The Kakatiyas were the most powerful kings of Telangana during the 12th and 13th centuries. The 200 or so years of their rule mark the highpoint in the prosperity, culture and art traditions of this part of the Deccan. Nowhere is this better seen than in the Thousand-Pillared Temple of Hanamkonda and the Ramappa Temple of Palampet, both of which preserve a profusion of elaborate carvings. Though the great Svayambhu Shiva temple in Warangal that served as a dynastic shrine for the Kakatiyas was later demolished, its four ceremonial entrance portals, or toranas, still stand, giving a glimpse into the imposing architecture of the era. That the Kakatiyas also invested in agriculture is evident from the vast reservoirs, or cheruvus, that they constructed, providing much needed water to local farmers in the past and down to the present day.
Authored by Phillip B. Wagoner, a specialist on the literature and art traditions of Telangana, and illustrated with specially commissioned photographs by Surendra Kumar, this guidebook is the first to describe the sites and monuments associated with the Kakatiyas, their contemporaries and successors in and around the twin cities of Hanamkonda-Warangal. Many of these locations may easily be reached as a day trip from Hyderabad and it is hoped that this guidebook will prove informative and serviceable to scholars and students, as well as to general visitors.
SURENDRA KUMAR is a photographer based in Hampi, Karnataka, specialising in topographic panoramas. His images have been published in Discovering the Deccan: A Panoramic Journey Through Historical Landscapes & Monuments (Mumbai 2011); Temple Architecture and Art of the Early Chalukyas (New Delhi 2014); and several of the Deccan Heritage Foundation guidebooks, most recently Buddhist Rock-Cut Monasteries of the Western Ghats (Mumbai 2017).