Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Magnificent Brihadeeswarar

                                    Millenium Celebration with 1000 Dancers performing Bharatnatyam

The magnificent  Brihadeeswarar Temple, is one the greatest glories of Indian Architecture. The temple tower or the Vimana, which stands majestically speaks of its wonder and have led the scholars debate for centuries about its reflection on the ground.This is the first complete granite temple in the world, and a proven site for Chola King’s splendid architecture and their devotion to Lord Siva. Built by Raja Raja Chola I, this temple for Lord Siva is a part of UNESCO world heritage site.

The temple tower is around 220 ft ht and among the tallest of its kind in the world. There is a big statue of Nandeeswarar ( Bull – Vehicle for Lord Siva ) carved out of a single rock. Its magnificent architecture and huge temple walls have earned the name Big Temple. It recently completed 1000 years of existence in the year 2010, which was celebrated in grandeur.An axial and symmetrical geometry rules the temple layout. This temple also depicts, the power and wealth, and artistic expertise of the Chola Kings. Its been built with a style, which still cannot be replicated in any part of the world.

There is also a saying, that Lord Siva appeared in the dreams of the king, and gave instructions to built such a temple. This temple also depicts the love for Lord Siva by the king and his family. Everyday poojas are conducted in a style devised by the King, even today.The temple gave lot of importance to fine arts like music and bharatanatyam, and taught the glory of gods through these arts. Evidence by the inscriptions is found in the temple walls, about the dancers who excelled in the traditional dance form of Bharatnatyam.

Lord Siva is also known as the Lord of Dance, who has many temples built in dancing postures – like the famous Chidambaram. And this temple has many details on Bharatnatyam, and to celebrate the 1000 years, a special program was organized with 1000 dancers who spoke on the glory of the gods. Lord Siva lives as a huge stone linga of 60 metres ht in this temple. The entrance is highly decorated, and the inner sanctum ( karuvarai ) is only for the priests to enter. The garbhagriha is square and sits on a plinth, its location calculated to be a point of total equilibrium and harmony as it is representative of a microcosm of the universe. In the center is placed the image of the deity. 

The circumambulation around the massive sivalingam in the inner sanctum is repeated in an upper story, presenting the idea that King Cholas freely offered access to the gods. The inner mandapa leads out to a rectangular mandapa and then to a twenty-columned porch with three staircases leading down. Sharing the same stone plinth is a small open mandapa dedicated to Nandi, Shiva's sacred bull mount. Brahadeeswar temple is one of the rare temples which has statues for "Ashta dik paalakas" (Lords of all Eight Directions) [Indra, Varuna, Agni, Eesana, Vayu, Niruthi, Yama, Kubera], each of which is a life like status i.e. approximately 6 feet tall.
All hindus and devotees of Lord Siva can proudly say and feel the serenity of this temple, surrounded by splendid architecture, and the greatness of Lord Siva, which doesn’t exist in any part of the world. Everyone must visit this temple atleast once in a lifetime.


Thanjavur can be reached easily by road, rail and air. Tamil Nadu State Government runs frequent public buses from nearby Trichy, Chennai, Kumbakonam, Pudukkottai, Pattukkottai, Tirunelveli, Karur, Nagapattinam, Coimbatore and many other cities in the state. From the State capital Chennai, a National Highway (NH 45-A) linking Chennai with Chidambaram, Mayavaram, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, and Nagappatinam provides convenient access to tourists who come to visit Thanjavur and the adjoining towns. There are also several buses operated by private bus operators.
Rail services are run by Indian Railways from many cities across India including Chennai, Trichy, Tirunelveli, Madurai and Nagore. The train station is named "Tanjore Junction." Trichy Airport is the nearest airport, located 65 km away.

Festival :

The day of the Ruling star, satabhishag is treated as a festival day every month as it symbolizes the ruling star at the time of birth of Rajaraja. The annual festival is held for 9 days in the month of Visaka or May according to the English calender. The deity is bathed with the water soaked with the fragrant Champaka flower. All the major festival days for Lord Siva is celebrated grandly at this temple.

Greatness of this temple

1000 Currency note released by Reserve Bank of India on 01 April, 1954 to honor the historic Brahadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World heritage site. Later during the period of Late PM Indira Gandhi, in 1975, these currency notes were stopped, in an effort to curtail 1000 rupee currency note.

But in 2010, A Indian Rupee symbol.svg5 Special Commemorative coin released by Reserve Bank of India to mark the Millennium year celebrations of the famous Brihadeeswarar Temple built by the great Chola ruler Raja Raja Chola I

- Abirami 

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