The Peruvudaiyar Kovil, also known as Brihadeeshwara,
temple RajaRajeswaraTemple and RajaRajeswaram, at
Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is a Hindu
temple dedicated to Shiva and an art of the work achieved
by Cholas in Tamil architecture. The temple is part of
the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Great Living Chola
The temple had its foundations laid out by the
Tamil emperor Arulmozhivarman, popularly
called Rajaraja Chola I,
1002 AD, as the first of the great Tamil Chola
building projects. It was built to grace the throne
of the Chola empire in compliance of a command
given to him in his dream.
Raja Raja Chola was constantly engaged in
battle with Chalukyas in the north, Pandyas in
the South and Sinhalese across the shore. One
day while he was engaging in the battle in Sri
Lanka, he saw huge statues of Buddha. He was
inspired by this beautiful statue to dedicate
the Brideshwar Temple to his family deity
Shiva at Thanjavur. He commissioned the
construction of the huge temple in 1004 AD.
Since the scale of construction was
unparalleled in the history of temple
construction, it took almost 3 decades and it
was completed by his Son Rajendra Chola in
The entire temple is built with granite which was not
available in the area. Probably it was transported from
Trichy Rockfort area which is located 40 kms away. The
inspiration to create the magnificient edifice seems to
have been inspired by the Chalukyan architecture. The
gurus advice to atone for the sins in the form of
bloodshed of his rivals to the throne, by building an
edifice to Lord Shiva.
It is alleged that more stones than the pyramid of Giza
was transported to build this magnificient edifice
dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Shadow Disappears : The most interesting
part of this temple is the shadow of the
temple, which surprisingly never falls on the
ground at noon. The Brihadeshwar Temple is
one of the tallest temples in the world and is
so designed that the vimana does not cast a
shadow at noon during any part of the year.
The Natyanjali Dance Festival, Thanjavur is
celebrated with great enthusiasm and religious
fervor for a continuous period of five days on the
propitious occasion of Mahashivratri. Dedicated to
Lord Nataraj, the Natyanjali Dance Festival of
Thanjavur provides the artists of classical dances
with a wonderful opportunity to display their artistic
skills and creative talents
This is the largest temple in India and
one of India's most prized
architectural sites. The temple 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) (apex or the
A big statue of Nandi is amazingly
carved out of a single rock and
measures about 16 feet long and 13
feet high. This shows that it is a
distinctive example of architecture
inside the temple.
The temple became popular all over the
country on its 1000th birthday in
In its commemoration, a rupees postage
stamp, featuring the 216-feet tall Raja
Gopuram (Vimana) was released by the
India Post. A 5 rupee coin was released by
the Reserve Bank of India.
A 1000 Rupees Commemorative Coin (with
the same picture on the 5 rupees coin) of
Thanjavur Periya Kovil will be issued
soon. This will be the first 1000 Rupees
coin to be released in the Republic of
India coinage, but it will not be for
public circulation (In April 1954, the
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.