Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadishvara Temple, also called Rajarajesvaram or Peruvudaiyār Kōvil, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in South bank of Kaveri river in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India.[1][3] It is one of the largest South Indian temples and an exemplary example of a fully realized Dravidian architecture.[4] It is called as Dhakshina Meru (Meru of south).[5] Built by Tamil king Raja Raja Chola I between 1003 and 1010 AD, the temple is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Great Living Chola Temples", along with the Chola dynasty era Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple and Airavatesvara temple that are about 70 kilometres (43 mi) and 40 kilometres (25 mi) to its northeast respectively.[6]

The original monuments of this 11th century temple were built around a moat. It included gopura, the main temple, its massive tower, inscriptions, frescoes and sculptures predominantly related to Shaivism, but also of Vaishnavism and Shaktism traditions of Hinduism. The temple was damaged in its history and some artwork is now missing. Additional mandapam and monuments were added in centuries that followed. The temple now stands amidst fortified walls that were added after the 16th century.[7][8]

Built out of granite, the vimana tower above the sanctum is one of the tallest in South India.[3] It was, in all likelihood, one of the tallest structures in the world at the time of its construction. The temple has a massive colonnaded prakara (corridor) and one of the largest Shiva lingas in India.[3][6][9] It is also famed for the quality of its sculpture, as well as being the location that commissioned the brass Nataraja – Shiva as the lord of dance, in 11th century. The complex includes shrines for Nandi, Parvati, Kartikeya, Ganesha, Sabhapati, Dakshinamurti, Chandeshvara, Varahi and others.[6][10] The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.[11]

Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
Brihadisvara temple complex is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Great Living Chola Temples
Brihadishvara temple complex
DistrictThanjavur District
FestivalsMaha Shivaratiri
StateTamil Nadu
Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur is located in India
Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
Location in Tamil Nadu, India
Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur is located in Tamil Nadu
Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu)
Geographic coordinates10°46′58″N 79°07′54″E / 10.78278°N 79.13167°ECoordinates: 10°46′58″N 79°07′54″E / 10.78278°N 79.13167°E
StyleDravidian architecture
CreatorRaja Raja Chola I
Completed1010 AD[1][2]
InscriptionsTamil and Grantha scripts
Elevation66 m (217 ft)
Official nameThe Brihadisvara Temple Complex, Thanjavur
Part ofGreat Living Chola Temples
CriteriaCultural: (ii), (iii)
Inscription1987 (11th Session)
Area18.07 ha (44.7 acres)
Buffer zone9.58 ha (23.7 acres)


Rajaraja, who commissioned the temple, called it Rajarajeshvaram (Rajarājeśvaram), literally "the temple of the god of Rajaraja".[12] A later inscription in the Brihannayaki shrine calls the temple's deity Periya Udaiya Nayanar, which appears to be the source of the modern names Brihadisvara and Peruvudaiyar Kovil.[13]

Brihadishvara (IAST: Bṛihádīśvara) is a Sanskrit composite word composed of Brihat which means "big, great, lofty, vast",[14] and Ishvara means "lord, Shiva, supreme being, supreme atman (soul)".[15][16] The name means the "great lord, big Shiva" temple.


The Brihadeswara Temple is located in the city of Thanjavur, about 350 kilometres (220 mi) southwest of Chennai. The city is connected daily to other major cities by the network of Indian Railways, Tamil Nadu bus services and the National Highways 67, 45C, 226 and 226 Extn.[17][18] The nearest airport with regular services is Tiruchirappalli International Airport (IATA: TRZ), about 55 kilometres (34 mi) away.[19]

The city and the temple though inland, are at the start of the Cauveri River delta, thus with access to the Bay of Bengal and through it to the Indian Ocean. Along with the temples, the Tamil people completed the first major irrigation network in the 11th century for agriculture, for movement of goods and to control the water flow through the urban center.[20]


Raraja detail
Statue of Rajaraja Chola I who built the temple over 1003-1010 CE.[1][2]

A spectrum of Hindu temple styles continued to develop from the 5th to the 9th century over the Chalukya era rule as evidenced in Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal, and then with the Pallava era as witnessed at Mamallapuram and other monuments. Thereafter, between 850 and 1280 CE, Cholas emerged as the dominant dynasty.[2][21] The early Chola period saw a greater emphasis on securing their geopolitical boundaries and less emphasis on architecture. In the 10th century, within the Chola empire emerged features such as the multifaceted columns with projecting square capitals. This, states George Michell, signaled the start of the new Chola style.[2][note 1] This South Indian style is most fully realized both in scale and detail in the Brihadeshvara temple built between 1003 and 1010 by the Chola king Rajaraja.[1][2]

Additions, renovations and repairs

The main temple along with its gopurams are from the early 11th century. The temple also saw additions, renovations, and repairs over the next 1,000 years. The raids and wars, particularly between Muslim Sultans who controlled Madurai and Hindu kings who controlled Thanjavur caused damage.[8][note 2] These were repaired by Hindu dynasties that regained control. In some cases, the rulers attempted to renovate the temple with faded paintings, by ordering new murals on top of the older ones. In other cases, they sponsored addition of shrines. The significant shrines of Kartikeya (Murugan), Parvati (Amman) and Nandi are from the 16th and 17th-century Nayaka era.[8][25] Similarly the Dakshinamurti shrine was built later.[25]



Side profile, Brihadeeswara
Side profile, Brihadeeswara

The Brihadeshvara temple plan and development utilizes the axial and symmetrical geometry rules.[26] It is classified as Perunkoil (also called Madakkoil), a big temple built on a higher platform of a natural or man-made mounds.[27] The temple complex is a rectangle that is almost two stacked squares, covering 240.79 metres (790.0 ft) east to west, and 121.92 metres (400.0 ft) north to south. In this space are five main sections: the sanctum with the towering superstructure (sri vimana), the Nandi hall in front (Nandi-mandapam) and in between these the main community hall (mukhamandapam), the great gathering hall (mahamandapam) and the pavilion that connects the great hall with the sanctum (ardhamandapam).[28]

The temple complex integrates a large pillared and covered veranda (prakara) in its spacious courtyard, with a perimeter of about 450 metres (1,480 ft) for circumambulation. Outside this pillared veranda there are two walls of enclosure, the outer one being defensive and added in 1777 CE by the French colonial forces with gun-holes with the temple serving as an arsenal. They made the outer wall high, isolating the temple complex area. On its east end is the original main gopuram or gateway that is barrel vaulted. It is less than half the size of the main temple's vimana. Additional structures were added to the original temple after the 11th century, such as a mandapa in its northeast corner and additional gopurams (gateways) on its perimeters to allow people to enter and leave from multiple locations.[28][29] Some of the shrines and structures were added during the Pandya, Nayaka, Vijayanagara and Maratha era, before the colonial era started, and these builders respected the original plans and symmetry rules. Inside the original temple courtyard, along with the main sanctum and Nandi-mandapam are two major shrines, one for Kartikeya and for Parvati. The complex has additional smaller shrines.[28][30][31]

The Brihadisvara temple continued the Hindu temple traditions of South India by adopting architectural and decorative elements, but its scale significantly exceeded the temples constructed before the 11th century. The Chola era architects and artisans innovated the expertise to scale up and build, particularly with heavy stone and to accomplish the 63.4 metres (208 ft) high towering vimana.[30][28]

Nandi mandapam and the entrance gopurams, northeast view from courtyard.
Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple Entrance
Another view of the entrance.

The temple faces east, and once had a water moat around it. This has been filled up. The fortified wall now runs around this moat. The two walls have ornate gateways called the gopurams. These are made from stone and display entablature. The main gateways are on the east side. The first one is called the Keralantakan tiruvasal, which means the "sacred gate of the Keralantakan". The word Keralantakan was the surname of king Rajaraja who built it. About a 100 metres (330 ft) ahead is the inner courtyard gopuram called the Rajarajan tiruvasal. This is more decorated than the Keralantakan tiruvasal, such as with its adhishthanam relief work narrating scenes from the Puranas and other Hindu texts.[28] The inner eastern gopuram leads to a vast courtyard, in which the shrines are all signed to east-west and north-west cardinal directions. The complex can be entered either on one axis through a five-story gopuram or with a second access directly to the huge main quadrangle through a smaller free-standing gopuram. The gopuram of the main entrance is 30 m high, smaller than the vimana.[10]

The main temple-related monuments and the great tower is in the middle of this courtyard.[28] Around the main temple that is dedicated to Shiva, are smaller shrines, most of which are aligned axially. These are dedicated to his consort Parvati, his sons Subrahmanya and Ganesha, Nandi, Varahi, Karuvur deva (the guru of Rajaraja Chola), Chandeshvara and Nataraja.[10] The Nandi mandapam has a monolithic seated bull facing the sanctum. In between them are stairs leading to a columned porch and community gathering hall, then an inner mandapa connecting to the pradakshina patha, or circumambulation path. The Nandi (bull) facing the mukh-mandapam weighs about 25 tonnes.[32] It is made of a single stone and is about 2 m in height, 6 m in length and 2.5 m in width. The image of Nandi is a monolithic one and is one of the largest in the country.[33]

Sanctum and the Sri-vimana

Different views of the Sri-vimana.

Big Temple Thanjavur
Thanjavur, Brihadishwara Temple (7013915633)

The sanctum is at the center of the western square. It is surrounded by massive walls that are divided into levels by sharply cut sculptures and pilasters providing deep bays and recesses. Each side of the sanctuary has a bay with iconography.[34][26] The interior of the sanctum sanctorum hosts an image of the primary deity, Shiva, in the form of a huge stone linga. It is called Karuvarai, a Tamil word that means "womb chamber". This space is called garbha griha in other parts of India. Only priests are allowed to enter this inner-most chamber.[35]

In the Dravida style, the sanctum takes the form of a miniature vimana. It has the inner wall together with the outer wall creating a path around the sanctum for circumambulation (pradakshina). The entrance is highly decorated. The inside chamber is the sanctum sanctorum, which houses the brihad linga.[2]

The main Vimana (Shikhara) is a massive 16 storeys tower of which 13 are tapering squares. It dominates the main quadrangle. It sits above a 30.18 metres (99.0 ft) sided square.[34] The tower is elaborately articulated with Pilaster, piers(a raised structure), and attached columns which are placed rhythmically covering every surface of the vimana.[36]

Deities and Natya Sastra dance mudras

Shiva Nataraja Tanjore Bruxelles 02 10 2011 01
The bronze Nataraja design of Thanjavur found in many museums was commissioned for this temple's sanctum.[37]

The temple is dedicated to Shiva in the form of a huge linga, his abstract aniconic representation. It is 8.7 m (29 ft) high, occupying two storeys of the sanctum.[3][9] It is one of the largest monolithic linga sculptures in India.[33]

Sculptures on the maha-mandapam walls[38]
North side South side
Bhairava (Shiva) Ganesha
Mahishasuramardini (Durga) Vishnu
Saraswati Gajalakshmi
Top of Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
The sikhara, a cupolic dome (25 tons), is octagonal and rests on a single block of granite, weighing 80 tons.

The Shaivism temple celebrates all major Hindu traditions by including the primary deities of the Vaishnavism and Shaktism tradition in the great mandapa of the main temple. The distribution of the deities is generally symmetric, except for the east entrance side which provide for the door and walkway. In addition to the main deities, each side provides for dvarapalas (guardians), and various other sculptures. The vestibule has three stone sculptures that is intricately carved, and mural paintings.[38] The ground floor level sanctum walls have the following sculptures:[38]

  • East wall: Lingodbhava, standing Shiva, Pashupata-murti, plus two dvarapalas flanking the pathway from ardha-mandapam
  • South wall: Bhikshatana, Virabhadra, Dakshinamurti, Kalantaka, Nataraja[note 3] plus two dvarapalas
  • West wall: Harihara (half Shiva, half Vishnu), Lingodbhava, Chandrashekhara without prabhavali, Chandrashekhara with prabhavali, plus two dvarapalas
  • North wall: Ardhanarishvara (half Shiva, half Parvati), Gangadhara without Parvati, Pashupata-murti, Shiva-alingana-murti, plus two dvarapalas
One of the 81 dance positions carved on the outer wall of the upper storey corridor wall.

On the second floor, Shiva's Tripurantaka form in different postures is depicted corresponding to these sculptures. Above these floors, the sri-vimana towers above in thirteen storeys (talas). Above these storeys is a single square block of granite weight 80 tons, and 7.77 metres (25.5 ft) side. On top of this block, at its corners are Nandi pairs each about 1.98 metres (6 ft 6 in) by 1.68 metres (5 ft 6 in) in dimension. Above the center of this granite block rises the griva, the sikhara and the finial (stupi) of Tamil Hindu temple architecture. This stupi is 3.81 metres (12.5 ft) in height, and was originally covered with gold (no longer). The sikhara at the top is cupola-shaped and weighs 25 tons.[38][39] Each storey of this tower is decorated with kutas and salas. The shrinking squares tower architecture of this temple differs from the tower at the Chola temple at Gangaikondasolisvaram, because this is straight in contrast to the latter which is curvilinear. The temple's sri-vimana magnitude has made it a towering landmark for the city.[38] The upper storey corridor wall of the aditala is carved with 81 of the 108 dance karanas – postures of Natya Sastra. This text is the basis of the Bharathanatyam, the classical dance of Tamil Nadu. The 27 unrepresented karanas are blank blocks of stone, and it is unclear why these were not carved. The 81 postures carved suggest the significance of this classical Indian dance form by early 11th century.[9]

The garbhagriha is square and sits on a plinth. This is moulded and 0.5 metres (1 ft 8 in) thick. It consists of upapitham and adhishthanam, respectively 140 cm and 360 cm thick.[9]


The two mandapa, namely maha-mandapa and mukha-mandapa, are square plan structures axially aligned between the sanctum and the Nandi mandapa. The maha-mandapa has six pillars on each side.[40] This too has artwork. The Vitankar and Rajaraja I bronze are here, but these were added much later. The maha-mandapa is flanked by two giant stone dvarapalas. It is linked to the mukha-mandapa by stairs. The entrance of the mukha-mandapa also has dvarapalas. With the mandapa are eight small shrines for dikpalas, or guardian deities of each direction such as Agni, Indra, Varuna, Kubera and others. These were installed during the rule of Chola king Rajendra I.[40]

Inscriptions indicate that this area also had other iconography from major Hindu traditions during the Chola era, but these are now missing. The original eight shrines included those for Surya (the sun god), Saptamatrikas (seven mothers), Ganesha, Kartikeya, Jyeshtha, Chandra (the moon god), Chandeshvara and Bhairava.[40] Similarly, in the western wall cella was a massive granite Ganesha built during Rajaraja I era, but who is now found in the tiruch-churru-maligai (southern veranda). Of the Shaktism tradition's seven mothers, only Varahi survives in a broken form. Her remnants are now found in a small modern era brick "Varahi shrine" in the southern side of the courtyard. The original version of the others along with their original Chola shrines are missing.[40]


Rajaraja mural-2
A mural of Rajaraja I and his guru.
N-TN-C192 Nandi Mandapam ceiling with centuries old murals
Nayaka dynasty ceiling mural in the Nandi shrine.

The temple has an underneath layer of Chola frescoes on the sanctum walls along the circumambulatory pathway. These frescoes which cover floor to ceiling, were discovered in 1931 by S. K. Govindasami of the Anamalai University.[41] The painters used natural pigments and infused it into the wet limestone layer as it was setting in. The Chola frescoes were largely of Shaivism themes. These were restored in the 2000s.[42] The total Chola fresco area is about 670 square metres (7,200 sq ft), of which about 112 square metres (1,210 sq ft) had been uncovered as of 2010 in a method that preserves both paintings, a technique developed by Archaeological Survey of India.[41] The frescoes narrate Hindu mythology.[41][43] According to Balasubrahmanyam, most frescoes are related to Shiva, but the 11th century Chola frescoes also show Vishnu, Durga and others, as well as scenes of Chola royalty, courtly and common life.[43]

Murals in the ceiling of Nandi mandapa, Brihadeeswara temple

Mural2 Brihadeeswara
Mural detail Brihadeeswara

The later constructions, additions and modifications to the temple curtailed the amount of natural light inside the temple. The frescoes were thus photographed in a limited way and interpreted. According to Sriraman, a complete imaging with better photographic equipment suggests that these historic interpretations were incorrect.[41] For example, a fresco that was previously interpreted as Dakshinamurti Shiva is actually a secular scene of a royal guru meditating under a banyan tree. On the tree are shown peacocks, birds, monkeys, squirrels and owls, plus a cobra. The animals and birds are shown as worried of the cobra, the one's closer to the snake are shown to be more worried.[41] Other parts of the panel similarly show a court listening to a saint. Other show women in different dresses in different dance mudra.[41]

Some of the paintings in the sanctum sanctorum and the walls in the passage had been damaged because of the soot that had deposited on them once upon a time. Owing to the continuous exposure to smoke and soot from the lamps and burning of camphor in the sanctum sanctorum over a period of centuries certain parts of the Chola paintings on the circumambulatory passage walls had been badly damaged.[42] The Archaeological Survey of India, for the first time in the world, used its unique de-stucco process to restore 16 Nayak paintings, which were superimposed on 1000-year-old Chola frescoes.[42] These 400-year-old paintings have been mounted on fibre glass boards, displayed at a separate pavilion.[42]


Tamil Inscriptions in Thanjavur Brahadeeshwara Temple written 1000 years ago
Tamil Inscriptions in Thanjavur Brahadeeshwara Temple written 1000 years ago

The temple walls have numerous inscriptions in Tamil and Grantha scripts. Many of these begin with customary Sanskrit and Tamil language historical introduction to the king who authorized it, and predominant number of them discuss gifts to the temple or temple personnel, in some cases residents of the city.[44][45] The temple complex has sixty four inscriptions of Rajaraja Chola I, twenty nine inscriptions of Rajendra Chola I, one each of Vikrama Chola, Kulottunga I and Rajendradeva (Rajendra Chola II), three of a probable Pandyan king, two of Vijayanagara rulers namely, Achyutappa Nayaka and Mallapa Nayaka.[46]

ஸ்வஸ்திஸ்ரீ் திருமகள் போல பெருநில
பெருநிலச் செல்வியுந் தனக்கேயுரிமை
கேயுரிமை பூண்டமை மனக்கொளக்
Kandalursaalai kalamaruttaruli
காந்தளூர்ச் சாலைக் களமறூத்தருளி வேங்கை
Udaiyar Sri Rajaraja
உடையார் ஸ்ரீராஜராஜ சோழன்
1010 CE Brihadishwara Shiva Temple, inscription, built by Rajaraja I, Thanjavur Tamil Nadu India
The Brihadishwara Temple has Tamil and Sanskrit inscriptions from the 11th century.

Temple personnel

An inscription on the north wall of enclosure, dated 1011 CE, gives a detailed accounts of people employed and supported by the temple. The inscription gives their wages, roles and names. It includes over 600 names including those of priests, lamp lighters, washermen, tailors, jewelers, potters, carpenters, sacred parasol bearers, dance gurus, dancing girls, singers, male and female musicians, superintendents of performance artists, accountants among others. Their wages was in parcels of land, so their temple employment was likely part-time.[47][45]

The temple employed devadasis who were dancers and singers of devotional hymns. Among its numerous inscriptions are frequent gifts that state, "to provide for worship, for food to assembly of sannyasis (monks or ascetics) and for repairs". According to George Michell, the Thanjavur temple was a major charity institution in its history. It provides free meal for pilgrims, devotees and wayfarers on a daily basis. On days of Hindu festivals, these meals were elaborate and when brahmins were particularly invited and fed.[47][45]

Millennium commemoration

1000 years Old Thanjavur Brihadeeshwara Temple View at Sunrise
1,000 year old Thanjavur Brihadeeshwara Temple - view at sunrise.
Thanjavur, Brihadishwara Temple, dance (6851706080)
Dancers gathered at Brihadishwara Temple to commemorate it.

Built in the year 1010 CE by Raja Raja Chola in Thanjavur, the temple popularly known as the Big Temple. It turned 1000 years old in September 2010. To celebrate the 1000th year of the grand structure, the state government and the town held many cultural events. It was to recall the 275th day of his 25th regal year (1010 CE) when Raja Raja Chola (985–1014 CE) handed over a gold-plated kalasam (copper pot or finial) for the final consecration to crown the vimana, the 59.82-metre tall tower above the sanctum.[48][49][50]

Bharathanatyam Yajna

To mark the occasion, the state government organised a Bharathanatyam Yajna, classical dance show under noted dancer Padma Subramaniam. It was jointly organised by the Association of Bharatanatyam Artistes of India (ABHAI) and the Brhan Natyanjali Trust, Thanjavur. To mark the 1000th anniversary of the building, 1000 dancers from New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Singapore, Malaysia and the US danced in concert to the recorded 11 verses of divine music Thiruvisaippa (ninth volume of Thirumurai) composed by Karuvur deva (the guru of Raja Raja Chola). The small town turned into a cultural hub for two days beginning 26 September 2010 as street performers and dancers performed throughout the town.[51][52]

Commemorative stamps and coins

On 26 September 2010 (Big Temple's fifth day of millennium celebrations), as a recognition of Big Temple's contribution to the country's cultural, architectural, epigraphical history, a special 5 postage stamp featuring the 216-feet tall giant Raja Gopuram was released by India Post.

The Reserve Bank of India commemorated the event by releasing a 5 coin with the model of temple embossed on it.[53][54] A Raja, Cabinet Minister of Communications and Information Technology released the esteemed Brihadeeswarar temple special stamp, the first of which was received by G K Vasan, Cabinet Minister of Shipping.

Mumbai Mint issued Rs 1000 Commemorative Coin with the same picture as on the Rs 5 coin. It was the first 1000 Rupees coin to be released in the Republic of India coinage. This coin was a Non Circulative Legal Tender (NCLT).[55]

On 1 April 1954, the Reserve Bank of India released a 1000 currency note featuring a panoramic view of the Brihadeeswar temple marking its cultural heritage and significance. In 1975, the then government led by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi demonetised all 1,000 currency notes in an effort to curtail black money. These notes are now popular among collectors.[56]

In 2010, the then Tamil Nadu chief minister, M Karunanidhi renamed Semmai Rice, a type of high productivity paddy variant, as Raja Rajan-1000 to mark the millennial year of the constructor of the temple, Rajaraja Chola].[57]


The temple "testifies the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting."[58] The temple finds mention in many of the contemporary works of the period like Muvar Ula and Kalingathuparani. According to Chatterjee, the Dravidian architecture attained its supreme form of expression in the temple and it successor, the Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram.[59] The temple has been declared as a heritage monument by the Government of India and administered by the Archaeological Survey of India as a protected monument. The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.[11]

The temple was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Gangaikondacholapuram and Airavatesvara temple at Darasuram that are referred as the Great Living Chola Temples.[6] These three temples have similarities, but each has unique design and sculptural elements.[60] All of the three temples were built by the Cholas between the 10th and 12th centuries CE and they have continued to be supported and used by Hindus. The temples are classified as "Great Living" as the temples are active in cultural, pilgrimage and worship practises in modern times.[61]

Cultural events

Temple festival procession, 2010.

The Brihadishvara temple at Thanjavur is the site of annual dance festivals around February, around the Mahashivratri. Major classical Indian dance form artists, as well as regional teams, perform their repertoire at this Brahan Natyanjali festival over 10 days.[62]

Car festival

The Temple car was rolled out on its trial run from opposite to Sri Ramar temple on 20 April 2015 witnessed by a large number of people.[63] Nine days later, the maiden procession of the temple car was held. This was the first such procession in this temple held in the past hundred years, according to news reports.[64]


Kalki Krishnamurthy, a renowned Tamil novelist, has written a historical novel named Ponniyin Selvan, based on the life of Raja Raja Chola I.[65] Balakumaran, another Tamil author has written a novel named Udaiyar themed on the life of Raja Raja Chola I and the construction of the temple.[66]


The temple is currently administered and managed by Babaji Bhonsle, the head of the Thanjavur Maratha royal family. He serves as the hereditary trustee of the palace Devasthanam which continues to manage 88 Chola temples including the Brihadeeswara temple. Tamil groups have been unsuccessfully petitioning the Tamil Nadu government to revoke these rights as he is not of Chola or Tamil lineage. According to one of the protesters, who also happens to be the coordinator of the Big Temple Rights Retrieval Committee, Babaji Bhonsle is also not the legal heir of the Maratha kings of Thanjavur.[67]


The temple features many sculptures, reliefs and murals:[68]

Big temple 064

Shiva with a begging bowl as a saddhu (monk, Bhikshatana)

Big temple 100

Ardhanarishvara (half Shiva, half Parvati) symbolizing that the male and female principles are inseparable.[69]

Le temple de Brihadishwara (Tanjore, Inde) (13908795928)

Ganesha is depicted both in the main temple and a separate shrine.

Brihadeeswarar Temple 04

Separate Ganesha shrine with temple corridor in the back.


Subrahmanyar shrine in the north part of the courtyard. Also called Murugan, Kartikeya or Skanda.

Chandeshvara shrine at the Brihadisvara Temple

Chandeshvara shrine. On right is the wall of main temple, in back the eastern gopuram. Chandeshvara is a meditating yogi and Nayanmar Bhakti movement saint.

1010 CE Brihadishwara Temple, Hindu god Shiva, built by Rajaraja I, Thanjavur Tamil Nadu India (8)

Narasimha avatar of Vishnu killing the demon who persecutes people for their religious beliefs.

1010 CE Brihadishwara Shiva Temple, yogini, built by Rajaraja I, Thanjavur Tamil Nadu India

Lakshmi statue, a Vaishnava sculpture reverentially displayed.

Tanjore Paintings - Big temple 01

Gaja-lakshmi mural, another Vaishnavism themed artwork.

Big temple 061

Vishnu sculpture at the Shaivism temple.

1010 CE Brihadishwara Shiva Temple, wall relief, built by Rajaraja I, Thanjavur Tamil Nadu India

A yoga and meditation relief; the temple portrays numerous secular and saint scenes.

Brihadeeswarar Temple 3407

Kalpavrisksha mythology with kama depiction (gopuram).

Nandi Brihadeeswara

Nandi shrine

Sculpture2 Brihadeeswara


Sculpture3 Brihadeeswara

Vimana outer wall detail

Relief Staircase, Brihadeeswara

Reliefs adorning the stairs

Relief detail, Brihadeeswara

Relief detail

Relief detail 2 Brihadeeswara

Relief detail

Entrance Brihadeeswara


Vimana Brihadeeswara

Vimana view

Left side view Brihadeeswara

Left profile view

The Big Temple - Thanjavur

The magnificent view at night

[[ thumb ]]

See also

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  1. ^ Douglas Barrett in his 1975 publication on Chola architecture states that a new style emerged between 866 and 940 CE starting with Vijayalaya, the first Chola ruler. According to Barrett, the Chola style did not develop out of the Pallava tradition.[22] According to Gary J. Schwindler, Barrett's work supplies opinions that are "opportunities for endless conjecture and debate".[23]
  2. ^ Thanjavur was a target of both Muslim and Hindu neighboring kingdoms, both near and far. The Madurai Sultanate was established in the 14th century, after the disastrous invasions and plunder of South India by Ala ud-Din Khalji's armies of Delhi Sultanate led by Malik Kafur.[24] Later Adil Shahi Sultanate, Qutb Shahis, Randaula Khan and others from east and west coasts of South India raided it, and some occupied it for a few years.[8]
  3. ^ In Tamil literature, the lord of dance form of Shiva, is referred to as Adavallan or Kuttaperumanadigal. This bronze style Nataraja from the Chola era is much celebrated and studied, including those of later texts such as Unmaivilakkam and Citampara Mummani Kovia describing its significance. Nataraja in Indian art dates to earlier pre-Chola centuries.[37]


  1. ^ a b c d Thanjavur, Encyclopaedia Britannica
  2. ^ a b c d e f Michell 1988, pp. 145–148
  3. ^ a b c d "The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)".
  4. ^ Keay, John (2000). India, a History. New York, United States: Harper Collins Publishers. pp. xix. ISBN 0-00-638784-5.
  5. ^ K. V. Raman. Temple Art, Icons And Culture Of India And South-East Asia. Sharada Publishing House, 2006. p. 136.
  6. ^ a b c d "Great Living Chola Temples". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 2004. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  7. ^ S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 1-21.
  8. ^ a b c d George Michell (2008), Architecture and art of Southern India, Cambridge University Press, pages 16-21, 89-91
  9. ^ a b c d S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 20-21.
  10. ^ a b c S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 16-29.
  11. ^ a b Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 185.
  12. ^ D. Raphael (1996). Temples of Tamil Nadu, Works of Art. Ratnamala. p. 9. ISBN 978-955-9440-00-0.
  13. ^ S. R. Balasubrahmanyam (1975). Middle Chola Temples: Rajaraja I to Kulottunga I, A.D. 985-1070. Thomson. p. 87.
  14. ^ Brihat, Monier Monier Williams, Sanskrit English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, page 735
  15. ^ Monier Williams, Sanskrit-English dictionary, Iṡvará, Oxford University Press, page 171
  16. ^ James Lochtefeld, "Ishvara", The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A–M, Rosen Publishing. ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, page 306
  17. ^ "NH wise Details of NH in respect of Stretches entrusted to NHAI" (PDF). Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India. National Highways Authority of India. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 February 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  18. ^ "Thanjavur bus routes". Municipality of Thanjavur. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  19. ^ Ē. Kē Cēṣāttiri (2008). Sri Brihadisvara: The Great Temple of Thānjavūr. Nile. p. 5.
  20. ^ Marshall M. Bouton (2014). Agrarian Radicalism in South India. Princeton University Press. pp. 72–78. ISBN 978-1-4008-5784-5.
  21. ^ S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 1-2.
  22. ^ Douglas E. Barrett (1974). Early Cola Architecture and Sculpture; 866-1014 A.D. Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-10507-6.
  23. ^ Schwindler, Gary J. (1977). "Review: Early Cola Architecture and Sculpture". The Journal of Asian Studies. Cambridge University Press. 36 (4): 705. doi:10.2307/2054437.
  24. ^ George Michell (2008), Architecture and art of Southern India, Cambridge University Press, pages 9-13, 16-21
  25. ^ a b S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 25-26.
  26. ^ a b Thapar 2004, pp.43, 52–53
  27. ^ Reddy, G.Venkatramana. Alayam - The Hindu temple - An epitome of Hindu Culture. Mylapore, Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math. p. 31. ISBN 978-81-7823-542-4.
  28. ^ a b c d e f S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 16-19.
  29. ^ Winand M. Callewaert (1995). Gods and Temples in South India. Manohar. pp. 150–151. ISBN 978-81-7304-107-5.
  30. ^ a b Tanjavur: Brhadisvara temple, The monument and the living tradition, Kapila Vatsyayan and R Nagaswamy et al, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Government of India (2012), page 7
  31. ^ Branfoot, Crispin. "Imperial Frontiers: Building Sacred Space in Sixteenth-Century South India". 90 (2). The Art Bulletin: 185. JSTOR 20619601.
  32. ^ S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, p. 22, Quote: "It is 3.65 m high, 5.94 m long and 2.59 m broad, estimated to weigh 25 tons.".
  33. ^ a b V., Meena (1974). Temples in South India (1st ed.). Kanniyakumari: Harikumar Arts. pp. 23–24.
  34. ^ a b S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 17-19.
  35. ^ "Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent – Glossary". Retrieved 24 January 2007.
  36. ^ Ching 2007, pp. 338–339
  37. ^ a b Padma Kaimal (1999), Shiva Nataraja: Shifting Meanings of an Icon, The Art Bulletin, Vol. 81, No. 3, pages 394-395, Figure 3 on page 392
  38. ^ a b c d e S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 18-21.
  39. ^ "Great Living Chola Temples". Archaeological Survey of India.
  40. ^ a b c d S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 22-25.
  41. ^ a b c d e f PS Sriraman (2010), Digital photo documentation of murals at Brihadisvara Temple, Tanjavur: a tool for art historians in Space, Time, Place (Editors: Stefano Campana et al), pages 167-172
  42. ^ a b c d "ASI restores 400-year-old paintings". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 28 February 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2010.; Another report about Chola frescoes
  43. ^ a b S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 29-36.
  44. ^ S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1975, pp. 15, 25, 53 with footnotes.
  45. ^ a b c PV Jagadisa Ayyar (1993), South Indian Shrines, Asian Educational Services, ISBN 81-206-0151-3, pages 411-423
  46. ^ C. Sivaramamurti. The Great Chola Temples: Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram, Darasuram. Archaeological Survey of India, 2007 - Architecture, Chola - 96 pages. p. 26.
  47. ^ a b Michell 1988, pp. 59-60.
  48. ^ BBC News augue (25 September 2010). "India's Big Temple marks 1,000th birthday". Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  49. ^ PS. R. Balasubrahmanyam (1971), Orient Longman Publications, Early Chola temples:Parantaka I to Rajaraja I, 907–985 A.D
  50. ^ Ananthacharya Indological Research Institute (1984), Rāja Rāja, the great:seminar proceedings
  51. ^ Rediff News. "India's Biggest Temple turns 1000-years". Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  52. ^ Subramanian, T. S. (1 August 2010). "A grand dance spectacle at the Thanjavur Big Temple". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  53. ^ Deccan Herald (26 September 2010). "Stamp, coin release mark 1,000 years of Big Temple". Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  54. ^ "Release of a special postal stamp and a five- rupee coin". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  55. ^ "Release of Commemorative Coin" (PDF). 3 July 2012.
  56. ^ Express Buzz, The Indian Express (26 September 2010). "INR 1000 note of 1954 popular in Tanjavur". Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  57. ^ MSN News (26 September 2010). "Semmai Paddy as "Raja Rajan-1000"". Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  58. ^ "Great Living Chola Temples". UNESCO. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  59. ^ Roma Chatterjee, ed. (2016). India Art and Architecture in ancient and medieval periods. New Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 32. ISBN 978-81-230-2080-8.
  60. ^ Ayyar, P.V. Jagadisa (1993). South Indian Shrines. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. p. 316. ISBN 81-206-0151-3.
  61. ^ Srinivasan, Pankaja (4 June 2012). "Inside the Chola Temple". Coimbatore: The Hindu. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  62. ^ Brahan Natyanjali, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
  63. ^ Trial run of Big Temple car, Rolls; out after 100 years; maiden run on April 29, The Hindu, 21 April 2015
  64. ^ Big temple chariot festival held after 100 years, The Hindu, 30 April 2015
  65. ^ A., Srivathsan (19 October 2011). "Age hardly withers charm of Ponniyin Selvan". Chennai: The Hindu. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  66. ^ "Special Coin to Remember Rajendra Chola". Express News Service. Chennai: The New Indian Express. 4 February 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  67. ^ "Tamil groups want Maratha hold over Thanjavur Big Temple to go". Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  68. ^ C. Sivaramamurti (1977). L'Art en Inde. H. N. Abrams. pp. 287–288, 427. ISBN 978-0-8109-0630-3.
  69. ^ "Ardhanārīśvara". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2017.


External links

Chera dynasty

The Chera dynasty (Cēra) was one of the principal lineages in the early history of the present day states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in southern India. Together with the Cholas of Uraiyur and the Pandyas of Madurai, the early Cheras were known as one of the three major powers (muventar) of ancient Tamilakam (a macro region in south India) in the early centuries of the Common Era.The people of the Chera country owed their importance to exchange of spices, especially black pepper, with Middle Eastern and Graeco-Roman merchants. The age and antiquity of the dynasty is difficult to establish. The Cheras of the early historical period (c. second century BCE - c. third century CE) are known to have had their original centre at Karur/Karuvur-Vanchi in interior Tamil Nadu and strategic outlets to their harbours at Muchiri (Muziris) and Thondi (Tyndis) on the Indian Ocean coast (Kerala). The early historic Chera chiefdom is often described as a redistributive economy based on kinship. It was largely shaped by agriculture, of both crops and livestock, and "predatory politics". Inscriptions discovered from Karur dated to c. 1st - 2nd century CE, describe Ilam Kadungo, son of Perum Kadungo, and the grandson of Ko Athan Cheral of the Irumporai clan. Inscribed portrait coins with Brahmi legends give a number of names, such as Mak-kotai, Kuttuvan Kotai, Kollippurai, and Kolli Irumporaii. Reverse of these coins often contained the bow and arrow symbol.The anthologies of early Tamil poems mention the names of a number of Cheras, and the "court poets" who extolled them. The internal chronology of this collection is still far from completely settled and a connected account of the history of the period is an area of active research. Chenguttuvan Chera, the most renowned of the early Cheras, is also famous for the traditions surrounding Kannaki, the principal female character of the Tamil epic poem Chilapathikaram. Major sources for the early Cheras include Tamil Brahmi cave label inscriptions and coins, classical Sanskrit works and accounts by Graeco-Roman writers. After the end of the early historical period, around the 3rd-5th century CE, there seems to be a period where the Cheras' power declined considerably.The 'Kongu' Cheras are also known to have controlled Karur-Vanchi in central Tamil Nadu at various points in time. The Cheras of Makotai/Vanchi (former Muchiri, modern Kodungallur), also known as Kulashekharas, were in power between c. 9th and 12th century in Kerala. The exact nature of the relationships between the various branches of Chera rulers is somewhat unclear. It is known that the Cheras, of both Makotai and Karur, were intermittently subject to the Pandya Kingdom and the Chola Empire among others. The rulers of Venadu ("the Venadu Cheras"), based out of the port of Kollam in southern Kerala, claimed their ancestry from the Kodungallur Cheras. Ravi Varma Kulasekhara, their most ambitious ruler, set out to expand his kingdom by annexing the ruins of the other southern kingdoms. In the modern period the rulers of Cochin and Travancore (in Kerala) also claimed the title "Chera".

Hindu temple

A Hindu temple is a symbolic house, seat and body of god. It is a structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, using symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism. The symbolism and structure of a Hindu temple are rooted in Vedic traditions, deploying circles and squares. It also represents recursion and equivalence of the macrocosm and the microcosm by astronomical numbers, and by "specific alignments related to the geography of the place and the presumed linkages of the deity and the patron". A temple incorporates all elements of Hindu cosmos—presenting the good, the evil and the human, as well as the elements of Hindu sense of cyclic time and the essence of life—symbolically presenting dharma, kama, artha, moksa, and karma.The spiritual principles symbolically represented in Hindu temples are given in the ancient Sanskrit texts of India (for example, Vedas and Upanishads), while their structural rules are described in various ancient Sanskrit treatises on architecture (Brhat Samhita, Vastu Sastras). The layout, the motifs, the plan and the building process recite ancient rituals, geometric symbolisms, and reflect beliefs and values innate within various schools of Hinduism. A Hindu temple is a spiritual destination for many Hindus, as well as landmarks around which ancient arts, community celebrations and economy have flourished.Hindu temples come in many styles, are situated in diverse locations, deploy different construction methods and are adapted to different deities and regional beliefs, yet almost all of them share certain core ideas, symbolism and themes. They are found in South Asia particularly India and Nepal, Pakistan, in southeast Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, and islands of Indonesia and Malaysia, and countries such as Canada, the Caribbean, Fiji, France, Guyana, Kenya, Mauritius, the Netherlands, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States, and countries with a significant Hindu community. The current state and outer appearance of Hindu temples reflect arts, materials and designs as they evolved over two millennia; they also reflect the effect of conflicts between Hinduism and Islam since the 12th century. The Swaminarayanan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey, United States, between the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, was inaugurated in 2014 as one of the world's largest Hindu temples.

Karnan (film)

Karnan (pronunciation ) is a 1964 Indian Tamil-language historical drama film produced and directed by B. R. Panthulu. It features Sivaji Ganesan leading an ensemble cast consisting of N. T. Rama Rao, S. A. Ashokan, R. Muthuraman, Devika, Savitri and M. V. Rajamma. The film is based on the story of Karna, a character from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. He is born to an unmarried mother Kunti who abandoned him, then discovered and adopted by a charioteer. Karnan does not want to follow his foster father's profession, and instead, becomes a warrior. He then befriends Duryodhana, the Kaurava prince, eventually setting the initial grounds of the Kurukshetra War, where he will join Duryodhana to fight against his own half-brothers, the Pandavas.

Karnan, which was officially launched in 1963, was shot in palaces at Jaipur and the war sequences were filmed in Kurukshetra, which featured several soldiers from the Indian Army. The film's original soundtrack was composed by the duo Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy, while the lyrics were written by Kannadasan. The screenplay was written by A. S. Nagarajan and the dialogues by Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy. Karnan was considered a milestone in Tamil cinema as it brought together the then leading actors of South Indian cinema, Ganesan and Rama Rao.

Karnan was released on 14 January 1964, during the festival occasion of Thai Pongal. The film ran for over 100 days in theatres, and later won the Certificate of Merit for the Third Best Feature Film at the 11th National Film Awards. A digitised version of Karnan was released in March 2012 to critical and commercial success, eventually establishing a trend of re-releasing digitised versions of old films in Tamil cinema.

Later Cholas

The Later Chola dynasty ruled the Chola Empire from 1070 C.E. until the demise of the empire in 1279 C. E. This dynasty was the product of decades of alliances based on marriages between the Cholas and the Eastern Chalukyas based in Vengi and produced some of the greatest Chola emperors such as Kulothunga Chola I (1070–1120 C. E.). Even though the later Cholas are often referred to as Chalukya Cholas, there were two breaks in the line. Kulothunga Chola II and Rajadhiraja Chola II did not belong to the Chalukya Chola line. Kulottunga II was a grandson of Vikrama Chola and Rajadhiraja Chola II was not the son of Rajaraja Chola II.The extent of the Chola Empire during this period stretched from the island of Lanka to Kalinga in the northeast. The Empire also had active political and trade contacts with the maritime kingdoms of the Malay Archipelago and China.

List of World Heritage Sites in Southern Asia

The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has designated 60 World Heritage Sites in six countries (also called "state parties") of Southern Asia: Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Bhutan and Maldives, which are also located within the region, do not have any World Heritage Sites.In this region, India is home to the most inscribed sites (sixth globaly) with 37 sites. Besides India, the first sites from the Country Nepal were the Sagarmatha National Park and Kathmandu Valley. Nepal has a total of four sites. Sri Lanka has eight sites and Bangladesh has three sites. Pakistan has six sites. Two sites are located in Afghanistan, both of which are enlisted as endangered. Each year, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee may inscribe new sites on the list or delist sites that no longer meet the criteria. Selection is based on ten criteria: six for cultural heritage (i–vi) and four for natural heritage (vii–x). Some sites, designated "mixed sites," represent both cultural and natural heritage. In Southern Asia, there are 46 cultural, 12 natural, and 1 mixed site.The World Heritage Committee may also specify that a site is endangered, citing "conditions which threaten the very characteristics for which a property was inscribed on the World Heritage List." Two sites in this region are currently listed as endangered.


Perumal, (literally the Great One) may refers to,

Perumal, south Indian god

Perumal/Perumal Atikal/Permati, medieval Indian royal title of

Western Ganga dynastySripurusha



Pandya dynastyMaran Chatayan

Chola dynastyParantaka

Pallava dynastyParamesvara Varma II of Kanchi

Kodungallur/Western Chera dynastyRama Rajasekhara (Cheraman Perumal Nayanar)

Sthanu Ravi (Kulasekhara Alvar)

Bhaskara Ravi Manukuladitya

Rama Kulasekhara


In Hindu temple architecture, a pranala (IAST: praṇāla) is a discharge outlet attached to the wall of the sanctum. It discharges the lustral water or other liquids poured over the idols.

Rajashekhara (Chera king)

Rajashekhara (fl. 9th century CE), proposed full name Rama Rajashekhara, was a Chera/Kulasekhara ruler at Kodungallur in medieval Kerala, southern India. Rajashekhara is reputed to have issued the Vazhapalli copper plate (c. 830 CE) — the earliest epigraphical record of a Chera king to be discovered from Kerala. Shivanandalahari, attributed to Hindu saint Shankara, indirectly mentions the Chera ruler as Rajashekhara. Sanskrit poet Vasubhatta in his Yuddhisthira Vijaya refers to his first royal patron as "Rama Varma" and "Rajasekhara". Rajashekhara was succeeded by king Sthanu Ravi "Kulasekhara" in 844 CE.Political authority of the Chera Perumals, like Rajasekhara, over medieval Kerala is a matter of debate. It has variously been described as a monarchy supported by a Brahmin oligarchy, or as a ritual monarchy under a bold and visible Brahmin oligarchy.Rajasekhara is usually identified by historians with Cheraman Perumal Nayanar, the venerated Shaiva (Nayanar) poet-musician. He is the author of three devotional hymns - Ponvannattandadi, Tiruvarur Mummanikkovai, and Adiyula/Tirukkailayajnana Ula. The latter one is first of the Ulas, a form of poetic composition in Tamil. According to Chekkizhar, a courtier of Kulottunga Chola II and the author of Periyapuranam, Cheraman Perumal made a pilgrimage to the major Shaiva shrines of southern India with his friend Nayanar lyricist Chundaramurti in his later years. The two saints are believed to have died at the city of Thiruvanchikkulam. The Tiruvanchikkulam Siva Temple (then known as Tiruvanchikkalam) in Kodungallur is associated with the Cheraman Perumal Nayanar.

It was during Rajashekhara's reign - in 825 CE - the calendar known as the Kollam Era commenced in the port of Kollam. The calendar is also known as "Malayalam Era". The exact events that lead to the foundation of the era is still matter of scholarly debate. According to historian Noburu Karashima, it commemorated the "foundation" of Kollam harbour city after the "liberation" of Venatu from the Pandya rule (and hence beginning of Chera influence).It is possible that the king "Rahappa", an unidentified monarch, whom Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna I Akalavarsha is stated to have defeated was Rama Rajasekhara. Krishna I is stated to have obtained the title "Rajadhiraja Parameswara" after defeating Rahappa.


In Hindu temple architecture a sukanasa (Sanskrit: शुकनास, IAST: śukanāsa) or sukanasi is an external ornamented feature over the entrance to the garbhagriha or inner shrine. It sits on the face of the sikhara tower (in South India, the vimana) as a sort of antefix. The forms of the sukanasa can vary considerably, but it normally has a vertical face, very often in the form of a large gavaksha or "window" motif, with an ornamental frame above and to the sides, forming a roughly triangular shape. In discussing temples in Karnataka local authors tend to use "sukanasi" (the preferred form in these cases) as a term for the whole structure of the antarala or ante-chamber from the floor to the top of the sukanasa roof above.It often contains an image of the deity to whom the temple is dedicated inside this frame, or other figurative subjects. The vertical face may be the termination of a horizontally-projecting structure of the same shape, especially in temples with an antarala or ante-chamber between the mandapa or public worship hall and the garbhagriha. In these cases the projection is over the antarala. Some temples have large gavaksha motifs, in effect sukanasas, on all four faces of the shikara, and there may be two tiers of sukanasa going up the tower. Sukasanas are also often found in Jain temples.

The name strictly means "parrot's beak", and is often referred to as the "nose" of the temple superstructure, as part of the understanding of the temple as representing in its various parts the anatomy of the deity. Various early texts set out proportions for the shape of the sukasana, centred on a circular gavaksha, and its size in proportion to the rest of the temple, especially the height of the shikara. They vary and in any case are not always followed.Especially in the south, the sukanasa may be topped by a kirtimukha head, the open-mouthed monster swallowing or vomiting the rest of the motif below. As with the gavaksha, the motif represents a window through which the light of the deity shines out across the world.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu ([ˈt̪ɐmɨɻ ˈn̪aːɽɯ] (listen), lit."Tamil Country"), formerly Madras State, is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai (formerly known as Madras). Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian subcontinent and is bordered by the union territory of Puducherry and the South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. It is bounded by the Eastern Ghats on the north, by the Nilgiri Mountains, the Meghamalai Hills, and Kerala on the west, by the Bay of Bengal in the east, by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait on the southeast, and by the Indian Ocean on the south. The state shares a maritime border with the nation of Sri Lanka.

The region was ruled by several empires, including the three great empires – Chola, Chera, and Pandyan empires, which shape the region's cuisine, culture, and architecture. The British Colonial rule during the modern period led to the emergence of Chennai, then known as Madras, as a world-class city. Modern-day Tamil Nadu was formed in 1956 after the reorganization of states on linguistic lines. The state is home to a number of historic buildings, multi-religious pilgrimage sites, hill stations and three World Heritage sites.Tamil Nadu is the eleventh largest Indian state by area and the sixth largest by population. The economy of Tamil Nadu is the second-largest state economy in India with ₹16.05 lakh crore (US$230 billion) in gross domestic product after Maharashtra and a per capita GDP of ₹186,000 (US$2,700). Tamil Nadu has the sixth highest ranking among Indian states in human development index. It was ranked as one of the top seven developed states in India based on a "Multidimensional Development Index" in a 2013 report published by the Reserve Bank of India. Its official language is Tamil, which is one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world.

On 15th August 2019, the Chief minister announced that 1st November will be henceforth celebrated as Tamil Nadu day. It is to commemorate the day the state was renamed from Madras Presidency.

Veerapandiya Kattabomman (film)

Veerapandiya Kattabomman (transl. Kattabomman, the Brave Warrior) is a 1959 Indian Tamil-language biographical war film produced and directed by B. R. Panthulu. The film stars Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, Padmini, S. Varalakshmi, and Ragini, with V. K. Ramasamy and Javar Seetharaman in supporting roles. Its soundtrack and score were composed by G. Ramanathan.

Produced and distributed by Panthulu under his banner Padmini Pictures, the film is loosely based on the story of Veerapandiya Kattabomman, the 18th-century South Indian chieftain who rebelled against the East India Company. It was an adaptation of the play of the same name by Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy which featured Sivaji Ganesan as the title character, and premiered in August 1957. Principal photography began in October the same year, and took place mainly in Jaipur and Madras (now Chennai) till late 1958. Veerapandiya Kattabomman was the first Tamil film released in Technicolor.

The film premiered in London on 10 May 1959, and was released in Tamil Nadu six days later. Veerapandiya Kattabomman was critically acclaimed; Sivaji Ganesan's performance as Kattabomman received widespread praise, although some film scholars considered elements in the film, particularly the portrayal of the title character, to be historically inaccurate. It was a commercial success, running for over 25 weeks in theatres and becoming a silver jubilee film. Veerapandiya Kattabomman was dubbed and released in Telugu as Veerapandiya Kattabrahmanna in the same year, and in Hindi as Amar Shaheed the following year.

The film was the first in Tamil cinema to receive international awards for Best Film, Best Actor, and Best Music Director at the 1960 Afro-Asian Film Festival in Cairo, and received a Certificate of Merit as part of the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil. Veerapandiya Kattabomman was re-released in 1984, and a digitally-restored version was released on 21 August 2015; both were commercially successful.

Vimana (architectural feature)

Vimana is the structure over the garbhagriha or inner sanctum in the Hindu temples of South India and Odisha in East India. In typical temples of Odisha using the Kalinga style of architecture, the Vimana is the tallest structure of the temple, as it is in the shikhara towers of temples in West and North India. By contrast, in large South Indian temples, it is typically smaller than the great gatehouses or gopuram, which are the most immediately striking architectural elements in a temple complex. A vimana is usually shaped as a pyramid, consisting of several stories or talas. Vimanas are divided in two groups: jati vimanas that have up to four talas and mukhya vimanas that have five talas and more.In North Indian temple architecture texts, the superstructure over the garbhagriha is called a 'shikhara'. However, in South Indian Hindu architecture texts, the term shikhara means a dome-shaped crowning cap above the Vimana.

Philosophical traditions
Pancha Bhoota Stalam
Traditional observances


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