The Brihadeshwara or Brihadeeswarar Temple is a very famous Hindu temple located in Tanjore , Tamilnadu, built in the beginning of the 11th century.
A popular tourist attraction , this temple , is also known as RajaRajeswara Temple or Periya Kovil.
Tanjavur is also famous for its rolly polly dancing doll making industry giving this Tamil Nadu town a distinct identity.
A graphite stone Temple
It is a fully granite built.This is quite surprising because Granite stone is a hard rock and carving on its surface is not that easy.It is believed that about 130000 tonnes of granite was used in the construction of the Brihadeshwara temple.
This is the first and only temple of its kind in the world that is made of granite. There is still a secret to gather so much granite for this temple that was built almost a thousand years ago.There are no granite mines within 100 kms of the temple.
1000 years Old Temple
It attracts people with its grandeur, architectural and central dome. This temple has been declared as World Heritage by UNESCO.
In the year 2010, this temple was celebrated on the completion of 1000 years.The construction of the temple was made by Rajaram Chola in 1010 AD.
It took seven years to complete this temple.
Tallest Vimanam Temple in World
The Brihadeeswarar Temple is the tallest Vimanam acrchitecture style temples in the world where whole structure of the temple falls over the inner sanctum i.e. garbhagriha .
The temple is popular for its architecture. The height of Periya Kovil is about 66 meters.It is dedicated to Hindu God – Lord Shiva.
Mural Paintings on the walls
Lord Shiva’s mural paintings are canvassed in various styles on the walls of the temple’s sanctum.There is a pyramid-like structure ‘Gopuram’ on the main gate of the temple has been designed with the same stone and its weight is estimated to be eighty tonnes.
Nandi’s Giant Statue
On entering the temple there is a square pavilion within Gopuram. Nandi , the mythical gate keeper of Lord Shiva , is sitting on the terrace there. This statue of Nandi Ji is 6 meters long, 2.6 meters wide and 3.7 meters high. It is the second largest statue of Nandi Ji, built by the same stone in India.
It is a repository of art, architecture, stone and copper art, art science, paintings, dance, music, jewelery and engraving in each branch of art.This temple is a classic example of engraved Sanskrit and Tamil archive calligraphists. There is Swarnkalash located on the peak. The stone on which this kalash is situated is estimated to have 2200 minds (80 tonnes) and it is made of the same stone.
On seeing the huge, magnificent Shivling in the temple, his name is very suitable.
Must See Masterpieces Sculptors
Among several magnificent structures the most outstanding one are the Chandesanugrahamurti and Sarasvati located by the side of the northern entrance steps to the sanctum.
The bronzes of Bhogasakti and Subrahmanya are masterpieces of Chola metal icons. The Saurapitha (Solar altar), the lotus altar with eight deities is considered auspicious.