Sunday, February 21, 2016

A UNESCO world heritage site Temple: Brihadeeswarar

Brihadeeswarar Temple view
Easily one of the most imposing temples in India, Brihadeeswarar temple was completed in 1010 AD, and built in the regime of emperor Raja Raja Chola I.

Located in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India, this UNESCO world heritage site temple's Dravidian architecture is out of the world!

There are two very elaborate and beautiful gates that you will come across after entering through the first gate. Before reaching the main temple, you can’t miss the beautiful Nandi statue. Carved out of a single granite rock, the statue of Nandi (the sacred bull) which is around 4.9 m long and 4 m high! The Nandi statue is perhaps the largest in India!

 A long assembly hall leads to the central shrine which houses the Shiva lingam (around 4 m high). The temple tower is very-very tall, it is as high as 216 ft, and the structure on the top of the temple is made out of a single rock (weighing approx 80 tons!). A long ramp was constructed up to the top of the temple so that this huge rock could be dragged up and placed there! This temple tower happens to be one of the tallest in the world.

There are beautiful murals around the southern walls cloister, and an interesting water spout in the temple compound. There is a shrine dedicated to Raja Raja Chola's guru. The temple has a lot of beautiful images of deities and dancers. The outer wall around the temple was put much later in the 16th century.

If one had to choose to see one temple in South India, I would point to Brihadeshwara.

Here are some pictures of the Brihadeeswarar Temple. These pictures are courtesy Soma Jha.

2 nd and 3rd gates and main temple vimana visible
Brihadeeswarar temple
3rd gate sculpture Brihadeeswarar temple

Shiva statue, Brihadeeswarar
Murals in Nandi pavilion

Murals on the southern walled cloister
Karuvur Devur shrine-Raja Raja Chola's Guru

Water spout, Brihadeeswarar


Arun Prasadh said...

Very beautiful temple.

Bushra Muzaffar said...

Ranjana, the temple is impressive with beautiful murals and large monoliths carved into various sculptures. Indeed, this heritage site deserves a visit :)

The Untourists said...

What a gorgeous temple. I am never amazed to see the depth of our architectural heritage. And always wonder why don't we practice that style anymore...

Amit Agarwal said...

Wonderful! Very interesting!

Ranjana Jha said...

@ Arun,

Yes, it is indeed beautiful!
I love these ancient temples!

Ranjana Jha said...

Hi Bushra,

Absolutely, I love the intricate work...these are gems and India has so many such marvelous pieces of architecture.


Ranjana Jha said...

The Untourists, I agree...I think it must be rather difficult to follow this style now will require a lot of labour ...I wonder how they completed such massive structures back then. There are so many theories about the science behind it...I wish we could though.


Ranjana Jha said...

Thanks so much, Amit

Ramachandran Gopalan said...

I hope everyone like this information they shared as I do. Really great information.
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