Cultural sights on site

Cultural sights on site

The Naurangi Darwaza in Raichur.

History has been reinvented at the famous Naurangi Darwaza (nine-coloured door) in Raichur, with the Department of Archaeology collecting and storing here the wide range of geological artefacts, historical inscriptions and religious sculptures unearthed in Raichur and neighbouring districts.

This museum offers a rich glimpse of the past and is an ideal destination for history enthusiasts and common people alike as there is a sense of pride when we witness this collection. This museum was established in 1978. It was located adjacent to the St Mary’s Convent School in Gol Market. Later, about two decades ago, it was moved to the Naurangi Darwaza. It served two purposes, one it helped protect the fort’s articles and the other, it became a proper storehouse for antiques from in and around the area. It has an assorted range of artefacts from hero stones to coins and paintings. The museum has two galleries for storing the articles and it mirrors the cultural heritage of Raichur. 

Restored grandeur

Until recently, the Naurangi Darwaza was in shambles. People had dug up in many places hoping to unearth a hidden treasure. That apart, public apathy and lack of historical sense among the local people have also contributed to its ruin.

However, there had been efforts to revive the site since 1985. A Sundar, the then director of the Department of Archeology, tried his hand, but the task was incomplete as his initiative did not get much support from local bodies. In 1994, the then deputy commissioner, Sanjay Das, began the renovation work. He cleared encroachments and also got the entire area cleaned. The renovation of the Darwaza restarted when Ashok Dalawai took over as deputy commissioner on June 2, 1997. He roped in many organisations to give it a new lease of life. His efforts were successful and he hoisted the tri-colour on January 26, 1998 on the Darwaza.

“There are no guides who can narrate the tale of the fort, Darwaza and their history,” laments Hafeezullah, a social activist. “A few History professors will accompany you throwing light on the bygone era if you contact them. The fort was in ruins for a long time. It was protected and renovated only in 1998. The government museum came up much later.’’

Bit of history

The fort that houses the Darwaza was built in 1294 by Gore Gangayya Reddy, chieftain of Raichur during the reign of Kakatiya queen Rudrammanni Devi. There are five gateways in the fortifications built by the later Muslim rulers. they are called the Mecca Gate in the West, Naurangi Gate in the North, Khandak Gate in the South, Kati Gate in the East and Doddi Gate in the South-East.

 The Naurangi Darwaza is over 700 years old and has stood the test of time and is an architectural marvel. It imbibes the culture of many dynasties and has become a cultural kaleidoscope of Raichur. The lavishly painted and sculptured decorations that once adorned the gateways suggest that it was built during the Vijayanagar era. There are large and small sculptural reliefs at the site holding considerable archaeological value. The place provides for a picturesque sight. There are also erotic sculptures on the walls of this door, it is said that they ward off the evil eye. However, they offer an insightful knowledge of myth and ancient cultural expression. 

The main entrance of the grand door chronicles the content placed inside. There are numerous murals that adorn the inner and outer walls of the Naurangi Darwaza. The large inner courtyards whose upper walls contain narrative sculptural panels depict scenes from the mythological texts as well as court scenes from the Vijayanagar empire.

That apart, what is interesting here are the scenes of cows in fields listening to Krishna while he plays his flute; Bedara Kannappa donating his eye to Shiva; killing of Hiranya Kashapu and other mythological scenes. There are also scenes depicting hunting of lions and elephants. The walls have foliage and floral designs engraved on them, figures of men engaged in different activities as well as those of animals like peacocks, geese, jackals, bulls etc. The sophisticated architectural style on the walls holds a magnetic appeal that lies in its indigenous glory.

 (Translated by Jagadish Angadi)

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