Built in : 1003-1010 AD
Year of Inscription : 1987
Reasons for Inscription : Criteria number (2) and (3). It is a peerless piece of architecture and represents the culture during Chola Dynasty in India. Moreover, it is a significant Hindu Temple built in ancient times.
Peruvudaiyar Kovil, well known as Brihadeeswarar Temple, RajaRajeshwara and Rajarajeswaram Temple, was edified by Raja Raja Chola I in the year 1010 AD
One of the largest temples in India, the ‘Brihadeeswarar Temple’ is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. Built under the reign of the Chola dynasty in 11th century AD, the temple stands tall as a testimony to the opulence and grandeur of the Chola rulers. Today, the temple enjoys the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the list of ‘Great Living Chola Temples’ and is visited by hundreds of thousands of devotees and tourists every year. The greatest attraction of the temple is its 216ft Tall.
‘Vimana’ or tower that is also claimed to be the tallest in the world. The ‘Kumbam’ or the apex structure on top of the Vimana, weighing 80 tonnes and carved from a single granite, just adds to the magnificence of the entire structure. Also, the Brihadeeswarar Temple has another feather to it with an acclaim of being the world’s first temple completely built from granite. With no granite quarry within 100 km. radius of the temple, a visit to this temple definitely makes one wonder about the logistics and efforts that must have been required to transport tonnes of granite to this site. Not only transportation, just imagine how such a heavy rock must have been first carved owing to the fact that granite is one of the hardest stones to be cut, and then later on embellished on top of a 216ft tall Vimana during the times when the technology was just in its early stages? Well! the answers to these questions can only be given by expert architects and engineers but, for ordinary people like us, the structure of the Brihadeeswarar Temple and its grandeur today, definitely leaves us awed with the extra-ordinarily brilliant engineering skills of the then engineers, architects and artisans.
Built by Raja Raja Chola I in 1010 AD, Brihadeshwara Temple is an ancient temple at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. The deity of the temple is Lord Shiva—in his dancing pose—who is called the Nataraj. The temple is also known as Rajeswara Temple, Rajarajeswaram and Periya Kovil. The temple was built, like a fortress on the shores of a river, by the king to grace the Chola Empire. This thousand-year-old temple is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site adding to its exceptional historical and cultural value.
The temple is a magnificent architectural construct that will never stop surprising anyone visiting the temple. Built using over 130,000 tons of granite, this fabulous structure shows the architectural prowess and affinity of the South Indian kings.
The major attraction of the temple is the 216-feet-tall tower that is built above the Sanctum of the temple. This flamboyant tower can be seen by anyone entering the city from afar. Another breathtaking thing that will sure stupefy the visitor is the magnificent Nandi statue built at the temple; it is about two meters in height, six meters in length and two-and-half meters in width, and weighs around a whopping 20 tons for a statue built from a single stone. Various postures of the famous classical dance, Barathanatyam, are carved carefully on the exterior walls of the upper storey of the temple.
There are several shrines added to the temple by most of the following rulers such as the Pandyas, the Vijayanagara rulers and the Marathas, too. The temple architecture marvels at housing a myriad of surprises for everyone taking a look at this great temple. Another important architectural feature of the temple is that the shadow of the temple never falls on the ground at noon. The architecture of the temple is done so cleverly that the temple casts no shadow on the ground when the sun is at its peak. This is a phenomenon that attracts thousands of tourists and architectural enthusiasts from across the world to unravel the architectural mystery of the temple.
Brihadeshwara Temple is also the first all-granite temple in the world, and the fact that granites are not available within the 100-mile radius of the temple only makes it all the more astonishing. Granite is as heavy a stone to carry as it is to carve, but none of that seemed to have shied the king from realizing the temple the way he envisaged.
When the temple was built in AD 1010, it was the tallest temple in India hitherto, and it took only seven years to complete. The topmost structure of the temple, called Vimana, weighs around 80 tons, and it is a mystery how the builders got it up there. There are several musical pillars, which make different sounds when taped, at the temple. Upon visiting, anyone can understand that the temple is a brilliant testimonial of the opulence of grand South Indian architecture.
A brief about Brihadeeswarar Temple
This temple is a perfect illustration of the great heights achieved in the field of architecture by the Chola rulers. It is a homage paid to Lord Shiva and is a display of power of Raja Raja Chola I.
Brihadeeshwar Temple is one of the most beautiful architectural splendors of the country. It is erected amidst the great walls made perhaps in the sixteenth century. Inside the temple, there is a temple tower famous as Vimana among the devotees and tourists. This temple tower has an elevation of 66 meters. Vimana is one of the tallest temple towers on the earth. A rounded apex structure is there in the Brihadeeshwar Temple, which is believed to be constructed out of carving on a single stone only.
There is also located a figurine of a consecrated bull or Nandi at the entry of this Brihadeeshwar Temple, which is approximately thirteen feet in elevation and sixteen feet in length. Remarkably, this idol is made by a single rock carving.
The Brihadeeshwar Temple is edified by using granite, which can be brought from the granite sources near Tiruchirapalli, located roughly 60 kilometer from the western side Thanjavur.
Brihadeeswarar Temple is also widely known by name of ‘Big Temple’. This temple completed its 1000 years in the year 2010. This temple is swarmed by tourists all through the year, who visit this place to witness the unsurpassed display of fascinating architecture.
The Nandi Mandapam