Ghanpur Group of Temples, Ghanpur (Mulug), Warangal, AP
Ghanpur Group of Temples
The Hidden Gem of Kakatiya Architecture
The scattered ruins of the Ghanpur Temple complex, locally known as Kotagullu, looks like a huge open air museum, with crumbling structures and scattered sculptures.
Although lesser known than the nearby famed Ramappa Temple of Palampet, the ruined Ghanpur Temple Complex should be a must visit from tourist visiting Warangal.
The Ghanpur group of temples were probably constructed by Ganapati Deva of Kakatiya dynasty in the early 13th century.
The Kakatiyas became a dominant power in Andhra Pradesh at the same time as the Hoysalas emerged in Karnatak.
Both the Hoysalas and Kakatiya dynasties were great patrons of architecture with very similar architectural style, leading to the construction of several temples, spread over the modern day Karnataka and Andhra Pragesh.
Ghanpur, once the citadel of power of the mighty Kakatiya dynasty, was plundered during the invasion of the Giyasuddin Tughlaq in 1323.
In spite of the severe damage the temple survived and even after years of human neglect and nature’s toll the spectacular Ghanpur Group of Temples can still be seen to this day.
Located about 65 km South West of Warangal the Ghanpur Group of Temples is restored by the Andhra Pradesh State Archeology Department.
The dilapidated temple complex, consists of 22 structures, of different shape and size, enclosed within a doubled walled complex.
Sadly the entrance of the Gahnpur Group of Temples is not marked wit a board, depicting the brief history of the structures.
Six small Shiva shrines welcomes one to the ruined complex. In spite of the ruined state the Ghanpur Group of temples seems to a symphony of scattered stones.
The main Shiva Temple at the centre is the prime attraction. Built on a high star shaped platform the roof of the temple have long collapsed.
A sole Nandi Bull, at the centre of the courtyard, remains the only witness of the glorious days of the Kakatiya Dynasty. The main shrine also contains bracket figures of yalis and mandakinis but they lack the grace and beauty of their counterpart in Ramappa.
The East facing main shrine also contains exotic freezes, including a intricately curved granite door frame leading to the inner sanctum. The walls contain several sandstone freezes of elephant and lotus.
The main Shiva shrine is flanked on either side by two structures, to the North lies another Shiva shrine and to the South lies a Mandapa.
The Shiva temple on the North follows the same plan as the main shrine but much smaller in size but is more or less intact.
The structure on the South is a Mandapa. The roof of the mandapa has survived the test of time and remains intricately balanced on tumbling pillars.
Each of the pillar consists of three section, consisting of square, octagonal and circular parts. Some of the squared section contains sculptured panels.
Two sculptures of Shiva and Vishnu, probably excavated from the temple complex, stands guard at the entrance of the Mandapa.
The complex also contains several other structures, including the six minor Shiva Temples at the entrance.
The entire complex is littered with large slabs of sandstones, severely of which contain intricately curved freezes.
- Ghanpur has no place to stay and is best visited from Warangal (Haritha Hotel Kaktiya, APTDC, Ph: 0870 2562236/37)
- The trip can be clubbed with Ramappa Temple, Cherial Scroll Painting and Laknavaram
This trip was part of a FAM (familirazation) tour of Hyderabad and Warangal conducted by Andhra Paradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC). Special thanks to:
- Kalyani, Consultant Sales and Marketing, APTDC
- Dr. P. Jogi Naidu, Dy. Director (Retd.), Archeology and Museums, AP
- Kiran Mehata and Sunil Vidayanatahn my fellow FAM tour participant
- Santosh our driver
- Haritah Hotels
- All the staff of APTDC