The Brihadeeswarar temple, also known as “Rajarajeswaram”, is located in Thanjavur in state of Tamilnadu, which is in the southern part of India. This temple was a tribute and it reflects the power of its creator, Raja Raja Chola I. It is considered as one of the greatest glories of India because of its architecture. The temple is also listed as one of the world heritage site by UNESCO. The temple is also one of the most valued architectural sites of India and the tallest temples in the world.
The structure of the temple is enclosed with wonderful design and was constructed between the year 1003 and 1010. The temple can be approached from the eastern side through two gateways which are termed as “Gopuras”. There are two guardian statues beside the gateways made by the Shaiva legends (a community who believes that Lord Shiva is the almighty of universe). The exterior of the temple is decorated with hundreds of painted sculptures. On the other hand, the interior of the temple has a massive idol of Lord Shiva, a god with three eyes in which the third eye is closed. The legends believe that if Lord Shiva opens his third eye, the universe will be destroyed. The inner gateway is the Brihadeeswarar temple with a single large dome weighing about 81 tons. It is interesting to think about how could a huge dome weighing 81 tons be placed at such a height. The compound of the temple also includes a statue of Nandi [six meters long and three meters height] (the biggest of its own kind); a shrine with octagonal dome known as “Chandeshvara”; a columned hall; and a towered sanctuary and other small shrines. There are well carved figures of Lord Shiva and other gods on the walls of the sanctuary. Together, there are 250 Lingams (statue of lord Shiva) in the entire compound of the temple which is very impressive. Majority of the tourists are attracted because of these multiple Lingams and massive Nandi idol weighing 25 tons. The festivals which should not be missed are “Shiva ratri” and “Pradhosa poojas”.
The best way to reach to Thanjavur is from Chennai (Madras) which is well connected through air and railway. It has roads connecting to almost every part of India. So there is no difficulty of transport reaching to the almighty temple.
“Many of the advances in the sciences that we consider today to have been made in Europe were in fact made in India centuries ago” – Grant Duff, British Historian of India