The Brihadeeswara Temple is situated in Thanjavur, Tamilnadu, India, which is one of the tallest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The stunning structure of Brihadeeswara Temple is built by the King Raja Raja Cholan in 1010 AD which is made out of Granite. It is also known as ‘Periya Kovil’, ‘RajaRajeswara Temple’ and ‘Rajarajeswaram’. Brihadeeswara temple is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site popularly known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”.
The Vimanam (temple tower) of Brihadeeswara Temple is about 216 feet high and is a dazzling instance of major heights which Chola Kings achieved in Tamil architecture. The Sacred idol of Lord Nandheeswarar in the entrance of Brihadeeswara Temple is about 13 feet high and 16 feet long which is carved out of a single rock. The Kumbam (the top most structure of the temple) is weighing about 60 tons which is also carved out of a single stone.
The main deity of Brihadeeswara Temple is lord Shiva (Lord Brihadeeswara), with three eyes. However one eye is closed. The other important idols of this temple are Lord Dakshinamurthy, Lord Ganesha, Lord Surya and Lord Chandra. The entire surroundings of this temple contains of 250 lingams as a representation of Lord Shiva. This temple has a special environmental pleasure where the lingam is installed with a special stone called Chandrakanta stone, which makes the place cool during summer and comfort warm during winter.
It is said that more than 130,000 granite have been used to build the main structure of the Brihadeeswara Temple. The main specialty of this temple is that the shadow of the main temple never falls on the ground. Brihadeeswara Temple has an awesome painting of King Raja Raja Cholan paying homage to Lord Natarajar, which is one of the ever seen painting of a royal portrait. On the inner walls of the sanctum Santorum, the art of Bharata Natyam, where 108 dance poses which is performed by Lord Shiva known as “Karmas” have been carved.
Brihadeeswara Temple has the idols of Ashta-dikpaalakas which is known as the guardians of the directions. The presence of this six feet tall Ashta-dikpaalakas make this temple one of the rare temples in India. The Ashta-dikpaalakas are Lord Indra, Lord Agni, LordYama, Lord Nirrti, LordVaruna, Lord Vayu, Lord Kubera and Lord Isana.
The temple remains open from 6.00 am to 8.30 pm
The major festivals celebrated in the Brihadeeswara Temple are:
- Natyanjali – Celebrated annually in the month of February
- Pongal – January
- Navarathri – October
- Maha Shivarathri – February or March
- Panguni Utsav – March or April
Thanjavur is well connected by road with all the major towns and cities in Tamil Nadu and also with Cochin, Ernakulum, and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala and Bangalore in Karnataka
The nearest railway station at Thanjavur, is well connected with Trichy, Chennai, and Madurai.
The nearest airport is situated at Trichy, 65-km from Thanjavur.
- Alandurayar (Vadamoolanathar)
- Kaliyuga Varadaraja Perumal