Thanjavur, 342 km from Chennai and 56 km from Tiruchirapalli, is very much where Tamil Nadu’s cultural heart beats. And not for nothing is its monumental shrine to Brihadishwara called a Great Living Chola Temple. Built by Raja Raja Chola I in 1011 to commemorate the victory of the Chola dynasty, this magnificent architectural gem has not fallen into ruins like other temples but remains a centre of worship where religious fervor and architectural grandeur coexist as they did centuries ago. Photo-editor AZHAR MOHAMED ALI returns enchanted from Thanjavur to share these captivating images.
The Brihadishwara Temple, the cynosure of thanjavur, celebrated a millennium in 2010.
thanjavur, among India’s most ancient living cities, dates back to the Sangam period. Of the great dynasties that ruled it, the Cholas who built it outshine the rest. The Great Living Chola Temples, which include the Brihadishwara Temple, are located in the region of thanjavur. The temple was built by Raja Raja Chola I in the first decade of the 11th century.
Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Brihadishwara Temple at thanjavur is the largest temple in India and is constructed entirely out of granite. The temple’s tower or vimana is 216 feet high. In 2010, Tamil Nadu Tourism marked the millennial celebrations of the Big Temple.
Detail of stone reliefs in the temple precincts
Sivalingams and idols of secondary deities
The pillared hall is richly decorated with frescos
The Brihadishwara Temple, having stood the test of time for a thousand years, is a model for the enduring grandeur of Chola architecture.
The Tanjore Doll (left), a traditional bobblehead toy that wobbles when moved, is made of baked clay and painted in bright colors.
Handloom silks are one of the chief economic products of the district of thanjavur. The town also lends its name to the Tanjore Painting, an artistic style unique to this region. The town is also known as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu for its significant contribution to foodgrain production.
The Big Temple by night
courtesy: Yahoo Lifesyle