Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thanjavore (Thanjai, Tanjore)- Brahadeeswaram or  Big Temple of Siva -Chola culture

During Feb 2011, I had an opportunity to visit Tanjore and visit this magnificent temple. When I was a school boy I read about this temple in my History book and after that many times contemplated visiting this place, but it materialised only very recently. After seeing the temple and the lovely ambience, I felt that I should have visited this place long back and also made many more visits.

History of the temple:

Thanjavur or Tanjore is in Tamil Nadu, the southern part of India. Once upon a time it was the capital of Chola empire (846-1279 AD). The king Raja Raja Chola, a great lover of art and devotion to God built this temple as a mark of great architectural beauty in the form of sculptures and design. This magnificent ancient temple is more a monument to sculpture and culture of India rather than just a temple. It is a proof of huge labour, best administration and great devotion.

The temple was first called as Rajarajeswaram and now it is called as Brahadeeswaram.

This temple has completed 1000 years and the 1000th year was celebrated in a grand manner by the State Government of Tamil Nadu in 22nd to 28th September 2010.

How to reach there?

From Chennai I had been to Kumbakonam by train for visiting the temples around that place. From kumbakonam I went by bus to Tanjore. You can reach Tanjore directly from Chennai by the following modes:

By Air
The nearest airport from Thanjavur is Tiruchirapalli that is situated 65 kilometers from the downtown Thanjavur. It serves planes from the
Middle East, Colombo, Chennai and Madurai. Another airport is Chennai airport that is about 350 kilometers away from Thanjavur. 

By Train
There is a railway junction in Thanjavur. It is well connected to Trichy, Chennai as well as other major cities in and around Tamilnadu. 

By Road
Thanjavur is well connected to all the major towns in Tamilnadu through state highways. Tamilnadu Transport Corporation and similar Transport Corporations of the adjoining states provide bus service to cities in and around Tamilnadu. 

Local Transportation
For local transportation auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and taxis are available.

About the temple and ambience:

Plan of the temple:

Are of the temple:  800’ *  400’  total area in which the temple area is 500’ * 250’

  • There are two gateways to the temple one after the other in the same direction having separate gopurams (arches) – called as Keralaandhagan Thiruvayil and Rajarajan Thiruvayil
  • Nandhi
    • Tanjore paintings inside nandhi mandapam

  • Ganesha
  • Murugan
  • Chandigeswarar
  • Bramhanayagi amman
  • Natarajar
  • Sri varahi
  • Main deity at the centre of the temple area - Lord Shiva, worshipped in the form of Lingam.
  • Sri vimana
  • Paintings- Tanjore, Nayakkar and maraati

Other interesting factors:

The temple and the surrounding areas are very well maintained. The place is so neat and clean. There is a proper place for keeping the foot wares and benches to help putting shoes.

A lovely elephant is there at the entrance to greet you.

It is interesting to note that  there is a stone figure of a foreigner with cap –It seems  he is Denmark business man who came during that time to India.

There are around 250 Siva lingams in and around the outer structures

Please visit the following site to have a virtual tour of the temple.