(GIST OF YOJANA) Brihadeeshwara Temple-A Stand Alone Marve

(GIST OF YOJANA) Brihadeeshwara Temple-A Stand Alone Marve


Brihadeeshwara Temple-A Stand Alone Marve


  • The Brihadeeswara Temple (The Big Temple) of Thanjavur is a stunning monument that speaks volumes about the architectural mastery of the Chola era.
  • This Shiva temple is home to one of the largest Shiva Lingas in the country. A majestic Nandi (bull) stands guard over the temple. This is the second largest Nandi in India and is carved out of a single stone. 
  • It is located on the south bank of the Cauvery river in Thanjavur.
  • It is also called Dakshina Meru. The temple is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”, along with the Chola-era Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple and Airavatesvara temple.
  • The ancient city of Thanjavur is the cultural capital of the Kaveri delta region. The city and its cultural legacy are the end product of three vibrant kingdoms that have ruled this part of Tamil Nadu over the past millennium– the Cholas, the Vijayanagar and the Maratta kings.
  • The Cholas take credit for identifying the town as a potential political capital when it was captured by Vijayalaya Cholas early in the 9th century. 
  • Rajaraja-I, who was engaged in several military expeditions, was inspired by the fine temple architecture patronised by the Pallavas, other predecessors and his ancestors, who have been devout Saivites and have contributed to the development of many popular temples of Siva.

The architecture of the big temple:

  • The Brihadeshwara Temple was built by Rajaraja I in 1009 CE for worshipping Lord Shiva.
  • The temple complex measures about 244 metres on the east-west and 122 metres north-south and is placed inside what is referred to as the ‘Sivagangai little fort’. 
  • This fortification is an addition taken over during the renovation by Sevappa Nayaka around the 17th century. 
  • There is also a moat (Long wide Channel) running around this fortification which should be crossed to enter the temple complex. 
  • There are sub-shrines built in between cloistered halls housing shrines for the ashtadikpalakas (deities guarding the 8 directions), Lord Ganesha, and the temple yagasalai. 
  • On the southwest corner is the shrine of Ganesha, built during the times of Sarabhoji II. 
  • The shrine built during the times of Rajaraja, mentioned in the inscription as Parivara-Alayattu Pillaiyar was vandalised and hence the Maratta king built a new structure for him. 
  • This is an extremely ornate sculptural gallery that houses Subramanya along with his consorts Valli and Devasena. 
  • The door guardians of this shrine, sculpted out of a very shining granite stone, and the stone tub installed to collect ablution water are noteworthy for their workmanship. The pillared hall in front of this shrine has portrait paintings of the royal members of the Maratta kings.



Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

Get The Gist 1 Year Subscription Online

Click Here to Download More Free Sample Material

<<Go Back To Main Page

Courtesy: Yojana