History of the Brihadisvara Temple in India

The temple of Brihadisvara is part of the list of Indian places considered World Heritage. And it also integrates as one of the great chola living temples. A very poetic name but without a doubt, your visit is still more inspiring. Why? Here are the reasons why this place will love you.

Great Living Chola Temples

The great living Chola temples are three major areas. The one of Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the one of Aravatesvara and the last one temple of Brihadisvara, that simply is known like the “Great Living Chola Temples“.

The major area of south India is surrounding with islands. In this way, to the southeast is the state of Tamil Nadu, where the temple of Brihadisvara was built, exactly in the town of Thanjavur or Tajore.

The ancient times of the Temple of Brihadisvara

This religious site was built by the Cholas between the 10th and 11th centuries. More specifically, this whole complex was built during the reign of King Rajaraja Chola I, that is, between 985 and 1,012.

The temple became a benchmark of Hinduism and the worship of Shiva. Do not forget that during the Chola Empire the beliefs in this deity had an extraordinary boom and some of their most famous representations were made. Of course, these images can still be admired inside the temple of Brihadisvara.

The Most Prominent Parts of the Temple

Undoubtedly, the most outstanding part of the temple of Brihadisvara is its vimana or great tower , since it reaches a height equivalent to a block of 13 floors. But there are other very interesting elements. Among all of them they give us a very approximate idea of what Hindu beliefs and practices are.

The wall

At present, the whole temple of Brihadisvara is surrounded by walls , which are not of the same construction period, since they were built in the sixteenth century. This gives a strong appearance, but the truth is that after crossing them you will find a nice park. They walk or lie down to relax the locals.

Gorupan in the temple of Brihadisvara

We speak of the towers-door that generally serve to enter and leave the Hindu enclosures and that in many occasions are the highest part of the set. Well, in the temple of Brihadisvara there are two gorupam, but in this case it is not the highest of the construction, as we will see later.

Vimana in the temple of Brihadisvara

It is the main tower of the temple, where is the true sancta sanctorum. And here we are facing one of the highest in the world, as it reaches 65 meters in height. Taking into account the early construction of the temple of Brihadisvara, that data of the height is more than remarkable. But there is still more to tell.

The highest part of the vimana of this great temple is made by a single block of stone weighing 80 tons. A great mass that still nobody can give a logical explanation to how it got to be placed up there. Something similar to the construction of the Egyptian pyramids.

The Bull of Shiva

In front of the vimana you can see an enormous sculpture of Nandi, the bull of Shiva. This figure is about 5 meters long and almost the same height, and is also carved into a single stone block.

The lingans of Brihadishvara

It is also common in the temples of Hinduism that they have distributed various lingan throughout their surface. These are small altars of offerings that have a certain phallic form, but whose purpose is to remember and honor Shiva.

There are more than 200 galleries that surround the entire enclosure and also inside the vimana there is a much larger one, as befits the building that houses it.

The interior of the temple of Brihadisvara

Friezes in Brihadisvara

The architecture of the whole complex and its undoubted historical value as a monumental testimony of that old Chola Empire, are already enough reasons for the Brihadisvara temple to be a World Heritage Site. But to this we must add the incredible decorative repertoire of the place.

That is one of the great pleasures of the visitor. It is incredible to discover its enormous frescoes on the roofs of the interior of the temple or the sculptures of the Hindu deities. If one has the knowledge to unravel those secrets, enjoy that contemplation. Meanwhile, if you do not know the subject, you can always let the imagination fly with such curious representations.

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