Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur, India

Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur

Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur

Temples of South India are fascinating symbols of human passion, workmanship and endeavor, and of intricate art work and yet elaborate grandeur. One of my favorites is the Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu state of India which i visited in the summer of 2012 with my wife.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this is the finest example of Indian architecture. It was built in the 11th century AD by the Chola kings, one of the longest ruling dynasties of South India whose territories extended till Maldives in the Indian Ocean and had influence up to East Asian countries as well.

Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur

Ornate Gopuram (tower) of the Main Entrance

This temple is also known as the Big Temple of Thanjavur and completed 1000 years of its existence in 2010. Vimana or the main temple tower stands at a height of 216 feet (equivalent to 13 storeys of a building) and is one of the tallest structure of its kind in the world. The interesting fact about the tower is that the topmost block of the tower weighs 80 tonne and is carved out of one single rock, with no joints of any kind in between. Must have excellent technology then? What do you think?

Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur

Intricate Stone Sculpture

Archaeologists are amazed at this temple and say that this temple can survive for thousands of centuries as the complete temple is built of the hardest stone available in the world – granite. It is still not clear as to how the heavy stone was carried to the top of the temple and this temple was built, which makes it as intriguing as the Egypt pyramids. Something to marvel at when you visit this stupendous structure! One can just appreciate the techniques of the builders of that period, which in their quest to reach to the Gods, built such memorable and monumental stories, all in stone.

Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur

Art work & Inscriptions on the Temple Walls

Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur

Inscriptions found on the Walls on Temple

This immortal edifice in stone is part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Thanjavur temple is rich in iconography and has lot of inscriptions written in Tamil language on the temple walls. There are several frescoes on the ceilings of the temple and several deities are carved in stone around the temple walls. These sculptures and paintings are truly adorable and speak volumes about the artistic prowess of the bygone era.

Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur

Statues of Hindu God – Ganesha – and Goddess Carved in Stone

Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur

Sculptures Carved in Stone

Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur

Sculptures of the Temple

Inside the temple complex, you will find a huge Nandi or bull of Lord Shiva, which is carved out of one stone. There are hundreds of small Shiva lingams inside the temple complex.

Visiting this temple was one of my long cherished wishes after having seen its photographs and reading more about it. It was a fantastic experience for us to be part of an architectural marvel in Thanjavur. When you are in South India, you must not miss visiting this temple, along with the great Meenakshi temple of Madurai.

Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur

Gopuram at the Entrance to the Brihadeshwara Temple

Best Time to Travel to Thanjavur: Best time to travel to Thanjavur is during the winter and spring season when climate is milder and cooler. However, we could not resist the temptation to see this temple and hence, visited in hot and humid summer of South India. If you must travel in the summer, make sure to dress appropriately and protect your body from harsh sun rays. Make sure to drink plenty of water and splurge on the juicy fruits of the season to hydrate your body.

How to Reach Thanjavur Temple: You can reach Thanjavur by flight or by train. Thanjavur train station is well connected with several daily trains from most cities of South India and has weekly trains from other parts of the country as well. Closest airport is Tiruchirapalli or Trichy, which is well connected with daily flights from Chennai and elsewhere in India. Once in Trichy airport, you can reach Thanjavur temple (60 km away) by a road trip from Trichy. We flew from Hyderabad to Trichy and upon reaching Trichy airport, took a taxi to the Thanajvur temple, which was just an hour journey.

Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur

Another View of Gopuram at the Entrance

Entrance Fees: There is no entrance fees and its absolutely FREE. Yes, you read it right!

Temple Timings: Temple is open for visitors on all days from morning 6:00 am to 8:30 pm.

What to Buy: When you are in Thanjavur, you cannot miss buying the Thanjavur dancing dolls, which are so famous and unique in itself.

Thanjavur Dancing Dolls Photo Courtesy: The Hindu

Thanjavur Dancing Dolls Photo Courtesy: The Hindu

More photos of Weekly Photo Challenge – Intricate – here.

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32 Responses to Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur, India

  1. Pingback: Heritage Photo Contest - The Lucky Ten! | Kat Pegi Mana: Where Is Kat Going?

  2. Pingback: Heritage Photo Contest – The Lucky Ten! – Kat Pegi Mana: Where Is Kat Going?

  3. neha(guddu) says:

    so well written…..
    it is first temple in world made of granite,,,,built by rajaraja chola 1…

    https://dreamlittlebig.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing level of detail and thankfully so well-preserved! Your photos of the temple are fantastic, Suyash – totally travel guidebook cover-level!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much dear for your kind appreciation and your visit. It motivates me to click more better pictures.

      Yes, this temple gas been preserved very well with the authorities and had a unique charm of its own. Amidst the walla of the temple, you feel as if transported back to few centuries in time 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. dray0308 says:

    Human design and architecture is incredibly fascinating! These temples are amazing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely. Treat to watch and wonder the perseverance and will power of humans to build such magnanimous structures leading up to the skies above 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by the post dear. Have a great day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Chris says:

    I LOVE the details.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. oldpoet56 says:

    Beautiful, simply beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Alka Girdhar says:

    Nice post! I lived in South India for a few years and that’s what I immediately observed,.that they have kept tradition intact, as can be seen in all the temples and rituals. Close to my home here in Sydney, we have a south Indian style temple with similar elaborate and intricate details that are in your pictures, of course at a smaller level.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So truly. South Indian temples are culturally very rich and ‘rich’ in gold also 🙂 And they have treasured their traditions. Even now you will feel it in their rituals as if you have traced back in time 🙂

      South Indian temples are so clean n humongous in sizes and very ornate too. Even I lived in South Indian for almost 14 years 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. roytanusree says:

    Nice post and photography.I visited this temple 2 years back .This is really a beautiful temple with ancient Indian architecture.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This temple is in my bucket list from a very long time. Hope I get to see it this year!! Lovely images

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Amrit says:

    Absolutely amazing. Thank you for giving a tour and sharing pictures with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, those carvings are definitely intricate! This was a really interesting post with great photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Aaarrghh… this is a great post, but you make me confused with destinations in India. Too many beautiful places but so limited time I have! 😀 😀 😀 I have to rearrange and prioritize where I want to go first. Anyway, thank you for sharing this nice place…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks a lot Cerita. I completely understand your confusion coz India indeed is a vast country with so much to see. And I can certainly help you with your trip.

      If you can let me know about your approximate itinerary with the list of places you wanna see or your kind of places, I can advise and prioritize based on my experiences. You can drop me an email – suyashchopra1@gmail.com

      Thanks for your visit and nice words. Have a great week ahead and all the best for your planning 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Loved this post. I am so happy you shared the intricate photos of this temple as I was not aware and hope to one day visit this myself.

    Liked by 1 person

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