Sri Bragadeeswarar temple – Thanjavur

Moolavar : Bragadeeswarar

Urchavar : –

Amman / Thayar : Periya Nayaki

Thala Virutcham : Pinnai, Vanni

Theertham : Simma Kinaru

Agamam / Pooja : –

Old year : 1000-2000 years old

Historical Name : –

City : Gangaikonda cholapuram

District : Thanjavur

State : Tamil Nadu

Brihadeshwara temple which is located in thanjavur during from 3rd century BC to 4th century AD. It is also believed that chola king win the battle with chola and pandyas then the city was ruled by king chola. King chola constructed the brihadeshwarar temple in 985 AD which is the greatest construction of cholas.


Thanjavur Brihadeshwara temple or Thanjavur Periya Kovil is the symbol of world heritage and culture of the Indian state of Tamilnadu. This temple is dedicated to lord is also called as RajaRajeshwara temple which is one of the largest temples in India.

Brihadeshwara temple shows architecture excellence of greatest emperor Raja Raja Cholan between 984 AD to 1010 AD and This architecture reveals the wealth and artistic expertise of Chola kingdom which was completed in 1010 AD. It crossed 1000 years in 2010. It is one of the parts of UNESCO world heritage sites as “Great Living Chola Temples”.

This temple signifies the Tamilian architectural knowledge.The stunning monuments speaks about the Chola kingdom’s architecture. This temple was completely built by the granite stones.

The height of the temple is 66m(216 feet).it has world’s tallest Vimanam and Kumbum in the top of the gopuram is 80 ton in weight. It is hard to built 80 ton carved rock on the top of the gopuram back in 11th century.

The boundary of the temple holds lord Shiva as the main deity and it appears as Lingam statue which is 3.7 meters tall. The entrance of the temple has big Nandhi statue which is carved out in a single rock and weight around 20 tons.

This temple wall is most beautiful and included with richest paintings. It is one of the largest temples in India also called “Big Temple”. Thanjavur architecture is unbelievable construction for many enegineers,it shows tamilnadu heritage.know thanjavur history in tamil.

The most interesting and unbelievable thing about this temple is the shadow never falls down at the noon and it has musical pillars in the entrance of the temple.

The vimanam in the temple is called as Dakshina meru and southern meru.

Two Ganesha statue idols appear at the entrance if you tapping them you can feel the sound traveling through the stone in one idol and through metal in another idol.

The statues on three sides hold Shiva, Durga, Vishnu. Ganesha, Vishnu, and his consorts Sridevi, Bhudevi, Lakshmi then, Vishnu Anugraha murti, Dakshinamurti, Kalanta and Nataraja sculptures appear on the southern wall of the temple.

The west side sculptures are Harihara, Ardhanarishvara, a pair of dvarapalas and two Chandrasekharas and north side scupltures are Adhanarisvara, Gangadhara, a pair of dvarapalas, Virabhadra,Alingana Chandrasekhara, Siva holding a Sula (spear), a pair of dvarapalas, Sarasvati, Mahishasuramardini and Bhairava.


Intresting Facts : A study in Oriental architecture or history is certainly incomplete without a mention of the Tanjore Brihadeeshwara Temple or the Tanjore Periya Kovil (Big Temple). This imposing structure was built by Raja Raja Cholan and his sister Kundavai, both ardent devotees of Lord Shiva. It was constructed by the King at the height of the Chola reign to signify his power and strength. Here are a few facts not known about this Chola temple of Thanjavur:

  1. a) The original name of the deity was Rajarajeshwar. It was the Marathas who gave it the name Brihadeeshwara or the Great Ishwara.
  2. b) The main temple is entirely built of granite. More than 130,000 tons of granite is said to have been used to build it.
  3. c) A long associated myth with this temple temple is that the shadow of the main structure does not fall on the ground. However, this has been proven wrong by scientists.
  4. d) The statue of Nandi at the entrance of the temple is carved out of a single stone.
  5. e) The main Vimanam, which is at about 200 feet is often called Dakshin Meru or Southern Meru.
  6. f) The inspiration to build the temple came to Raja Raja Cholan during his visit to Sri Lanka and is a result of a dream he had.
  7. g) The temple has a portrait of Raja Raja Cholan paying obeisance to Lord Natarajar. This is undoubtedly, the first ever instance of a royal portrait.
  8. h) Inscriptions in the temple point towards Kunjara Mallan Raja Raja Perunthachan as the chief architect of the temple. His successors survive to this day and practice the art of Vastu or Vastu Shastra.
  9. i) Depictions of nartakis or dancers showing eighty one of hundred and eight karanas (synchronised movements of hands and feet) in Bharata Natyam are carved here. These karanas are a part of karanas mentioned in the Natya Shastra of Bharata Muni or Sage Bharata. There is also evidence that the temple was a platform for talented dancers to showcase their talent. These depictions are first of their kind.
  10. j) The inscriptions also mention the different kinds of jewels used in the period. Each of these jewels are mentioned in detail. A total of twenty three different types of pearls, eleven varieties of diamonds and rubies are mentioned in these inscriptions.

What astounds historians is that there was not a single granite quarry in about 100 km radius of the temple. This means that transporting these stones would have been a herculean task. But Raja Raja Cholan insisted on the use of these stones. All of these features make this Chola temple of Tanjore, a magnum opus of the Chola reign.

Reason for UNESCO award

It is an unrivaled piece of architecture and it reveals the culture, heritage and engineering mastermind of Chola’s kingdom.

It has lot of peerless, unimaginable and interesting thing in the temple.

It got under the category of the Archaeological site and Southerneastern Asian Religious structure of Hindus.



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