About the empire
Kakatiya dynasty (1163-1323 C.E.) was a very distinguished South Indian dynasty which shaped history and civilization of the region. This dynasty was preceded by Western Chalukyan Empire and Eastern Chalukyas, initially ruled over upland dry region on Deccan Plateau of South India, traditionally known as Telangana. The predecessors of the dynasty rose in feudatory ranks in Chalukyan Empire in the region. Venna, Gunda, Erra, Beta, Prola-I and Durgaraja were a few of the early rulers in the family. Prola-II, son of Durgaraja made efforts to win over some territories in the western parts of Chalukyan Empire around 1157 to 1158 C.E. This was a first rebellion attempt by Kakatiya feudatory chief against the declining Western Chalukayan Empire. He died in a battle fighting against Velanti Choda ruler Gonka-II. Prataparudra-I (1158-1195 C.E.), son of Prola-II declared in 1163 that the status of Kakatiyas as feudatory chiefs of Chalukyas was over. He declared that Kakatiya’s kingdom was now an independent kingdom. The Kakatiya rulers had built thousands of small reservoirs or tanks across Telangana and interconnected them for efficient water management. The people in the Kakatiya kingdom could easily manage and maintain these minor water management systems. This was the essence of decentralized system of governance where even a villager could have a control over this most precious resource, water. This empowered the people as they enjoyed controlling over their resources and trading the path of development on their own. The same policy was followed even after India got independence from British in 1947.
Famous kings of their empire
Betaraja-I (1000-1052): Founded the Kakatiya dynasty and ruled as feudatory chief of Kalyani Chalukyas. Established his capital at Koravi and was succeeded by his son Prolaraja-I.
Prolaraja-I (1052-1076): Ruled as feudatory of Kalyani Chalukyas, He was the devotee of Shiva and popularly known as 'Arigajakesari'. Built Kesari Tatakam and got hereditary rights of Anumakonda Vishaya from Someshwara of Kalyani Chalukyas.
Betaraja-II (1076-1108): Ruled as feudatory of Kalyani Chalukyas and built a huge tank at Anumakonda in the part of water harvest policy of Kakatiya's.
Prola-II (1110-1158): Prola-II ruled from A.D 1110-1158 as he expanded the dynasty to south and declared his independence.
Rudradeva (1158-1195): Rudra who ruled during A.D. 1158-1195, was a very much renowned ruler in Kakatiya Dynasty. As he stretched his empire till the north as far as till the Godavari Delta. To serve as a second capital, he constructed the fort at Warangal and also faced the invasions of Yadavas of Devagiri.
Mahadeva (1195-1198): Next to ascend the throne was Mahadeva who extended the throne till Coastal Areas.
Ganapathideva (1198-1262): Ganapatideva’s reign was the longest amongst all the Kakatiya rulers, starting from 1199 till 1262 CE during which he expanded his kingdom from the coastal Bay of Bengal in the east to Kanchipuram in the south. Yadavas of Devgiri captured Prince Ganapatideva with the help of Kakatiya feudatories when King Mahadeva was not in the fort. Mahadeva died while trying to release Ganapatideva from the Yadavas in year 1199 CE. Recherla Rudra was an exceptionally good general of Ganapatideva who crushed all the rebellions against the king. He ruled the kingdom in the absence of Ganapatideva and also constructed many temples and tanks on behalf of the king including the famous Ramappa temple and tank.
Rani Rudramadevi (1262-1296): Ganpathideva was followed by a unique ruler, Rudrama, the only queen of Andhra Pradesh. She not only broke the male bastion of becoming a ruler but also showed in due course of time that women can be better rulers. The only woman ruler of Andhra Pradesh not only fought against the neighboring Cholas and Yadavas to defend Kakatiya kingdom but also had to fight against her own nobles who were skeptical to accept a woman as their ruler and had ruled in male dominated society for more than 30 years. She further strengthened the fortifications around the capital, and contributed a great deal to the administration of the kingdom. Rudrama also improved irrigation facilities to her subjects which improved the agriculture in the region.
Prataprudra (1296-1323): He was the son of Rani Rudradevi's daughter, according to the Prolaya Nayaka Prataprudra copper plate inscription, Prataprdura committed suicide on the banks of river Narmada because he could not tolerate the humiliation and defeat against Delhi Sultanate ruler Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq.
Extent of their empire & Patronage towards the Hindu religion
Mahadeva was the second independent king of Kakatiya who continued to fight with Yadavas in the West. He reached at the wall of Devgiri, capital fort of Yadavas with his army but unfortunately got killed there and his son Ganpathideva was imprisoned by Yadavas in 1198 C.E. This news created shockwaves in Kakatiya kingdom which followed a chaos where almost every feudatory set out for a revolt. Ganpathideva controlled all the rebellion factions and ruled for good 60 years over this and had expanded the kingdom beyond Kakatiya’s traditional stronghold, upland Telangana and brought many more lowland delta areas around the Godavari and Krishna rivers where the Telugu-speaking population was dominant, under his control. For the expansion of kingdom, he required to fight a lot of battles outside the kingdom but he never neglected the traditional capital of Kakatiyas which was then known as Orugallu. Ganpathideva arranged strengthening of the capital by building a massive wall around the entire city. The wall was fortified with strong bastions at strategic points. Ganpathideva had conquered Kalinga, Kanchi and subjugated the Yadavas of Devgiri which was the dream of his father. He was generous enough to help Manumasiddi to regain his kingdom of Nellore. These battles and triumphs and political alignments made him one of the greatest Kakatiya rulers. But what made him greater was his administrative abilities and contributions to society at large, he constructed umpteen reservoirs and number of temples as supporting structures to them. All the Kakatiya rulers contributed their bit in making their kingdom prosperous. They built their kingdom brick by brick, and they built the reservoirs stone by stone which supplied water to many villages in their kingdom.
Architecture style of the kings
Though most of the temples are characterized and evolved from later Chalukyan style of temple architecture and decoration, all the temples, and temple complexes of Kakatiyas have a distinct style, technology and decoration exhibiting the influence of Kakatiyan sculptor. The influence of Kakatiyas can be seen everywhere in the region, which is dotted by several temples and other heritage monuments. The four gateways called 'Kirti Stambhas' which face the four cardinal points of the compass is the interesting feature of Warangal fort temples architecture. The design of the gateways is redolent like the 'toranas' of the Great Stupa at Sanchi. The architecture and sculpture of these temples are magnificent as no one can fail to see the rich imagination, patient industry and skilful workmanship of the builders of the temples of the Kakatiya period. The foundations are strengthened using the special sand box technique. The skill of Kakatiya sculptors is manifested in the adroit craftsmanship as well as the flawless carving techniques in their art. The ingenuity of the Kakatiya era sculptors is clearly seen in the art of lathe turned, and polished dolerite and granite stone sculptures and the exquisite craft works of Nava rangamandapa. The temples are known for its richly carved pillars, perforated screens, special icons like rock-cut elephants and monolithic dolerite Nandi's.
Key temples built/enhanced during Kakatiya empire
The common model of the hindu temple of South India has stressed its significance as the main integrative factor binding the disparate elements of precolonial society into one social fabric. As a focal point for economic redistribution, the South Indian temple was the conduit through which exchange occurred, material goods were transformed into the symbols of prestige and influence known as temple honors. Kakatiyan temple architecture show high levels of sophistication, and one can see the gradual evolution of their style starting from basic temples having a simple mandapa, antarala and garbhagriha, with pillars lacking sculptures to the complex trikuta and stellate form of the Thousand-pillared temple and finally reaching its climax in the exquisitely carved Rudresvara/Ramappa temple. During their three centuries rule, the Kakatiyas focused on developing the three T's : Town, Temple, and Tank. Keeping the basic monarchical form, the Kakatiyas gave great importance to decentralisation of authority by distributing power horizontally to their subordinates. The Nameswara temple in Pillalamarri village, Remnants of Swayambhu temple and Keerthi Thoranas, Warangal fort and Rudreswara (Ramappa) temple, Palampet were the major temples that were commonly patronised by almost all the Kakatiya rulers.
REMNANTS OF SWAYAMBU TEMPLE AND KEERTHI THORANAS - Warangal,Telangana, India
The group of temples and temple complex related structures in Warangal of Kakatiyan empire, signify a distinct architectural pattern, style and technology of the period and representative of the distinct regional style, exhibiting local innovation in temple building tradition. Kakatiya Kala Thoranam is a historical arch in the Warangal district, the Warangal Fort has four ornamental gates which originally formed the gates to the destroyed great Shiva temple which are known as Kakatiya Kala Thoranam or Warangal Gates. The archaeological remains of Swayambhu temple complex and Keerthi Thoranas demonstrate both a creative masterpiece, and a continuity and transformation through interchange of cultural values for many years of Indian and Asian art history.
THOUSAND PILLARS TEMPLE - Hanumakonda, Telangana, India
Thousand Pillar Temple is one of the finest examples of Kakatiya architecture built by Rudra Deva in 1163 A.D in the style of star shaped Chalukyan temples and named after him as Sri Rudreshwara Swamy Temple. The entire structure of the Thousand Pillar Temple is in star shape. Intricately carved pillars support the structure of the temple while captivating sculptures add exquisiteness to the walls. As you enter the temple, on both sides of the entrance a beautifully carved sculpture of elephants greets you and the carvings on the ceilings of the temple and its exterior walls are also equally enticing.
RAMAPPA TEMPLE - Palampeta, Telangana, India
Ramappa Temple is an ancient temple built by a General Recherla Rudra, during the period of the Kakatiya ruler Ganapati Deva in 1213 A.D, history says that it took 40 years to build this temple. The sand stone temple is crowned with a grand sikhara and is surrounded by pradakshina patha and an imposing 9 feet Nandi statue is quite famous here. The corners of the ceiling at all 3 entrances have total of 12 sculptures of madanikas marvelously carved in different poses, which are the main attraction of the temple and the figures of madanikas made from black granite with metal like finishing resembles the famous sculptures of Belur Chennakesava Temple.
BHADRAKALI TEMPLE - Warangal, Telangana, India
The temple is believed to be built in 625 A.D by the King Pulakeshin-II of Chalukya dynasty to commemorate his victory over Vengi region of Andhra Desham, as per the writings on the temple wall and believed to be the oldest temples for Goddess Bhadrakali in the country. Interestingly, The Kakatiyas negotiated a truce with Allauddin Khilji by offering the diamond in exchange not to invade this temple. He sent his slave and personal confidant Malik Kufur to personally transport the diamond.
SRI ERAKESHWARA TEMPLE - Pillalamarri, Telangana, India
This Erakeshwara swamy temple was built on 1208 year by Racharla Bethi Reddy in memory of his wife Erasanamma. This temple belonged to the Kakatiya era and is a living example of the architectural greatness of the Kakatiya rulers. It displays magnificently carved pillars and walls where every sculpture is a self-explanatory poem and the walls of the temple are also decorated with stunning paintings. A certain style of the craftsmen of the Kakatiya era who have imparted a touch of excellence into the Telangana art and culture is an indication of the meticulous structural design. The water well of 800 years old, Beautiful Carvings and Nandi of Pillalamarri Temple is the main attractions of the temple.
SRI MALLIKARJUNA SWAMY TEMPLE - Ainavolu, Warangal, Telangana, India
Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple of Inavolu is a finest example of kakatiya architecture, whose construction was ordered by Sri Ayanna, a minister of the Kakatiya dynasty. The main attraction of the temple is the 108 pillars put together in the form of a chariot. The rich architectural carvings depicting the Kakatiya dynasty with 4 entrance gates and a Keerthi Toranam on the main entrance attract the devotees. The rich architectural carvings depicting the Kakatiya dynasty with 4 entrance gates and a Keerthi Toranam on the main entrance attract the devotees.
SRI PADMAKSHI TEMPLE - Meerpet, Hanamkonda, Telangana, India
Hanumakonda's Padmakshi Temple is one of the oldest temples in Warangal built by the great Kakatiya kings. The main attraction of this temple is the wonderful pillar called the Annakonda Pillar which is a splendid quadrangular column made of black granite stone, and finds place at the entrance of the temple. The four faces of this stunning pillar are impressive and marvelous. Till the Kakatiya Kings renovated and established the Goddess Padmakshi, previously it was a ‘Basadi’ a Jain temple and also has rich sculpture of the Jain Tirthankaras and other Jain Gods and Goddesses.