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Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda Cholapuram

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The Brihadisvara Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Jayankondam, Tamil Nadu, India. This Chola dynasty-era temple, completed in 1035 AD as part of Rajendra Chola I’s new capital, is similar in design and name to the older 11th-century Brihadeeswarar Temple about 70 kilometres (43 mi) to the southwest in Thanjavur.

The Brihadisvara Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple is smaller than the Thanjavur Temple but more refined. Both are examples of Dravidian-style temples and are among the largest Shiva temples in South India. The temple is also known as Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple or Gangaikondacholeeswaram Temple in texts.

Special Significance of Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda

The main Shiva temple is square, but it also houses other Hindu deities such as Vishnu, Durga, Surya, Harihara, Ardhanarishvara, and others. It faces the sunrise, and its sanctum, as well as the mandapas, are oriented east-west. Aside from the main shrine, the temple complex includes several smaller shrines, gopuras, and other monuments, some of which have been partially ruined or restored in later centuries.

Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda Cholapuram

The temple is famous for its bronze sculptures, wall art, depiction of Nandi, and the size of its tower. The temple is notable not only for being built by Rajendra I but also for its numerous inscriptions, none of which are his. Except for this temple, the old city of Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the capital of a powerful Asian empire from around AD 900 to AD 1215, or over three centuries, has been destroyed, leaving a desolate place.

Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda Cholapuram

The Brihadisvara Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple is still in use. There are four daily rituals and many yearly festivals held there, the most notable of which are Shivarathri during the Tamil month of Masi (February-March), Aipassi Pournami during Aipassi (October-November), and Thiruvadirai during Margazhi (December-January). It is one of Tamil Nadu’s most popular tourist destinations.

History of Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda

The temple was built in 1035 AD by Rajendra Chola I (1012-44 CE), the son of the famous Chola king Raja Raja Chola I, who also built the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur. Some experts believe the temple was built in 1020, during the 6th regnal year, but inscriptions indicate the temple was built in 1035 AD, during the 20th regnal year.

Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda Cholapuram

Rajendra wished to replicate the temple built by his father following his victory in a campaign across India that, according to Chola-era texts, included Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Bengal. Following his victory, he demanded that the defeated kingdoms send pots of Ganges River water to fill the temple well. The well was originally known as Cholagangam because it was filled with Ganges water.

Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda Cholapuram

According to Tamil tradition, Rajendra I took the name Gangaikonda Cholan, which means “the one who conquered the Ganges.” From the earlier Chola capital of Thanjavur, he established Gangaikonda Cholapuram as his capital. For the next 250 years, Gangaikonda Cholapuram served as the Chola capital.

Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda Cholapuram

Rajendra I constructed the entire capital, including numerous temples, using plans and infrastructure recommended in Tamil Vastu and Agama Sastra texts. Dharma Sasta, Vishnu, and other temples were among them. Except for this temple, all of these structures were destroyed in the late 13th and 14th centuries.

Architecture of Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda

Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple is designed in Dravidian style and has a square plan. The original courtyard is two squares stacked on top of each other, and all mandapas, upapitham, shrine plans, garbha griha (sanctum), and tower elements are square and incorporate circles and geometric symmetry.

Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda Cholapuram

The structural elements are reminiscent of Thanjavur’s large Brihadisvara Temple. Both have a courtyard with multiple gateways and a relatively small gopuram (tower). Inside are shrines, most of which are aligned east-west; a few are perpendicular. Nandi Mandapa, Alankar Mandapa, Maha Mandapa, Mukha Mandapa, and Ardha Mandapa are all part of the temple complex.

The visible upapitham is 103.63 m long by 30.48 m wide with an east-west axis, but a portion of it is most likely missing, with the surviving foundation covered by soil and a restored surface for tourism.

Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda Cholapuram

According to Balasubrahmanyam, the garbha griha (sanctum) is 30.48 m long, the maha mandapa (great hall) is 53.34 m long, and the ardha mandapa (partial hall) is 19.81 m long on the visible part. The ardha mandapa, which is square, connects the sanctum and the great hall. The temple was among the first to have pillared halls, which became a common feature in later temples.

Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda Cholapuram

The main temple is elevated, with a courtyard measuring 560 feet (170 metres) by 320 feet (98 metres). Its sanctum is 100 square feet (9.3 square metres) in size and is accessible via the Ardha Mandapa. The sanctum doorway is flanked by two 6 ft (1.8 m) tall dvarapala guardians. Brihadeeswarar (Shiva) appears as a lingam in the sanctum. This lingam stands 4 metres (13 feet) tall and has a base circumference of 18 metres (59 feet).

Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda Cholapuram

The courtyard contains an image of a seated Nandi bull that is aligned axially 200 m (660 ft) facing the sanctum. There are five shrines surrounding the sanctum, as well as a Lion well, which was added in the nineteenth century. The temple has a monolithic representation of the Navagrahas, the nine planetary deities.

Facts about Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda

  • Brihadisvara Temple, also known as Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered one of the largest temples in the country, as well as a fine example of the grandeur of Dravidian style architecture of the Chola dynasty.
  • This magnificent temple was built in 1035 AD as part of Rajendra Chola I’s new capital at Gangaikonda.
  • The Chola king instructed the defeated kings to send pots filled with Ganga river water, which was poured into Cholagangam, the temple’s Kunda (water tank).
  • This ancient shrine is situated in the Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu.
  • Brihadisvara Temple is a revered temple for Hindus, which they bestow on Lord Shiva (The God of destruction).
  • This Brihadisvara Temple is one of the largest temples in India and one of the supreme brilliance of Indian architecture.
  • This temple is a perfect example of the Chola rulers’ great achievements in architecture. It is a tribute to Lord Shiva and a display of Raja Raja Chola I’s power.
  • There are about fifty sculptural reliefs around the walls of the sanctum, the most prominent of which are Nataraja, Saraswati, and Shiva garlanding a devotee.
  • There is a shrine dedicated to Shaiva scholar and saint Chandeshvara (one of the sixty-three Nayanars). Other niches on the temple walls depict various manifestations of Shiva, Durga, and Vishnu.
  • The temple contains many bronze statues depicting Chola art from the 11th century, the most notable of which is Kartikeya.
  • The Brihadisvara Temple has a rounded apex structure that is thought to be made from carving on a single stone.

Famous Festivals In Temple

  • Mahashivratri: The day before the Amavasya (new moon) of each lunar month is called Shivarathri.  Mahashivaratri is the most prominent festival celebrated here.
  • Deepawali: This festival is celebrated on Amavasya of Karthik month of the Hindu calendar.
  • Annual dance festivals around February, around the Mahashivratri.
  • Navaratri (Sep/Oct)
  • Rajarajan Festival (Nov/Dec) are important festival celebrated in the temple.

Best Time To Visit Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda

All Months, but during Mahashivratri the special arrangement is organized by the Brihadisvara Temple committee.

How To reach Brihadisvara Temple Gangaikonda

The Brihadisvara Temple is located in Cholapuram, Jayankondam, Tamil Nadu, Nadu.

Nearest Airport: Trichy International Airport is 136 km from the temple.

Nearest Railway Station: Ariyalur Junction Railway Station is nearly 50 kilometres from Brihadisvara Temple.

Taxi/Bus Service: Ariyalur Bus Stand – Udaiyarpalayram – Jayankondam – Chidambaram Road ( ~45.0 km) GangaiKonda Cholapuram Bus Stop.

Also, Read – Meenakshi Amman Temple

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Tuesday 6 AM - 8 PM
Saturday 6 AM - 8 PM
Sunday 6 AM - 8 PM
Monday 6 AM - 8 PM
Wednesday 6 AM - 8 PM
Thursday 6 AM - 8 PM
Friday 6 AM - 8 PM
Address: Arulmigu Peruvudaiyar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram., Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Tamil Nadu, India
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Open Now

Tuesday 6 AM - 8 PM
Saturday 6 AM - 8 PM
Sunday 6 AM - 8 PM
Monday 6 AM - 8 PM
Wednesday 6 AM - 8 PM
Thursday 6 AM - 8 PM
Friday 6 AM - 8 PM
Address: Arulmigu Peruvudaiyar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram., Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Tamil Nadu, India