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.
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.
After driving around all morning and noon in the summer heat of Tamil Nadu, it was evening by the time we got here.
& 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.
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.
Trip Duration: Day Trip
Getting There: Road Trip from Thanjavur.
Route: Thanjavur – Darasuram – Gangaikonda Cholapuram -Thanjavur
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: