eluding us for 14 long years.
It took a sudden plan one fine December morning to travel to the tricities of Kazipet-Hanumakonda and Warangal. What was to be ideally a two day visit turned out as a day trip since we could not get accommodated in the Ramappa lake nature resort we had chosen to stay (we were not interested in a hotel stay) . There was a telangana Doctors conference and so both the resorts were booked. But we were not disappointed with the trip, because of the beautiful glory of orugallu that we experienced during our short visit.
It was late morning when we started, after a 2.5 hour drive ( 80kms was driven by my daughter) on beautiful toll road and through Kakatiya kala thoranams , driving past the famed NIT , we visited the 1000 pillared temple which was pretty well maintained by the archaeological department( but they could do much better) but…. It was something else that stole my heart in the land of Kakatiyas.
It was around 3 in the noon when we came out of the temple, unsure where to head next, we asked an autodriver what else fell on the route he told “Ilavarangal”. I asked him to repeat, he said again “Ilavarangal”….now it was time for me to repeat if I heard him right …I asked him “ Ilavarangal??!!”…He said yes. I asked him “Yeh ilavarangal kya hai? Mandir hai ya palace?...and he said "palace".
Excited and convinced with his answer, we took a U turn and travelled 20kms past Kakatiya medical college and drove up on a road flanked by, what looked like a fort wall. We stopped there and asked somebody the way to the palace and it is was there things fell in place. The person who helped with directions pronounced clearly it was “Kila Warangal” meaning “ Fort Warangal” it is a fort and not a palace....and we were in the right direction.
Finally when we reached the place, we were initially disappointed to see no fort and just ruins on an open land. The entry fee was only 5rs and what one could prominently see on that open land was the thoranam which we had all along been seeing ever since we entered the tricities through kazipet. The thoranam is the stamp of Kakatiya architecture which is a beautiful arch with intricate carvings which one can see at most places in the tri cities . The kakatiya kala thoranam is even the Telangana state emblem and so was familiar with it.
Having come thus far, we bought the tickets and entered the place and only when we were closer to the rearranged remnants and ran our fingers on them, it slowly sinked into us what a palatial place this must have been in the 12th century under the Kakatiyas.
The kakatiyas who were originally fisher folk were blessed by Kakati Devi who then became Royals. They ruled the whole Eastern southern range …from Chattisgarh to Karnataka upto Trichy in the south. Orugallu or Warangal was their capital till the Delhi sultanate defeated them in the 14th century and as is the tradition of the invaders, they ordered destruction of this fort which consisted of a svayambhu shiva tgemple , a temple of Ganesha, Nandi, the lovely wheel structure and many beautifully sculptured pillars with intricate carvings on polished black granite. All that remains today are the remnants which are maintained and rearranged by ASI and are a photographers delight. On closer look one realizes the stunning craftsmenship when just chisels and hammers must have been tools. Another notable point of this dynasty is that King Ganapatideva who constructed this fort had a daughter Rudramadevi whom he treated more like a son and appointed as his heir. I found this “treatment” something ahead of its times.
Unfortunately, there is no labels or boards describing the place although there is a sound and light show in English and Telugu late in the evening, which we had to miss .
When we drove back after a visit to the Kushmahal in the fort’s vicinity, I could’nt help but marvel at the the splendor of the Kakatiyas and I decided I must read the Kakatiya history and I am yet to read a detailed one.
This place is a photographers delight but unfortunately my pictures are all in DSLR which is now with my daughter in the hostel. But I present here a few pictures taken from my hand phone.( will edit to add those DSLR pictures)