Bhrihadisvara Chola temple (Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu)


The 1000 years old Shiva Temple -  Brihadisavara Temple, Thanjavur is a marvel of Dravidian architecture was built by Chola emperor Rajarraja – I. This cosmic abode impeccably carved from about 130,000 tonnes granite stones exhibit the art & culture, wealth & power, political & literary progress integrated in religious commitment of Chola dynasty. Meticulously built over a span of  5 years, the temple consists of two gigantic archways (Gopurams), 59.82 m high main pyramidal tower (Vimana) with 13 receding tiers, pillared hall and assembly hall (Mandaps), monolithic Nandhi statue, sanctum sanctorum (Grabha girha) and many sub shrines. The entire complex is intricately adorned with sculptures, murals and paintings of lingams, dance poses, deities and life of Chola king. The inscription in the temple encompass all activities of Cholas Kingdom exclusively the duties, responsibilities, qualifications and service tenure of each functionary unit of the temple.

The temple was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is maintained by the Archeological Survey of India. The chief architect-sculptor of the temple complex, Veera Chola Kunjara Mallan alias Rajaraja Perunthatchan built the magnificent building that has withstood the ravage of natural disasters (earthquake) till date.