Sunday, December 29, 2013

Brihadeeshwara temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram

A similar huge temple like the tanjavur big temple is seen in Gangaikondacholapuram. This temple was built by Rajendra Chola I the son of Rajaraja Chola who built the Tanjore temple. The mammoth temple is often called the female counterpart of the tanjore temple as it is slightly shorter but more wide.
How to Reach:
The temple is very close to Kumbakonam about 15 kms on the route to Sethiathope / JayamkondanDSC04734
History:
Rajendra Chola was the monarch who conquered the other kings and extended the Chola kingdom from the ganges in the north to Srilanka in the south and to the far east Indonesia Kedaram . The City was the capital for almost 250 years and was ruled by the Cholas. There was a great lake Cholaganga or Ponneri where the vassal kings brought water in golden pots to fill after his victorious tour of the north.
In 1780 the Britishers demolished the outer wall of the temple and used the stones to build the Lower anaicut
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The temple is a huge replica of the tanjore temple with 15 feet wide ardha mandapam 15 feet long garba gruha . The pillars and the outer walls are covered with exquisite carvings one of them is Shiva and parvathi anointing king Rajendra as emperor. There is a separate sanidhi for Brahadambikai , murugan. there is also a huge well with a lion mouth.kumbak 099 DSC04720   kumbak 081 kumbak 086 kumbak 087  kumbak 089   kumbak 092  kumbak 097 
The inner sanctum is lined with a special stone called  Chandrahasa which keeps the place cool in summer and warm in winter!!
The Nandi is huge and made of mortar and lime. The reflection of the sun on the nandi illuminates the lord by evening.

The temple is maintained by the ASI.