This is the largest temple in India and one of India's most prized architectural sites. The temple stands amidst fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th century. The trapezoidal Vimana or (temple tower) is 216 ft (66 m) high and is among the tallest of its kind in the world. The Kumbam (Kalasha or Chikharam) (apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is carved out of a single stone and it weighs around 80 tons. The big Nandi (bull), weighing about 20 tonnes is made of a single stone and is about 2 m in height, 6 m in length and 2.5 m in width.
|View from the road - you can see the 3 entrance gopurams as well as the main Vimanam|
|The 2nd entrance gopuram|
|The 3rd entrance gopuram - with intricate carvings and dwarpalakas(gate keepers) on either side|
|The wall abutting the 3rd entrance gopuram|
I must say that I am totally fascinated with this grand temple and its brilliant architecture. I consider this temple as one of the most stunning and captivating monuments in the country - in terms of sheer size, magnitude or architectural brilliance. I would easily compare this towering monument with such illustrious monuments as the Taj Mahal Agra or the Victoria Memorial Kolkata or the Gateway of India Mumbai.
Surprisingly do to inadequate publicity, this temple is virtually unknown outside of Tamilnadu !
|The Layout of the Temple|
|Closeup view of a dwarpalaka|
|Bas Reliefs on the wall|
|The Bull Mantapam and the main Vimana behind - Above & below|
|Combined view of Bull Mandapam, Entrance Mantapam to temple and the magnificent trapezoidal Vimana|
|Side view of the Vimanam in brilliant sunshine|
|Bull Mantapam with Flagstaff or dwaja sthambam in front|
|The massive Nandi or Bull - celestial vehicle of Lord Siva|