Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar (Brhadisvara ) Temple- Cultural Asset of India
The Cholas reached immense heights in temple designing and the Thanjavur temple is an imposing structure which is famous all over the world. The structure is very famous since it had been made from granite and this is the first man made structure in the world made of granite and reaching imposing dimensions. It was truly a result of great skill and hard work. This temple had been built around the 11th century and the mentor behind this great artwork was Raja Raja Chola1. The temple has walls which have turned it into a virtual fortress. The walls fortifying the temple had been added during the 16th century to ensure protection against damages and sabotages. The main tower of this temple ha a height of around 66 meters. It is one of the tallest structures in the world and it is hard to find such towers reaching heights of up to 66 meters.
The temple has an immensely heavy structure on its top which has been made from monolithic granite; the structure weighs around 81.25 tons. The entire temple has been made from granite and it is the predominant building material. The interesting fact about his is that granite stone is not available in the vicinity of the place where it stands tall. The temple has a unique geometry which is symmetrical in nature. The deity which used to be worshipped here is Lord Shiva. The Thanjavur temple bears witness to the architectural prowess which the Cholas had reached during that period. The artwork inside and outside the temple is unique in terms of minute detailing and delicateness. The temple is located on the banks of a river and the temple structure is based on axial alignment of many associated structures.
The main part of the temple is located in the central part of a design which has a main hall, assembly hall and some shrines and sub-shrines. The image of Lord Shiva is located in the inner part of the sanctum. The Thanjavur Temple is completely based on Dravidian architecture which was at its peak during the reign of the Cholas. The deities inside the temple have been depicted in gigantic dimensions. The images of lord Shiva and the other lingams which have been found inside the temple are all of huge proportions.
The other deities that are found inside the temple are not primary deities but still they are of huge proportions. The Lord of all the eight directions is seen in this temple in the form of life like structures of the deities measuring around 6 foot in height. The basic idea of building such a huge temple came to Raja Raja Chola’s mind while he was staying in Sri Lanka. There he saw huge structures of Lord Buddha and got inspired to present his primary deity, Lord Shiva in a proper way.
Thanjavur enjoys a tropical climate throughout the year. The temperature of summer months ranges from 32 degree C to 36 degree C and the temperature of winter months ranges between 22.8 degree C to 23.5 degree C. The average rainfall is 111.37mm.
The nearest airport is at Tiruchi. Thanjavur is 65kms east of Tiruchi. Next closest airport is at Madurai. It’s about 200 Kms by road. If you come from other parts of the country you can land in Chennai airport. Thanjavur is around 350 Kms south of Chennai by road.
There is a railway junction in Thanjavur. It’s well connected with Tiruchi, Chennai and Nagore.
Thanjavur is well connected with all the major towns in TamilNadu. And also it is connected with Kochi, Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala and Bangalore in Karnataka.