Brihadeeswarar Temple

Brihadeeswarar Temple also known by the name “The Big Temple” at Tanjore was consecrated by the great Chola King Rajaraja Chola 1 during 1002 AD. He had a vision following a dream to establish the might of Cholan Empire for ages to come, which fueled him to lay foundation to one of the greatest architecture marvels of all time on planet Earth. The structure was complete by 1010 AD and is now recognized as a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temple is dedicated to the all-powerful Hindu God Shiva. The Brihadeeswarar Temple is granite built structure and is the first of its kind among the other whole-granite temple. It is a pure example of the ancient Dravidian architecture which at the same time showcases the artistic ability and the royalty of the Chola Dynasty. This massive temple is the first project of the Tamil Cholan architecture.

The whole structure of the Brihadeeswarar Temple is enclosed in a huge rectangular wall which marks the outer boundary of the temple covering an area of 270m by 140m. The deity of the temple Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a 3.7m tall Shiva Lingam which is kept for worship at the innermost sanctum of the temple, from where the energy flows and fills the heart of every visitor. It is made of a single limestone and is the biggest lingam considering the other lingams in Tamil Nadu temples. There is a 20 ton massive statue of Nandi the bull, Vahana [vehicle] of Lord Shiva. The inspiring fact about the Nandi statue which stands 2 m tall, 6 m long and 2.5 m wide is that it is carved out of a single stone. Also the sunlight falls on Nandi everyday which reflects these sun beams towards the Shiv Linga which even during the absence of any form of light facilitates the visibility of the lord for the devotees. This displays an even more inspiring artistic and thinking ability of the sculptors of the Cholan period. After the Chola period, the Pandyas, the Vijayanagaram and the Maratha rulers made significant contributions to temple such as the Goddess Shrine, Subramanya Shrine and the Vinayaka Shrine.

The major attraction you may notice when you have your first glance over this historical temple is of course its Vimana or Shikhara, the temple tower. It stands a staggering 60 m tall making it one of the tallest of its kind in the whole world. The main entrance Gopuram is 30 m tall and is therefore slightly shorter in height than the Vimana or Shikhara of the temple. Another impressive feature of the temple is some brilliant Mural paintings on the walls around the Sanctum Sanctorum. It depicts the episodes of Shiva Purana, Shiva killing demons, Shiva dancing to the rhythm of life and many other historical events. On 2010 the Brihadeeswarar Temple celebrated its 1000th year.

Temple Timings

The Brihadeeswarar Temple is open for worship from morning 6:00 am to 12:30 pm and evening 4:00 pm 8:30 pm.

Major Festivals

The Maha Shivratri Festival during the months of February-March is the most celebrated auspicious occasion at the Brihadeeswarar Temple. The Aippasi Pournami festival is celebrated during the full moon day in October-November months. Panguni Utsav in March-April and the famous Margazhi Thiruvathirai in December-January are the other major festivals at the Brihadeeswarar Temple at Tanjore.

How to Reach?

By Air:

65 kms away at Trichy is the nearest International airport, the Trichy International Airport. Flights to Trichy from all the major cities in India as well as from abroad are available. After getting down at the airport grab a taxi or board in a government bus to Tanjore.

By Rail:

The nearest railway stations are Villupuram (76 km) and Katpadi (65 km). There are frequent trains available from all parts of the country that passes through these two stations. Fromm the station you can grab at taxi or board in a government bus to reach Arunachaleswarar Temple.

By Road:

Tiruvannamalai is well connected by road to all the major cities in South India. You can easily connect Tiruvannamalai through bus or car.