Brihadeeswara Temple, also called RajaRajeswara Temple at Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is a Hindu templededicated to Shiva. It is an important example of Tamil architecture achieved during the Chola dynasty. The temple is part of theUNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Great Living Chola Temples" .
This is one of the largest temples in India and one of India's most prized architectural sites. Built by emperor Raja Raja Chola Iand completed in 1010 AD, Peruvudaiyaar Temple, also popularly known as the 'Big Temple', turned 1000 years old in 2010.
Thanjavur Periya Kovil stands amidst fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th century. The 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, the apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is carved out of a single rock and it weighs around 80 tons. There is a big statue of Nandi(sacred bull), carved out of a single rock, at the entrance measuring about 16 feet long and 13 feet high. The entire temple structure is made out of granite, the nearest sources of which are close to Tiruchirappalli, about 60 km to the west of Thanjavur.
History and contruction
The temple had its foundations laid out by the Tamil emperor Arulmozhivarman, popularly called Rajaraja Chola I, in 1002 CE, as the first of the great Tamil Chola building projects.
The scale and grandeur is in the Chola tradition. An axial and symmetrical geometry rules the temple layout. Temples from this period and the following two centuries are an expression of the Tamils (Chola) wealth, power and artistic expertise. The emergence of such features as the multifaceted columns with projecting square capitals signal the arrival of the new Chola style.
The Brihadeeswarar Temple was built to be the royal temple to display the emperor's vision of his power and his relationship to the universal order. The...