Ramalingeshwara Temple also known as Ramappa Temple is located 77 km from the famous Warangal Fort, in the tiny village of Palampet Venkatapur Mandal, in southern India.
The inscription in the temple dates back to 1213 AD and says that it was built by General Recherla Rudra Reddy during the reign of the Kakatian ruler Ganapati Deva.
However, the temple was named after its architect, and this is perhaps the only temple in India bearing the name of the master creator.
Of all the temples dating from the same period, the Ramalingeshwara Temple is the best preserved.
The structure is included in the UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage Sites in 2019, as are the Warangal Fort and the Temple of a Thousand Pillars.
The Ramalingeshwara Temple rises majestically on a star-shaped platform 1.8 meters high.
Structure And Decoration Of The Ramalingeshwara Temple
Basically, the columns of the temple are decorated with images of Apsaras (Divine Beauties).
The figures are made from solid huge pieces of basalt (about five tons each) and polished to a mirror shine.
Until now, it remains a mystery how the ancients made it and, most importantly, how it was lifted and installed without cranes and modern equipment.
Nevertheless, the temple still stands today.
Moreover, such basalt inserts are typical for many Indian temples of the same period, but the majority of them are almost all destroyed.
For example, in Fort Warangal, these elements of basalt ornaments were preserved only in the form of scattered fragments.
There is no artificial lighting in the temple, and twilight reigns.
In addition, this is a functioning temple, and filming in it is not welcome, especially in the altar part.
All the basalt elements of the temple, including the columns, are polished to a luster and covered with the finest carvings.
Moreover, this carving is not only skillful- the technique of its execution is beyond any understanding from the point of view of a modern person.
Many details of the jewelry are see-through.
These micro-holes have a diameter of several millimeters, they are curved, so it is impossible to insert a straight needle or a thin drill into them, but only a flexible wire.
How could ancient craftsmen have done such jewelry work in solid basalt?
Basalt columns and bas-reliefs on them emit an amazing metallic sound if you gently knock on them. Blogger Pravin Mohan, who has devoted a lot of time to studying mysterious Indian artifacts, believes that such an effect could only be obtained if stone casting technology was used.
Stone Casting Technology
The stone melts, as, for example, in a volcanic eruption.
But in solidified lava masses, the top layer is always fragile due to rapid cooling therefore, it is not possible to use primitive methods.
In addition, not every stone is suitable.
Melting and casting are possible only from basalt as only it maintains the integrity of the crystal lattice and the quality of stone products does not suffer.
Smelting requires a temperature of about 1500 ºC. Ordinary coal – charcoal and even stone – could not create such high temperature, hence for it one needs coal chips.
In addition, oxygen supply to the blast furnace is also required.
Thus, if we accept Mohan’s version, the ancient Indians should have had well-functioning technologies and whole factories for the production of stone casting products, judging by the number of buildings and products made of basalt.
There is a version that the so-called yoni, leftover from an ancient civilization, and which literally dot the territory of India, are nothing more than parts of smelting furnaces for stone.
Moreover, each yoni is equipped with a drain.
But no traces were found on them and there is no evidence of this version.
Moreover, some yoni are superbly polished, have an ideal shape, sharp edges (and this is almost a thousand years later!), Which is completely unnecessary for a melting furnace.
What’s The Mystery Behind The Incredible strength Of Ramalingeshwara Temple?
The area was hit by a massive earthquake, which occurred on April 1, 1843.
Almost all the buildings around were destroyed, but the temple survived, although by this time it was already 600 years old.
The stone blocks of the floor jumped out of the foundations and rose, and the pillars of the columns dropped by about 30 cm.
However, the structure somehow survived.
The Seismic resistance of the temple is explained by stating these two reasons.
1) Floating stones
Firstly, the roof, or rather the tower of the temple, is made of so-called floating or lightweight stones.
The stones were classified as floating stones as they do not sink in water.
An Indian blogger demonstrates this feature in his video.
Samples of these stones were sent for examination to Dr. Habib Haman, chief chemist at the state industrial laboratory in Hyderabad.
The expert said that the bricks have an artificial origin and a porous structure, thanks to which they “float well in water.”
“The material from which the porous brick is made was sawdust. Sample weights are between 1⁄3 and 1⁄4 of a regular brick of the same size. “
Outwardly, these stones look like pumice.
But it is mined only in areas of volcanic activity, and there are practically no volcanoes in India.
In addition, pumice is a very fragile material for construction.
The recipe for making light bricks has not survived to this day, and we can only guess how and from what they were made.
But such a lightweight structure is flexible and retains its integrity in case of an earthquake.
2) Special layout
The second reason, according to the Indian blogger, was the peculiarities of the floor and foundation of the temple.
The floor blocks were not rigidly connected to the columns of the temple but were inserted into special grooves.
That is why the lifted slabs did not “twist” the pillars but only jumped out of the grooves.
At the same time, the columns sagged slightly.
The Secret Building Material Of The Ancients
Interestingly, the temple stands on a “pillow” more than three meters thick.
First, the builders dug a pit and filled it with an unusual mixture of powdered granite, unrefined cane sugar, river sand, and some unique binder that laboratory tests could not determine.
When the mass froze, a temple was built on this platform.
Perhaps it was the “pillow” that gave stability to the columns and bearing supports.
They went only 30 cm deep but did not fall.
Researcher from the Research Center “Laboratory for Alternative History” (SRC LAI) Yekaterina Norkina is confident that ancient architects took into account the high probability of earthquakes when designing temples.
The treatise Vastu Shastra (“Science of Building”) gives detailed recommendations on how to build a temple so that it does not collapse from tremors.
Ramalingeshwara Temple In Modern Times
Temple of Ramappa is more fortunate than others.
For example, here is the state of another temple nearby.
It seems that it is about to collapse, but the impression is deceiving.
Perhaps, in a state of “on the brink”, he stood for hundreds of years after the earthquake and will stand for the same amount.
Parts of the structure are held tightly due to the locking joints.
Moreover, the connecting elements are always rectangular, not round, in order to exclude the turning of the prefabricated parts.
This type of connection of parts of columns and slabs is found everywhere in ancient Indian temples.
In Warangal, for example, many scattered parts with thorn-and-groove elements simply lie on the ground.
In the Ramappa temple, some of the columns inside the building bent but did not crack, thanks to the knowledge of the ancient building architects.
The magnificent figures, as if cast from metal, and not carved from basalt, also did not collapse and still adorn the outer columns of the temple.
The technology used by the ancient architects is comparable to the modern one but does not fit into the framework of our ideas about the knowledge and capabilities of people who lived a thousand years ago.
Unfortunately, this knowledge disappeared along with the people who possessed it.
And the temple still stands strong, and thousands of Indians visit it to worship the Hindu Gods.
What do you think about the amazing architecture of Ramalingeshwara Temple?