As we entered, the sheer magnificence of the temple left us wondering how it could have been possible one thousand years ago. The grandeur of the sculptures start at the entrance itself. We marvel at the life size sculptures of dwarapalakas or divine guardians. The Brihadeeshwara temple or the Big temple as it is known depicts the zenith of Chola architecture and sculptural tradition.
The temple is bound by huge wall with a moat which is dry. The tower at the entrance is small but elegantly carved. As we were entering the temple, a bass relief next to the dwarapalakas strike our eyes. This is a beautifully carved scene of Girija Kalyana or Lord Shiva’s marriage to Parvati.
Let us now show you what we saw and captured on that morning. A picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, it is ten thousand words……..
|Big temple glowing in morning light|
|Towering to the sky!|
|Columnar periphery of the temple|
|The silhouettes of the temple against morning sun is just stunning. We loved this picture and two below.|
a) Visit the temple when it opens in the morning. It is tranquil and divine. No crowds. No noise. Since the temple faces east, it glows in morning light. It is also the coolest time of the day to visit the temple. The temple has second tallest Shiva linga next only to the one in Bhojpur details of which can be seen here in this blog.
Bhojpur – Temple with tallest Shiva Linga in the world!
b) Apart from the big temple the other places worth a visit are the Palace – for lovely murals – and Saraswathi Mahal library which stores rare manuscripts written in Sanskrit.
d) Navagriha temple circuit can also be done making Thanajvur as base ( Look out for a post on this soon on this blog)
e) Head to Poom Puhar show room to take a look at some stunning Chola bronzes. You may buy one if you have a fat wallet!
f) Watch the local artisans make lovely Tanjore paintings in small households on the southern side of big temple. You may buy one as well.
g) Lastly, don’t forget to drink “Kumbakonam Degree Coffee” in any of the many outlets in the city.
h) For more details on Architectural heritage of the temple, please look at this link in this blog
Back of the Blog – Indian Architecture by Takeo Kamiya
i) For a driving holiday in Tamil Nadu covering Thanjavur, please take a look at this post in this blog
Driving Holidays from Bangalore 3 – A Tryst with Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu
Dont miss to click the link below to see the brilliant pictures of the temple by Arun Christopher and lovely murals of Tanjore palace by Saurabh Chatterjee. The panoramic view of temple by Arun is just brilliant.
You may also be interested to take a look at this link in this blog on magnificent Halebid in Karnataka, shortlisted for UNESCO Heritage sites.
Halebid – Where stones speak to you!
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