Posts Tagged ‘chola’

Brihadeeshwara-Temple

Brihadeeswarar Temple is a famous Shiva temple located on the banks of River Cauvery in Thanjavur district Tamil Nadu, India. Thanjavur is known to have been derived from the word “Tanjan” a demon, who is believed to have been killed in this place by lord Vishnu. Temple is more than 1000-year-old and was built in 1010 AD by Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola 1 and was named as “Rajarajeswaram”. The temple popularly known as “Thanjavur Periya Kovil” was named as Brihadeeswarar Temple by the Marathas and Nayakas who invaded Thanjavur at a later stage. Temple is also known as “Peruvudaiyar Kovil” or “Rajarajeswara Temple” and is one of the largest temple in India and showcases the brilliance of Tamil architecture of the Chola’s period.

The architecture of the temple is what makes it unique when compared to the others. The temple tower also known as “Dakshina Meru” is built by interlocking the stones without using any binding material and is 216 feet high which makes it the tallest towers in the world of its kind.

Temple-Tower

The temple is completely constructed in granite and the octagonal shaped shikara gopuram rests on a single rock weighing 81 tons. The main deity inside the sanctum Brihadeeswar Linga is 3.7 meter in height and is set on a two storied sanctum and the walls are decorated with frescoes, popularly known as Thanjavur paintings.

thanjavur-paintings

The big statue of Nandhi at the entrance is made of a single rock and is 16 feet long and 13 feet in height.

nandi-thanjavur

It is because of this archeological beauty it is declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temple”.

Thanjavur is 190 kms from Madurai and 383 kms from Chennai. Thirucharapalli Airport is the nearest airport, located 65 kms away. Thanjavur city is very well connected by train and buses from all the major cities.

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Southern part of India is rich with culture and heritage and is famous for its architectural beauty and beautiful temples. The architecture of South Indian Temples are based on various temple-building schools like the Dravidian, Hoysala, Chola, Pallava, Pandya and the Chalukyan styles and are constructed according to Agama and Shilpa Shastras.

History of the temples built in South India goes as early as 5th century AD. In Karnataka during the Vijayanagar dynasty temples like Aihole, Badami and Pattadakkal were built by Chalukyas. Hampi has been acclaimed for its wonderful temple designs. The state is also famous for other temples, palaces and spectacle. Other famous temples in Karnataka are Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala Manjunatha Swamy Temple, Sri Kollur Mookambika Temple, Murdeshwara Temple, and Chennakesava Temple in Belur.

During the 7th century, the Pallava rulers were said to be the pioneers and have built many temples in Tamil Nadu.  Some of the famous shrines in Tamil Nadu are Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur district built by Cholas during (9th to 13th century) and Madurai Meenakshi temple in Madurai built in Dravidian style, Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple in Kanchipuram, Palani Murugan Temple – Palani, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple – Srirangam, Ramanathaswamy Temple – Rameswaram. In Tamil Nadu alone, there are more than 10,000 temples, so if you are planning for a South Indian Tour, tour to temples in Tamil Nadu is a must.

In Andhra Pradesh we can see a mix of culture of the Cholas, Chalukyas and Gangas along with an influence of Oriyan art as well. Some of the famous temples in AP are Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati, Sri Kalahasti, Srisailam, Simhachalam, Amaravati temples.

Kerala also known as God’s own land is rich with rituals and festivals. Architecture of the temples here and in the costal part of Karnataka is completely different than other parts of southern India as they are primarily made of wooden structures. Some of the famous temples of Kerala are Guruvayur temple, Sabarimala temple, Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvanathapuram.

In this blog I am trying to provide detailed information, legend, and history of the famous temples along with festivals and rituals of the temple.