Located on the slopes of the Hanumakonda hill close to Warangal in Telangana, the Thousand Pillar temple(Veyyi Stambhala Gudi ) or the Rudreswara Swamy Temple is a popular pilgrimage in warangal. This temple has a long history and dates back to 1163 AD and took 72 years to construct! It was destroyed by the Tughlaq dynasty during their invasion of South India.
It comprises one temple and other building. There are one thousand pillars in the Mandapam building and the temple, but no pillar obstructs a person in any point of the temple to see the god in the other temple.
When you hear “Veyyi Stambalu” (thousand pillars) you imagine a farm of pillars. The mandapam (contributes 400 of 1000 pillars, was dismantled by the Archeological Survey of India for reconstruction. Unlike pillars in other temples of India, pillars of the main temple, are tightly knit and form its walls and so don’t seem like there are 600 of them.
The temple is star-shaped with several shrines and lingams. It is believed that a tunnel has been dug from this temple premises to the Warangal fort so that the royal family can travel through the tunnel and offer prayers while the enemy cannot trace them. As of today many of the structure is in fallen but the archeology department has started the renovation work and rebuilding the temple.
The temple is built in a star shape in the Chalukya style and comprises of three shrines which are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Surya. Because of this the temple central complex is known as the “Thrikutalayam“.
The temple is built on the slopes of the Hanamkonda Hills on a 1 meter high platform. Unlike most temples in India that face east, 1000 pillar temple faces south. Because, the Kakatiyas, worshipers of Lord Shiva, wanted early morning sun rays to fall directly on Shiva Lingam. So, of the three shrines, Shiva’s shrine faces east and other shrines face south and west. On the fourth side is Nandi. Adding to the uniqueness, the Nandi in 1000 pillar temple looks east, unlike most Nandis in Indian temples that look west. The Temple is notable for the richly carved pillars each pillar is carved in such a way that it depicts many pillars engraved in a single pillar.
The dancing platform which is viewed from any direction from the central complex is a marvel. The temple entrance has a giant Nandi (Monolithic) which is made from black Basalt is beautifully carved in a sitting position measures 6 feet in height and has chiseled ornaments and garlands.
Also you can see the elephants which are cut from the rock. To one side of the temple you will find a well which is made out of rock is used for cleaning of feet and hands before entering the temple.
Each pillar and any structure is beautifully carved and has uniqueness in the structure.
In and around the temple are many gardens and small lingam shrines. There is a well in the temple which is considered very sacred is used for drawing water.
The crumbling Kalyana Mandapam opposite the main sanctum sanctorum was dismantled for reconstruction in 2005. The present day engineers have taken out all the pillars from the building. After they lifted all the pillars they encountered a huge mass of sand. It took nearly two weeks for them to take away all the sand. It was wet sand, because of a pipe connection from the nearby water body named Bhadrakali Cheruvu.
Until few years ago, it was in bad shape with fallen columns, roof and broken statues and abandoned. It was a concerned citizen Gangu Upendra Sharma who took the initiative and turned it around. Since he started daily pujas, people began visiting the temple. The Government of India sanctioned Rs. 3 crore for restoration of Kalayana Mandapam in 2005 which is being executed. The festivals held at the temple include Maja Shivratri, Kunkuma Puja, Karthika Pournami, Nagula Chaviti, Ugadi, Ganesha Festival, Bonalu festival and the Bathukamma festival. Saralamma Yatra or Samakka is a fair that takes place here every two years.
No Brahma worshipped Unlike other temples where the Hindu Trinity (Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) are worshipped, here the Sun God is worshipped along with Lord Vishnu and Shiva. This could be because the Kakatiyas, who built the temple, were not into worshipping Lord Brahma.
TEMPLE TIMINGS: All Days of the Week 5:00 AM – 9:00 PM
More images here
After the temple we proceed to the Warangal Fort