While the strong desire and determination of Telangana government to develop the Yadadri Temple on the lines of Tirumala is commendable; there is need to develop a model that reflects Telangana’s architectural glory of yore, writes Avala Buchi Reddy, former chairman of The Indian Institute of Architects, AP Chapter .
The torana architecture reached its climax in the Kirti-toranas of Warangal Fort. These are also called ‘Hamsa Toranas’. They are four toranas and they stand at the cardinal points of the Swayabhoo Temple, which is in ruins. It appears that the Kakatiya sculptors were the first to adopt this technique. These toranas, in style and technique, resemble the toranas at Ainole, but they exhibit superior skill and artistic excellence. Each torana has double pillars on either side and surmounted by a massive and copiously carved architrave. The pillars are uniform in design and ornamentation. The brackets supporting the laterally extended architrave of these toranas are very elegantly designed and aesthetically ornamented. The lower and upper portions of the brackets are adorned with stepped pyramidal tiers with deep recesses in between them. The outer and inner sides of it are occupied by two graceful Vyalas (Horned lions). The extreme projecting portions of the lower architrave are adorned with graceful hamsas (swans), which stand for purity. The lower portion of the architrave has a row of prominently inverted seven lotus bud pendants. The makara-torana, which is carved on the facing sides of upper portion of the architrave is a perforated one and at the same time exhibits a very high degree of perfection in the art of carving and composition
James Fergusson, a renowned British historian, rightly observes, “Their (Kiriti-toranas of Warangal) main interest lies in their being the lineal descendents of the four magnificent gateways at Sanchi, and they are curiously exemplifying. How, in the course of a thousand years or so, a wooden style of building may lose all the traces of its origin as clearly as they do; for it seems most unlikely that any such form could have been invented by anyone using stone constructions, as that only”.
The Kakatiya Kirti-torans are purely decorated with floral, geometrical, architectural and artistic majesty. They stand for grandeur of the temple around which they were erected. It is not an exaggeration to say that these toranas are one of its kind in Indian architecture.
Telangana’s bondage to torana concept is more than 2,100 years old. According to an inscription at southern Gateway of the Sanchi Stupa, it was built by the sculptors of the Andhra king, Sri Satkarni, whose reign has been dated by the scholars in the first half of the second century BC. Sri Satkarni was a Sathavahana king who ruled Andhra desha with his capital at Kotilingala of Karimnagar district of Telangana.
In view of the importance of Kirti-Toranas of Kakatiya rulers, the Telangana Government must reconsider the issue of gopuras to Yadadri Temple and adopt the majestic and creative imprints of centuries-old Kakatiya architecture, to flourish in future throughout Telangana as a signature landmark in tune with its current political ideology.