Thanjavur Brihadeeshwarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as Periya Kovil, RajaRajeswara Temple and Rajarajeswaram.
The Brihadeshwarar temple was built to grace the confidence of the Chola empire by the Tamil emperor Arulmozhivarman,he was popularly called as “Rajaraja Chola I“.
It is one luminous example of major heights, which Cholas achieves within Tamil architecture. This temple is one tribute and one reflection of power of its supporter Raja Raja Chola I.
This temple remains as India’s largest and Indian architecture’s one of greatest glories. It is also a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site as “Great Living Chola Temples”.
The Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar Temple is located in Thanjavur district in Tamilnadu, India.
The temple was built on the banks of River Cauvery with its water turned to the moat. The temple, constructed entirely of granite, stands amidst fortified walls. There was no rock formation around this area. It is believed that the rocks would have been brought from a place at least 50kms away.
The temple was built using a measure of 1 3/8-inch called an angula. This is the same measure found in the Indus Valley dating back 4000 – 6000 years. The solid base of the temple raises about 5 metres (16 feet), above which stone deities and representatives of Shiva dance.
The big Nandi (bull), weighing about 20 tonnes is made of a single stone and is about 2 m in height, 6 m in length and 2.5 m in width. The presiding deity of lingam is 3.7m tall.
The temple has a portrait of Raja Raja Cholan paying obeisance to Lord Natarajar. This is undoubtedly, the first ever instance of a royal portrait. And lot of other occasion are conducted, that was organised by state government a Bharathanatyam Yajna, classical dance show under noted dancer Padma Subramaniam.
It was jointly organised by the Association of Bharatanatyam Artistes of India (ABHAI) and the Brhan Natyanjali Trust, Thanjavur.
In this Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar temple,they are preserving many ‘natarajar statues‘. Not only natarajar statues and lot of other idols and statues are present there. But many of us do not know about this museum inside the ‘Brihadeeswarar temple.Depictions of nartakis or dancers showing eighty one of hundred and eight karanas (synchronised movements of hands and feet) in Bharata Natyam are carved here.
These karanas are a part of karanas mentioned in the Natya Shastra of Bharata Muni or Sage Bharata. There is also evidence that the temple was a platform for talented dancers to showcase their talent. These depictions are first of their kind.
On 26 September 2010 (Big Temple’s fifth day of millennium celebrations), as a recognition of Big Temple’s contribution to the country’s cultural, architectural, epigraphical history, a special 5 postage stamp featuring the 216-feet tall giant Raja Gopuram was released by India Post.
On 1 April 1954, the Reserve Bank of India released a 1000 currency note featuring a panoramic view of the Brihadeeswarar Temple marking its cultural heritage and significance.This thanjavur Brihadesswarar temple should be visited atleast once a year.
Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar Temple Timings:
Morn 8:30 am to eve 8:30 pm