Saturday, September 7, 2013

Brihadeeswara Temple Thanjavur - Numero Uno Among Temples

Also known as Rajarajeswaram or Rajarajeswara Temple, the temple represents one of the greatest works of art achieved by the Cholas in Tamil architecture. The temple is dedicated to Siva and is part of the UNESCO world heritage site "Great Living Chola Temples".
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
The entire temple structure  made out of granite was built in 1010 AD by Raja Raja chola I in Thanjavur, Also popularly known as the ‘Big Temple', turned 1000 years old in 2010.
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
Intricate carvings
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


  1. the temple is extremely impressive, then when you showed the wall, too... amazing.

  2. I loved my visit to this temple. Grand architecture.

  3. Thanks for this post. I haven't been to this temple but soon I will. Being popular is one thing and being great is another. Less people good for the monument :)

  4. excellent snaps...i had gone there as a kid...need to visit now just to photograph.

  5. Wish I could see some of these beautiful places, Rama:)

  6. Beautiful temple with wonderful architectures. You have captured it beautifully.

  7. Hello Ram!
    I'm wondering how the large stone on top was moved into place.
    Very interesting buildings and carvings which appear to still be in good condition - maybe the climate suits the stone!


  8. Absolutely wonderful and marvelous photos from the Big Temple! Captivating indeed... Grand detail on the Bull! Even I enjoyed my present there on its 1000th year of building in 2010.

  9. What a beautiful temple. I marvel at the craftsmanship of those who carved such beauties from single stone.

    Amazing shots too, Sir.

  10. A beautiful pictorial discription that brought memories of my visit there.
    If you have time,please see this

  11. Dear Sir,

    An excellent blog you are maintaining.I am from Cochin. Your blog is a good place to get great details before to visit the actual.

    I want to go Tanjavur on next week. Could you please let me know is any lodges to accommodate for a day?
    please reply to :

  12. Such a grand place and you caught it in the golden light too!

  13. Interesting places and very good pictures.....good photographed.

    Greetings from Holland, Joop

  14. Ah that temple tower looks really grand and very, very attractive. What a beauty!

  15. Beautiful pictures. I love your photographs. I had been there two years back and wrote about the temple. My photos look very dull!

    Here it is:

  16. I visited this shrine twice...But still do not feel satisfied.. The magnificent structure always evokes an awe in me.. Nice captures..


Republic Day

India became a Republic 70 years ago today. Dr.Rajendra Prasad was appointed the first President. We are today the World's largest democ...