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Home > World > India > Tamil Nadu > Thanjavur > Brihadeeswarar Temple
Brihadeeswarar Temple
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The Brihadeeswarar Temple is alternatively referred to as Peruvudaiyar Kovil is situated at Thanjavur in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is known to be one of the most significant Hindu temples devoted to Lord Shiva. The temple stands as an imperative instance of Tamil form of architecture which was attained at the time of the Chola dynasty. The Brihadeeswarar Temple has been labelled as an UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been bestowed with the title of "Great Living Chola Temples".

Religious Significance

The reigning god of the temple is Lord Shiva however, there are other deities as well. Few of the deities such as Chandra, Dakshinamurthy and Surya can be found in large sizes. The Brihadeeswarar Temple is one of its rare kinds owing to the presence of figures of the ‘Guardians of directions' that is Agni, Varuna, Isana, Vayu, Indra, Yama, Nirrti and Kubera. All the mentioned statues can be found in the temple just the way they used to be in their past, and are represented in the form of life-sized figures with each being around six feet in height. Lord Shiva like most of the other temples is represented in the form a lingam. The chief attraction of the temple is supposed to be the innermost sanctum which houses an image of the temple's presiding god, Shiva. The lingam made of stone is housed in the inmost chamber which is known as the "womb chamber" or Garbhagriha and only the priests are allowed to enter it.

Mythological Significance

A carved European style figure can be observed on the tower situated on top of the sanctum. There is a prevalent belief that it was actually an early admonition of the fact that Europeans were meant to land in the country. There is another legendary story related to the temple which is widely believed by the native people. The people strongly suppose that the shadow of the temple's entrance tower is never visible on the ground. It is also assumed that around 1,30,000 tons of granite was used for the purpose of constructing the temple. A huge piece of granite stone weighing around 60 tons with single piece carvings is placed above the entrance tower. This particular piece of stone was carried to the top with the aid of a slanting slope which was created at an elevation of 66 meters. It is widely believed that the shadow image of this particular part of the tower can never be observed on the ground falling within the temple complex. According to Indian mythology, the prime tower located at the centre symbolizes Mt Meru which is supposed to be the centre point of the wide universe.

Architectural Significance

The Brihadeeswarar Temple evidently reflects Dravidian style of architecture. The temple is known to be amongst the biggest temples of the country along with being considered to be one of the country's most appreciated architectural sites. The temple was constructed by the king, Raja Raja Chola I during 11th century. The age of the temple turned 1000 in the year 2010 as the construction of the temple ended in 1010 AD. It is considered to be an architectural marvel as it was erected based on the laws related to symmetrical as well as axial geometry. It was entirely made of granite stone and around 130,000 tons of the stone was made use of in order to erect the magnificent Brihadeeswara Temple. A large size figure of the sacred bull called Nandi which is about 16 feet in height can be observed right at the point of the temple's entrance.

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