Medak District – Methuku Seema of Telangana
Located to the North of Hyderabad, Medak district finds significant reference in the annals of Telangana history. Known as Siddapuram in ancient Telangana it was once a famed city occupying great importance under the glorious rule of the Kakatiyas.
Medak District is liberally sprinkled with a host of marvelous temples, each of which is a beautiful specimen of architectural genius. Some of these like the Sri Kalyana Venkateshwara Swami Devasthaanam, Koti Lingeshwara Swamy Temple, Kanakadurga Temple and the Veerabhadra Swamy Temple deserve special mention. Most of these are located at some distance from the Medak town and are popular destinations for hosting festivals and Jatharas.
The excavations carried out in towns and villages located close to Medak have revealed the existence of the Satavahana dynasty influencing the culture and traditions of Medak. However, the place reached its zenith under the Kakatiyas. The most prominent proof of this is the presence of the Medak fort also known as the Methukudurgam. Built during the reign of Pratap Rudra, the fort derives its name from the Telugu word Methuku which means ‘cooked rice grain’. This is the reason why Medak is also called as ‘Methuku Seema’ of Telangana.
The regal splendour of the Kakatiyas is re-emphasized in every crevice of the fort. The main entrance of the fort, Prathama Dwara, is graced by the ‘Gandabherundam’, the double headed bird which represents the Kakatiyan symbol of glory. The other two gates, namely, the Simha Dwaram, the gate adorned with two snaring lions and the Gaja Dwaram, depicting the exquisite sculpture of two elephants with their trunks interlocked leads visitors to marvel at the beauty of their execution.
Later on in its history, the Medak fort fell under the control of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. Architectural modifications carried out under the Qutub Shahi rulers have lent the fort a unique appeal as visitors are treated to an inimitable mix of Hindu and Islamic styles which helps to don the fort with a distinct characteristic.
The massive boundary walls encircling the fort hold within its ramparts a canon which dates back to the 17th century. The canon is 3.2 meters long and has a trident etched out on it. The fort also houses a mosque, which is also assumed to belong to the same period and bears a strong influence of the Qutub Shahi style of architecture.
Perched atop a hillock the fort has a rocky face. The several hillocks and boulders which dot its landscape form natural bastions. These provided it with an effective defence mechanism against rival armies.
Medak’s history also displays a strong Christian influence. The Medak Cathedral is an evidence of that. Built by the British Wesleyan Methodists, under the patronage of Rev. Charles Walker Posnett, the Anglican Medak Cathedral belongs to one of the largest diocese in Asia. It currently controls the Diocese of Medak. Standing tall at a height of 173 feet, the church looks delicate and regal in pristine white granite. It is a superb example of architectural excellence and can house around 5000 people within its spacious interiors. The church provides exquisitely crafted stained glass windows depicting the stories of the Bible with vivid illustrations. Each window displays a fascinating illustration on the life of Jesus on glass , providing the pious an opportunity to be surrounded by the sacrifices and greatness of Jesus, the son of God. Known to be one of the best examples of Gothic Architecture in India, the church is a priceless heritage of Medak.
Steeped in history, Medak District represents a mixed pot of cultural harmony amongst various different communities. People of Medak celebrate various religious festivals with equal pomp and gaiety. The Bathukamma festival is one of the most popular. Celebrated during Navarathris, people pay their respects to goddess Gouri or Parvathi as Bathukamma. The Peerla Panduga, a unique festival celebrated by both Hindus and Muslims gives Medak its unique characteristic. However, over the years, with the growing communal disharmony, such practices are soon losing their relevance thus overhauling identities and changing perspectives of individual regions.