After years of delay, the ambitious restoration project of the colossal mandapa of the historic Rudreshwara Temple at Hanamkonda, popularly known as Thousand Pillar Temple, appears to be nearing completion. Devotees should be able to see the restored mandapa by April. Sculptors from Tamil Nadu are relentlessly working to restore the 859-year-old pavilion that is currently hidden behind scaffolding.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which took up the restoration project ths March, brought in the sculptors from Tiruchy in Tamil Nadu. “The work is progressing at good pace and erection of the pillars has been completed and now installation of beams is under progress,’‘ a functionary of ASI told businessline.
The temple was constructed by Rudradeva, the first independent king of the Kakatiya Dynasty in 1163 AD, signaling his status as an independent sovereign of the famous ruling dynasty of the Telangana and Andhra region.
The temple, which showcases the prominent stylistic features of Kakatiya architecture such as dominant pillars and highly ornate sculptures in stone, is a trikutalaya which houses the shrines of Shiva, Vishnu and Surya. It was destroyed during the invasion by Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, who ruled over the Delhi sultanate in 1323 AD.
In the medieval period, the temple not only served as a place of worship but also a hub of social, economic and cultural hub. The mandapa was used for holding the meeting of village councils (Gram Sabhas) as well as performances by the temple girls (Devadasis).
The restoration of the mandapa is obviously a complex task. The Tamil Nadu craftsmen have been specially commissioned to chisel the gigantic monolithic blocks of granite that match the lofty original stone beams which were vandalised by the invaders. The granite is being sourced from nearby hills of Urusugutta, according to ASI officials.
The mandapa leads to the main temple with a majestic Nandi seated on the pathway. Once completed, one can get a panoramic view of the temple complex in a straight line from the entrance of the mandapa.