Destinations India Tamil Nadu

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 comments on “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

  2. The architectural works of ancient always make me surprised.
    Good to see the pics, heard about it but never seen any photograph.
    Very nicely captured, loved all specially the 6th one.

  3. What majestic temples! Great pictures!

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