Great Living Chola Temples – Vol II: Gangaikonda Cholapuram

Second on UNESCO’s list of The Great Living Chola Temples, is the Brihadeeswara Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

In a tiny village lost in time, is this 982 year old temple. This Brihadeeswara Temple too is built on the same lines as the Big Temple in Thanjavur, complete with a massive stone sculpture of Nandi facing the main shrine. Upon the death of Rajaraja I the capital was shifted from Thanjavur to Gangaikonda Cholapuram and there came about this smaller version of the original Brihadeeswara Temple.

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This temple complex isn’t merely structurally beautiful. It is also tranquil. Owing not just to its gentler architecture but also probably to it’s secluded location.

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After driving around all morning and noon in the summer heat of Tamil Nadu, it was evening by the time we got here.

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& what with the setting sun deciding to play peek-a-boo from behind the looming rain clouds, an all pervading sense of peace descended over me, as I took my time exploring, strolling around the expansive, almost deserted grounds of the temple.

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The bronze sculptures here are said to be priceless specimens of Chola art, but it was the Simhakeni or The Lion Well, that I found singularly intriguing.

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Explorers Guide

Trip Duration: Day Trip
Getting There: Road Trip from Thanjavur.
Route: Thanjavur – Darasuram – Gangaikonda Cholapuram -Thanjavur
(183 Kilometres)
Distance from Thanjavur to Darasuram: 72 Kilometres
Distance from Darasuram to Gangaikonda Cholapuram:
39 Kilometres
Distance from Gangaikonda  Cholapuram to Thanjavur: 72 Kilometres

Read First: The Great Living Chola Temples: Vol I

Other Temples in Tamil Nadu:

Rockfort Temple, Trichy


6 responses to “Great Living Chola Temples – Vol II: Gangaikonda Cholapuram”

  1. WOW! This I didn’t know of. Chola temples are master pieces and the Nataraja statue is an outcome of that. But somehow never really been down South long enough to visit these stunners

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