Temples are a huge part of our country’s history, heritage and culture. From the ones on top of the hills to the ones in the southernmost part of the country- we have gorgeous temples spread throughout. And we’re sure you’d agree that most of them are architectural marvels! And we’ve found yet another such temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu- The Brihadeeswara Temple. It’s a 1000 (yes!) year-old temple dedicated to ‘Natraj’, the dancing pose of Lord Shiva. Apart from it being a total beauty, there are other mindblowing facts about this temple which will leave you in awe! So scroll down to know more about the Brihadeeswara Temple.
The History And It’s Origin
The Brihadeeswara Temple was built between 1003 and 1010 AD (11th century) by Tamil king Raja Raja Chola I and is also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the ‘Great Living Chola Temples’. The temple’s original structure includes the main gopuram, frescoes, sanctum sanctorum, inscriptions and sculptures that were related to Shaivism (Shiva), Shaktism (all goddesses) and the Vaishnavism (Vishnu) tradition.
During the rule of one of the longest-ruling dynasties in India-the Cholas, the temple was known as Rajarajesvaram Temple. It was the centre for all the festivals and religious functions. Later on, the Nayakas and Marathas seized it, and the temple was named as the Brihadeeswara Temple.
The Mindblowing Architecture
Like other temples, this temple was also built to serve many functions. The walls are high, and the entrance of the temple is built like a fort along with a moat. The temple is made entirely of granite and was built using 130,000 tons of granite!
The temple also houses 216 feet tall, 80-ton heavy vimana (tower). The northern and western ends have a long corridor with 108 Shiva Lingams arranged along the inner part of the corridor. All the walls are decorated with paintings of the 64 divine lilas (plays) of Lord Shiva. It’s also said that the temple never casts a shadow when the sun is at its peak in the noon! You will witness cows and Nandi figures on the wall, and the complex includes shrines for Parvati, Nandi, Ganesha, Kartikeya, Sabhapati, Dakshinamurti and others.
How To Reach
The nearest airport to the Brihadeeswara Temple is Tiruchirapalli International Airport which is 59.6 km away from the city. Once you reach there, you can hire a cab as it’s almost an hour drive from there. You can also take a train with the nearest railway station being Thanjavur Junction railway station which lies at a distance of 6 km.
(Featured Image Source:skyscanner)