Hanumakonda in Warangal is a home to one of the very old temples of Andhra Pradesh, viz., the Thousand Pillar Temple. True to its name, beautifully carved thousand pillars adorn the place for ages. The temple is star-shaped, with three shrines, as it was built in ‘Trikootalaya’ style of architecture.
The temple is named as Sri Rudreswara Swami temple, after the name of the King Rudra Deva. The deity in the main sanctum sanctorum is that of Lord Shiva as ‘Rudreswara’. There are other two sanctorum were dedicated to Lord Vishnu as ‘Vasudeva’ and the Sun God as ‘Surya Deva’. But today, they are turned into office rooms of the temple authority. Now, only one sanctum sanctorum houses the idol of the main deity which is in the form of Shiva Lingam of about 7 feet tall (including its pedestal).
The very site of the temple, enunciates the great skills and fine workmanship of those times. At the south-facing entrance of the temple, you are welcomed by a Nandi (the bull) and an elephant. A finely carved Nandi, which is at the same level as the sanctum sanctorum of the three Gods, faces North of the temple entrance. This beautiful monolithic Nandi is carved out of a single rock made of black basalt and is about six feet high. A flight of four-five huge steps takes you to a main hall where the shrines are located. As you enter the hall, there is an idol of Lord Ganesha which is about 5 feet tall, towards the left hand side. You can find a mandapam called as navarangal Mandapam, with four finely carved black shiny pillars which are huge in diameter. The intricate carvings on the pillars, the ceiling slabs, the exterior walls, the splendid sculptors of the deities and the four central pillars, leaves you astounding.
One just keeps speculating the dexterity of those artisans who had left no leaf unturned to make the temple one of its kinds. The sculpture of Lord Indra with His Airavata (the five-headed divine elephant that is usually associated with Lord Indra), is a remarkable piece of Kakatiyan art. A beautifully carved multi-armed Lord Narasimha (Vishnu in His man-lion incarnation) on the lintel at the entrance of the north shrine, deserves mention.
This marvellous piece of art depicts the God in the dancing form with His Chakra, conch, rosary, fear-not-gesture and with many other attributes which are difficult to make out. At the top of the lintel, to the left and right, runs a wall painting of flying gandharvas (husbands of Apsaras (angels)), below and just above the lobed arch. At the feet of the God, you can find many other Gods like Garuda kneeling down and two larger figures, probably being Vishnu’s club and mace. In the compound wall of the temple, there are many pillars which once adorned a three hundred pillared hall just opposite the entrance of the temple. You’ll also find a ‘Kundam’ (water tank) towards the left side of the temple premises.