The Brihadesvara Gangaikondacholesvara temple: Tamil Nadu’s epic monument by Rajendra Chola I

The palace and the town of Gangaikondacholapuram had been constructed between 1023 CE and 1029 CE, whereas the temple was consecrated in 1035 CE by Rajendra Chola I.

By Monidipa Dey

The Brihadesvara Gangaikondacholesvara temple in Gangaikondacholapuram stands tall, proudly proclaiming the eleventh century victorious march of the Chola military as much as the banks of the Ganga, the place they defeated king Mahipala of the Pala dynasty. Whereas the as soon as flourishing metropolis and the mighty emperor’s palace are actually in ruins, the principle temple nonetheless stands about 1.5 km away from the town stays. The palace and the town of Gangaikondacholapuram had been constructed between 1023 CE and 1029 CE, whereas the temple was consecrated in 1035 CE by Rajendra Chola I. Gangaikondacholapuram was the capital metropolis of the Cholas and their administrative centre till the center of thirteenth c. CE.

The town and the temple advanced of Brihadesvara Gangaikondacholesvara (which was constructed as per the Tamil Vastu and Agama Sastras, therefore had extra temples and different constructions throughout the advanced) confronted largescale destruction by the hands of the Delhi Sultanate armies (AD 1311 and AD 1327), Deccan Sultanate armies, and later below the English and French administration. The colonial armies used the temple premises as a fort, owing to which the construction confronted additional damages. The temple advanced that we see immediately has been largely repaired and rebuilt in numerous phases by the Pandyan and Vijayanagara dynasties, the colonial period archaeologists, and the ASI.

As one enters the Brihadesvara Gangaikondacholisvarar temple, proper after crossing the gate, the very first thing that catches the eyes are the shining dhvajastambha (flag publish), the bali-peetha, and the massive Nandi all in a line. The bali-peetha (sacrificial pedestal) holds a carved lotus and choices are positioned on it throughout numerous rituals, a symbolic feeding of the pancha-mahabhutas (5 components of nature) or the parivara devatas (household deities).

The Brihadisvara Gangaikondacholesvara temple is rectangular in form with a mukha mandapa, maha-mandapa, ardh mandapa, and a sq. sanctum. There are two flights of stairs on the northern and southern faces that lead as much as two imposing dvarapalas, guarding the aspect entrance doorways to the antarala. Apart from the opposite dvarapalas guarding all of the entrances, a pair of colossal dwarapalas guard the sanctum door that with their sizes are sure to go away the devotees in nice awe.

The temple partitions present Shiva in numerous postures of bestowing favours or anugraha: Ravananugraha-murti, Vishnvanugraha-murti, Devyanugraha- murti, Chandesanugraha-murti, Kalyanasundara- murti, and Markandeyanugraha-murti. There are two stunning photos of the devis Lakshmi and Saraswati on two aspect niches of the entryway to the mandapa on the northern and southern aspect respectively. Apart from numerous different deities, there are additionally representations of kings and princes as warriors holding swords and shields on the partitions. The tall pyramidical vimana of the temple is in 9 diminishing tiers (or talas), with a domed sikhara on high exhibiting lotus petal patterns, and a gold coated stupi with a lotus bud. A bit of away from the Nandi on the entrance method sits a big lion constructed of plaster and brickwork, which is called Simhakinar, and it homes a big properly. It’s believed that that is the tank the place Rajendra Chola had put within the holy waters of the Ganga for every day abhishekam of the principle deity.

The temple base has many inscriptions, and the longest inscription belongs to Virarajendra Chola, a son of Rajendra Chola, which supplies particulars of land grants in villages, the income of which went in the direction of temple upkeep. Two extra inscriptions are of Rajadhiraja I, who succeeded Rajendra Chola, and in addition discuss of land grants. Different inscriptions are from the Pandyan reign, whereas one other inscription mentions Prauda Virupaksha, of the Vijayanagara dynasty.

A relatively distinctive level of this temple is the truth that it holds a slab that reveals the navagrahas (9 planets), which is a mix of north and south Indian astrological components. A type of photo voltaic pedestal (Saura Pitha) it has in its two tiers an open lotus on a sq. base. The higher tier bears the eight grahas or planets, and with Surya/Solar on the center it kinds the navagrahas. The decrease tier is a chariot drawn by seven horses, with Aruna because the charioteer.

Journey ideas: Gangaikondacholapuram is near Thanjavur and the place may be visited on a day journey from there. The temple will take round two hours for a by way of take a look at every thing. The very best time to go to the place is between November to January, when the climate is cooler. The temple mandapa and sanctum stay closed from 12 pm to 4 pm and the go to should be deliberate accordingly. The temple is below the ASI purview.

(The creator is a well known journey author. Views expressed are private.)

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