Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
The main temple is in the center of the spacious quadrangle composed
d into different levels by sharply cut sculptures and pilasters providing deep bays and recesses. Each side of the sanctuary has a bay emphasizing the principle cult icons. The karuvarai, a Tamil word meaning the interior of the sanctum sanctorum, is the inner most sanctum and focus of the temple where an image of the primary deity, Shiva, resides. Inside is a huge stone linga Literally the word Karuvarai means "womb chamber" from Tamil word Karu for foetus. Only priests are allowed to enter this inner most chamber. In the Dravidastyle, the Karuvarai takes the form of a miniature vimana with other features exclusive to southern Indian temple architecture such as the inner wall
together with the outer wall creating a pradakshina around the garbhagriha for circumambulation (pradakshina). The entrance is highly decorated. The inside chamber housing the image of the god is the sanctum sanctorum, the garbhagrih
a. The garbhagriha is square and sits on a plinth, its location calculated to be a point of total equilibrium and harmony as it is representative of a microcosm of the universe. In the center is placed the image of the deity. The circumambulation winds around the massive lingam in the garbhagriha and is repeated in an upper story, presenting the idea thatChola Empire freely offered access to the gods.
The inner mandapa leads
out to a rectangular mandapa and then to a twenty-columned porch with three staircases leading down. Sharing the same stone plinth is a small open mandapa dedicated to Nandi, Shiva's sacred bull mount.
The temple had its foundations laid out by the Tamil emperor Arulmozhivarman, popularly called Rajaraja Chola I,(Tamil: இராஜராஜ சோழன்,Rājarāja Choļan ?) in 1002 CE , as the first of the great Tamil Chola building projects. According to tradition, the temple was built by the Chola king Rajar
aja in compliance of a command given to him in his dream. The scale and grandeur is in the Chola tradition. An axial and symmetrical geometry rules the temple layout. Temples from this period and the following two centuries are an expression of the Tamils (Chola) wealth, power and artistic expertise. The emergence of such features as the multifaceted columns with projecting square capitals signal the arrival of the new Chola style.
The Brihadeeswarar Temple was built to be the royal temple to display the emperor's vision of his power and his relationship to the universal order. The temple was the site of the major royal ceremonies such as anointed the emperor and linking him with its deity, Shiva, and the daily rituals of the deities were mirrored by those of the king.
The temple maintained a staff of 600 people in various capacities. Besides the Brahmins priest, these included record-keepers, musicians, scholars, and craftsman of every type as well as housekeeping staff.In those days the temple remained a hub of business activities for the flower merchants,milk vendors, oil merchants, ghee merchants, all of whom made a regular supply of their respective goods for the temple for its pujas and during festival seasons.Moreover as evidenced by the inscriptions that found in the compound wall of this temple, the temple had always been serving as a platform for the dancers who excelled in the traditional dance form of Bharatha Natyam. Even today, the Brihadeeswarar Temple remains India's largest.
The temple is also an architectural exemplar showcasing the pure form of the Dravida type of temple architecture and representative of the Chola Empire ideology and the Tamil civilisation in Southern India. The temples "testify to the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting". Built in 1010 AD by Raja Raja Chola in Thanjavur, Brahadishwara Temple also popularly known as the ‘Big Temple’ has turned 1000 years.
|Proper name:||Brihadeeswarar Temple|
|Architecture and culture|
|Date built:||11th century AD|
|Creator:||Raja Raja Chola|
The Peruvudaiyar Kovil or Brihadeeswarar Temple (Tamil: பெருவுடையார் கோவில், peruvuḍaiyār kōvil ?), also known asRajarajeswaram, at Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world's first complete granite temple and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas kingdom Vishwakarmas in temple architecture. It is a tribute and a reflection of the power of its patron RajaRaja Chola I. It remains as one of the greatest glories of Indian architecture. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Great Living Chola Temples".
This temple is one of India's most prized architectural sites. The temple stands amidst fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th century. The 'Vimana' - or the temple tower - is 216 ft (66 m) high  and is among the tallest of its kind in the world. The Kalash or 'Chikharam' (apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is not carved out of a single stone as widely believed. There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock, at the entrance measuring about 16 feet long and 13 feet high. The entire temple structure is made out of hard granite stones, a material sparsely available currently in Thanjavur area where the temple is located.Built in 1010 AD by Raja Raja Chola in Thanjavur, Brahadishwara Temple also popularly known as the ‘Big Temple’ has turned 1000 years