The Brihadeeswarar Temple is one of the temple under UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Brihadeeswarar temple is popularly known as Periya Kovil and PeruvudaiyarKovil temple. The temple has beautiful architecture. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was built during Chola Dynasty. It is also known as ‘Great living Temple’.
The temple is one of the largest temple in India, it has also prized as one of the brilliant architecture temple. It was built by king Raja Raja Chola I in year 1010. The Brihadeeswarar temple is also known as ‘Big temple’. When the temple was built, heavy 80-tons of stone was placed on top, during that time, it was impossible to keep such heavy load on top of any temple.
The vimanam of temple is around 66-meter high, vimanam is temple tower. The apex of temple is known as ‘Kumbam’, it is curved out from single rock which weighs around 80-tons. Also the Nandi, a sacred bull who was true and very loyal devotee of Lord Shiva, is carved out from single stone. The Nandi statue is13-feet high and around 16-feet wide. The entire temple is made from granite.
History of temple:
The foundation of temple was laid by great king of Chola Dynasty ‘Rajaraja Chola I’. The temple was built as an obedience to an order given in his dream. The structure of temple depicts a lot about Chola tradition and its style. The temple was planned to be built as a royal temple, to welcome the New Chola style. The multi-styled columns with square capitals marks the beginning of new style.
The structure of temple display’s power and vision of king Chola. Major ceremonies were carried out in that temple. Even today, Mahashivratri is celebrate on grand scale. The temple is built in Dravidian style. The painting, sculptures on temple illustrates the brilliance of Chola dynasty.
The King Raja Raja Chola I had a dream to build a huge manmoth sort of temple, while he stayed in Sri-Lanka as an emperor. Kunjara Mallan Raja was engineer and architecture of temple. The temple was built noting each minute and big points of Vaastu Shastra. It took 5-long years to construct ‘The Big temple’.
The complete big temple is made up of Granite rock. The huge Nandi placed in front of temple weighs around 20-tonnes which is made from single rock. Also the base of temple is raised 5-meter high in height. The main Shiv Lingam is approximately 3.7-meter tall. The outer wall has beautiful sculpture carving of ‘Bharatanatyam’, ‘Bharatanayam’ is classical dance form originated from Tamil Nadu itself.
The Brihadeeswarar Temple has five Gopuram in that temple complex or area. The main entrance Gopuram is about 30-meters high. This Gopuram is different from other Gopuram, as it is built according to Dravidian style.The main temple standout of crowd with its unique structure. The surrounding wall of temples are 140-meter high which marks the compound of main temple. The structure of temple is smartly built such that this temple does not cast shadow.
The main Shiv Lingam resides in inner most sanctum, where only priest is allowed to enter. It is only temple to have idols of Guardians of direction. Separate temple is represented to Indra , Yama, Agni, Vayu, Varuna, Kubera and Isana. The temple of these gods are situated in their respective direction.
On exploring more about the temple, it is said by locals that the temple is carved out from 60,000 tons of granite. Elephants were used to drag the huge ton of stone. It is said that the mud slope which is birth place of Raja Raja’s mother near Virateshwar swamy shrine depicts a figure of Thanjavur temple.