Brihadeeswara Temple

The Brihadeeswara temple "Rajarajesavaram’ or 'Big Temple' was built around thousand years ago by the Great Chola Emperor Raja Raja Cholan I. The magnificent structure houses the largest idols of Linga and Bull, which is still an engineering marvel. Built in a short span of seven years the magnigicent architecture is listed as Great Living Chola Temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The captivating beauty of this historic monument attracts devotes and tourists from all corners of the country and the globe.

History Of Temple

The grand shrine is devoted to Lord Shiva and built by Chola ruler Rajaraja. He was the great follower of Lord Shiva and in order to pay homage to divine Lord he built many Buddhist statues and Shiva temples including Brihadeeswara. The fascinating shrine is counted amidst the great growth of that time period. The holy place was controlled by numerous rulers like Cholas, Vijayanagara, Pandya, Maratha and Nayaka ruler. Other small shrines were also added, the main temple which we see today is the output of work done over many years.

About Temple

The enthralling temple is one of the most impressive architectural pieces of Dravidian style architecture. The shrine took almost 12 years in completion and completely wrapped in Granite. The main entryway of shrine is built like a fort and walls are impressively high. Inside the sanctified place, one can see separate waiting areas of for workers, painters, musician etc. The eastern side of the monument has unique place for prayers that is known as ‘Yagnasala’. The huge walls of the temple are well-bedecked with 64 holy ‘lilas’ of Lord Shiva.

The great Vimana is the central attraction of the shrine, it is 216 feet high and constructed over sanctum. The Vimana has 14 storeys that are finely carved with beautiful pictures of God. This style of Vimana replicates Orissa shrines in Bhubaneswar. The main complex of temple has a large Mahalingam that is 9 feet high and 23 feet in perimeter.

The statue of Nandi (the heavenly vehicle of Lord Shiva) is another attraction of the temple. The enormous idol weight about 25 tons, 18.25 feet in breadth, 19.5 feet in length and 12 feet in height. The massive idol is seated in ‘Nayak Mandapam’ that is finely festooned with intricate carvings. The Mandapam ceiling is renowned for 1000 year old wonderful frescos. The temple of Sri Subramanya is newly added to temple.

Places To See Around Thanjavur

Aalangudi Temple : The Aalangudi shrine is the home of Lord Guru and is nestled in Thanjavur district. Aalangudi is the place where Lord Shiva consumed deadly venom. It is said that apart from daily poojas, if a devotee perform pooja on all Thursdays and offer rice cooked jiggery, jasmine flowers and Bengal gram to Guru Bhagwan, it brings good fortune for that person. Tai Poosam, Panguni Utharam and Chitra Purnima are the main festivals celebrated in the temple.

Chandra Bhagwan Temple : It is the second navagrangal temple located around Thanjavur and also known as ‘Moon temple’. It is believed that individuals who are under bad effects of moon can get rid of effects from their lives by offering prayers to Moon God.

Vellai Pillayar Temple : The sanctify temple is devoted to Lord Ganesha and considered as one of the most ancient shrines seen in temple town of Tanjore. The temple grabs attention of those people who are interested in art and sculptures. The sculptural work and carvings of this sacred place speaks about the outstanding architectural skills of ancient engineers, sculptures and builders.

Sani Bhagawan Temple : In the temple town of Tanjore, Sani Bhagwan temple is another major temple visited by numerous devotees. It is said that, this shrine is the most powerful Saneeshwaran temples in whole world. The Sani Peyairchi carnival is the prominent festival celebrated in the temple.

Thiruvanajozhi Temple :Another pilgrimage point that is situated in the vicinity of Tanjore town, it was built by Chola kings and appreciated for its fine architecture. The walls of shrine have numerous inscriptions. Apart from daily pooja, regular performances of classical music and dance are also organized here.

How To Reach Thanjavur ?

By Air : In order to reach Thanjavur, the closest airport is located at Trichy, which is 65 kms from Thanjavur. If a person is coming from foreign country, then Chennai airport is the best option.

By Rail : Thanjavur has its own railway station that provides a good connectivity with Nagore, Chennai, Trichy etc.

By Road : Thanjavur is joined with all the main towns in Tamilnadu and is also linked with Bangalore, Ernakulum, Kochi and other cities.

Fast Facts

  • Location- Tanjore or Thanjavur, Tamilnadu
  • Significance- One of the biggest and renowned Dravidian shrines of the world.
  • Best time to visit- October-March
  • Weather: Summer 27°C-36°C, Winter 12°C-22°C
  • Timings to visit the temple- 5.30 am - 12.00 pm, Evening 4.00 pm - 8.00 pm