This is one of those days meant to prove that planning and research are quite important to any travel itinerary. Firstly, Kolanupaka is a place between Warangal and Hyderabad. It is not just a few kilometers from Warangal as I had previously thought. I would have done better to stop here yesterday on my way to Warangal. So I have wasted quite a lot of time today getting to Kolanupaka by bus.
Secondly, the ancient Jain temple at Kolanupaka isn’t exactly the way I imagined it. I am stopped at the entrance by security guards.
‘Bags are not allowed,’ one of them says. ‘You can leave them here.’
They don’t actually have a cloak room because most people arrive in private vehicles and leave their stuff in them. He stores my bag in his room. I ask him if I am allowed to carry my book and pencils for a sketch.
‘No. Not allowed,’ he says. ‘Cameras also not allowed.’
One of the guards follows me to the temple and cautions, ‘You cannot enter the temple. You can see from the corridors.’
This is a new experience for me. I have never been previously denied entry into a Jain temple. I snoop around in the corridors admiring the sculptures here. I peep into the mandapa where a few pilgrims are singing bhajans. The stone flooring is beautiful. So are many of the stone idols of tirthankaras. The main sanctum has a tall idol, I think of Mahavir.
On the whole, I am disappointed with the temple. It is a small temple and appears all too modern in every way. I cannot imagine this to be a 2000-year old temple I had read somewhere. I wonder if my visit to Kolanupaka has really been worth the time and distance. Only later, upon my return to Warangal, I learn that there is another site worth visiting at Kolanupaka – the Someshwara Temple. Had I known this earlier, my visit would not have been in vain. This temple is now a museum housing many fine exhibits of the region.
After lunch at Warangal, I take a bus in the direction of Palampet. I am in search of the Ramappa Temple and the lake next to it. This is a temple built by one of the Kakatiya rulers. I am told that it is a pinnacle of artistic achievement of the Kakatiyas.
I wait at some small town along the highway for a connecting bus. There is supposed to be a bus at 4 pm. I wait for half an hour. I wait till 5 pm. The sun has started to set. Either there has been no bus or I have missed it somehow. It is frustrating to travel from Warangal for 60 kms, to be within 10 kms of my destination and not get a connection. I have to skip Ramappa Temple and its supposed wonders. I return to Warangal. Overall, it’s been a badly planned day. I would have done better to visit the Ramappa Temple in the morning and skip Kolanupaka altogether.