The Thousand Pillar Temple or Rudreshwara Swamy Temple is a historic Hindu temple located in the town of Hanamakonda, Telangana State, India. It is dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Surya. Thousand Pillar Temple is a popular pilgrimage center, where thousands of devotees of all faith come here to pay their homage. The temple has an old and long history and dates back to the Chalukyan era. Thousand Pillar Temple, along with “Warangal Fort” and “Ramappa Temple” are added to the tentative list of World Heritage sites recognized by UNESCO.
An outstanding example of architectural brilliance during the reign of Kakatiya rule, Thousand Pillar temple is a place not only for devotees but for every history enthusiast and architecture lover. As the name suggests, the temple has a thousand pillars and is designed in the Kakatiya style of architecture.
The Thousand Pillar Temple was believed to be constructed during the period between 1175–1324 CE by order of the king, Rudra Deva. The temple depicts the typical Chalukyan style of architecture. Constructed for almost 72 years, the Thousand pillar temple also finds mention in the accounts of Marco Polo. The Kakatiyas dedicated the Thousand pillar temple to Lord Vishnu and Lord Surya as well. Its rock-cut elephant sculpture, massive monolith of Nandi (Lord Shiva’s divine vehicle), intricate carvings will leave you mesmerized. The spiritual aura of Thousand Pillar Temple makes the experience even more enriching. It stands out to be a masterpiece and achieved major heights in terms of architectural skills by the ancient Kakatiyavishwakarma sthapathis. The temple was destroyed by the Mughal Empire after the invasion of southern India. Massive renovation works have been undertaken to conserve and preserve the heritage of the temple.
The temple is star-shaped with several shrines and lingams. Though Shaivisam (devotion to lord Shiva) continued to be the religion of masses of kakatiya dynasty still intellectuals preferred the revival of Vedic rituals. They sought to reconcile the Vaishnavites (followers of lord Vishnu) and the Shaivites (followers of lord Shiva) through the worship of Harihara (combination of lord Vishnu and lord Shiva). There are 1,000 pillars in the structure, but no pillar obstructs a person in any point of the temple to see the God. The temple is supported by the richly carved out pillars. The screens and the beautiful sculptures which adorn the walls of the temple add to the magnificence of the structure. This temple is constructed by using an unique technique called sandbox technique for strengthening the foundation. The temple is surrounded by a big garden in which many small lingam shrines can be seen. There is a carving of a Nandi bull in the form of a highly polished black basalt monolith.
The Thousand Pillar Temple is constructed on a platform that is raised to a height of 1metre (3.3 ft) from ground level. Rock-cut elephants and perforated screens in the temple are characteristic of the then prevailing dynasty. This discovery has led some archaeologists to believe that the foundations of the temple might have been built upon water.
The best time to visit the Thousand Pillar Temple is during the winter months of October to March when the weather is pleasant in Warangal. Thousand pillar temple timings are from 6 AM to 8 PM.
How To Reach:
By Air: The nearest Airport is Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Hyderabad (150 km), Which is well connected to all major city of India.
By Rail: Warangal has well-established railway station, which connects all India and lies on South Central Railway zone.
By Road: Regular buses ply on the roads from Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Karimnagar, Khammam and other districts of Andhra Pradesh.
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