Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Peruvudaiyār Kōvil (Original Name) locally known as Thanjai Periya Kovil, also called as Brihadishvara temple,Rajarajeswaram, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in South bank of Cauvery river in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the largest South Indian temples and an exemplary example of a fully realized Tamil architecture. It is called as Dakshina Meru (Meru of south). Built by Tamil king Raja Raja Chola I between 1003 and 1010 AD, the temple is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Great Living Chola Temples", along with the Chola dynasty era Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple and Airavatesvara temple that are about 70 kilometres (43 mi) and 40 kilometres (25 mi) to its northeast respectively.

The original monuments of this 11th-century temple were built around a moat. It included gopura, the main templ...Read more

Peruvudaiyār Kōvil (Original Name) locally known as Thanjai Periya Kovil, also called as Brihadishvara temple,Rajarajeswaram, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in South bank of Cauvery river in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the largest South Indian temples and an exemplary example of a fully realized Tamil architecture. It is called as Dakshina Meru (Meru of south). Built by Tamil king Raja Raja Chola I between 1003 and 1010 AD, the temple is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Great Living Chola Temples", along with the Chola dynasty era Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple and Airavatesvara temple that are about 70 kilometres (43 mi) and 40 kilometres (25 mi) to its northeast respectively.

The original monuments of this 11th-century temple were built around a moat. It included gopura, the main temple, its massive tower, inscriptions, frescoes, and sculptures predominantly related to Shaivism, but also of Vaishnavism and Shaktism traditions of Hinduism. The temple was damaged in its history and some artwork is now missing. Additional mandapam and monuments were added in the centuries that followed. The temple now stands amidst fortified walls that were added after the 16th century.

Built out of granite, the vimana tower above the shrine is one of the tallest in South India. The temple has a massive colonnaded prakara (corridor) and one of the largest Shiva lingas in India. It is also famed for the quality of its sculpture, as well as being the location that commissioned the brass Nataraja – Shiva as the lord of dance, in 11th century. The complex includes shrines for Nandi, Parvati, Kartikeya, Ganesha, Sabhapati, Dakshinamurti, Chandeshvara, Varahi and others. The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.

History
Statue of Rajaraja Chola I who built the temple over 1003-1010 CE.[1][2]

A spectrum of Hindu temple styles continued to develop from the 5th to the 9th century over the Chalukya era rule as evidenced in Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal, and then with the Pallava era as witnessed at Mamallapuram and other monuments. Thereafter, between 850 and 1280 CE, Cholas emerged as the dominant dynasty.[2][3] The early Chola period saw a greater emphasis on securing their geopolitical boundaries and less emphasis on architecture. In the 10th century, within the Chola empire emerged features such as the multifaceted columns with projecting square capitals. This, states George Michell, signaled the start of the new Chola style.[2][note 1] This South Indian style is most fully realized both in scale and detail in the Brihadeshwara temple built between 1003 and 1010 by the Chola king Rajaraja I.[1][2]

Additions, renovations and repairs

The main temple along with its gopurams is from the early 11th century. The temple also saw additions, renovations, and repairs over the next 1,000 years. The raids and wars, particularly between Muslim Sultans who controlled Madurai and Hindu kings who controlled Thanjavur caused damage.[6][note 2] These were repaired by Hindu dynasties that regained control. In some cases, the rulers attempted to renovate the temple with faded paintings, by ordering new murals on top of the older ones. In other cases, they sponsored the addition of shrines. The significant shrines of Kartikeya (Murugan), Parvati (Amman) and Nandi are from the 16th and 17th-century Nayaka era.[6][8] Similarly the Dakshinamurti shrine was built later.[8] It was well maintained by Marathas of Tanjore.

^ a b Cite error: The named reference britbrihadthanj was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b c d Michell 1988, pp. 145–148 ^ S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 1-2. ^ Douglas E. Barrett (1974). Early Cola Architecture and Sculpture; 866-1014 A.D. Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-10507-6. ^ Schwindler, Gary J. (1977). "Review: Early Cola Architecture and Sculpture". The Journal of Asian Studies. Cambridge University Press. 36 (4): 705. doi:10.2307/2054437. JSTOR 2054437. ^ a b c George Michell (2008), Architecture and Art of Southern India, Cambridge University Press, pages 16-21, 89-91 ^ George Michell (2008), Architecture and Art of Southern India, Cambridge University Press, pages 9-13, 16-21 ^ a b S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 25-26.


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Photographies by: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France - CC BY 2.0, Girish Gopi from London, UK - CC BY-SA 2.0, Nittavinoda - CC BY-SA 4.0, Nittavinoda - CC BY-SA 4.0, Googlesuresh - CC BY-SA 3.0, Nittavinoda - CC BY-SA 4.0, IM3847 - CC BY-SA 4.0,