Discover the Ancient Marvel of Brihadeeswarar Temple

 In temple, Thanjavur, Things to do

The Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur is a stunning example of Dravidian architecture and a must-visit destination amongst the various Temples to visit in Thanjavur for history buffs and travellers alike. Built in the 11th century by the Chola dynasty, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the largest temples in India.

As you step inside, you’ll be awestruck by the towering 216-foot-tall vimana (temple tower) and the intricate carvings that adorn the walls. The temple’s architecture is a testament to the engineering skills of the Chola era, with its precision-cut stones and sculptures that tell the stories of Hindu mythology, making it the top amongst the places to visit in Thanjavur whenever you come to Tamil Nadu.

Although the best time to visit Thanjavur depends on your preferences, whenever you do visit, coming this temple is a moment. When you are here, take a moment to appreciate the beautiful frescoes and paintings that adorn the ceilings and walls, and explore the various shrines and mandapams (pillared halls) that make up this magnificent temple complex. With its rich history and stunning architecture, the Brihadisvara Temple is an unforgettable experience for anyone interested in exploring India’s cultural heritage.

History of Brihadeeswara Temple

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The history of the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, has a rich history of Brihadeeswara Temple dating back to the 11th century. Built by the Chola dynasty under the reign of Rajaraja Chola I (985-1014 CE), this magnificent temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the largest temples in India.

The temple’s construction began in 1003 CE and took 12 years to complete, with Rajaraja Chola I himself laying the foundation stone. The temple was built to commemorate the Chola victory over the Pandya dynasty and to showcase the empire’s wealth and power. history of Brihadeeswara Temple

The Brihadeeswarar Temple is a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture, with its towering vimana (temple tower) reaching a height of 216 feet. The temple’s walls are adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures depicting Hindu mythology, while the ceilings and walls feature beautiful frescoes and paintings showing the history of Brihadeeswara Temple.

Throughout the history of Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur, the temple has undergone several renovations and restorations, including a major restoration in the 19th century. Today, the Brihadisvara Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a testament to the engineering and artistic skills of the Chola dynasty, attracting visitors from around the world. 

The Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur, also known as the Thanjavur Big Temple, is called the “Big Temple” for several reasons:

1. Largest Temple in India: At the time of its construction in the 11th century, it was the largest temple in India, covering an area of 240 acres and that is why it has been dubbed the Thanjavur Big Temple

2. Towering Vimana: The Thanjavur Big Temple’s vimana (temple tower) stands an impressive 216 feet tall, making it one of the tallest in the world.

3. Massive Stone Structure: The temple is built using massive stone blocks, some weighing as much as 80 tons, making it a marvel of engineering.

4. Large Mandapams: The has several large mandapams (pillared halls) that can accommodate thousands of devotees. Thanjavur Big Temple

5. Intricate Carvings and Sculptures: The temple is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures depicting Hindu mythology, making Thanjavur Big Temple a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture.

Another one of the Temples in Thanjavur is located near the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur, Peruvudaiyar Kovil Thanjavur or Thanjai Periya Kovil. This ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the largest and most impressive temples in India. Built by the Chola dynasty in the 11th century, it is a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture, featuring a towering vimana (temple tower) that rises to a height of 216 feet. Massive walls surround the temple complex which features several mandapams (pillared halls) and shrines. The intricate carvings and sculptures that adorn the walls and ceilings are a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the Chola era. Peruvudaiyar Kovil Thanjavur is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, architecture, and culture.

Thanjai Periya Kovil is closely related to the Thanjavur Big Temple, another iconic temple in Thanjavur. Both temples were built by the Chola dynasty and share a similar architectural style. In fact, Thanjai Periya Kovil is referred to as the “Periya Kovil” which translates to Big Temple, it is the Brihadeeswara Temple that is called as “Big Temple, Thanjavur”.

Peruvudaiyar Kovil Thanjavur and Thanjai Periya Kovil both feature intricate carvings and sculptures depicting Hindu mythology. The two temples are a testament to the rich cultural and architectural heritage of the Chola dynasty and are a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, architecture, and culture. Peruvudaiyar Kovil Thanjavur and Thanjai Periya Kovil are two of the most impressive temples in India.

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Festivals Celebrated at the Big Temple, Thanjavur:

thanjavur dance festival

The Brihadisvara Temple or the Big Temple, Thanjavur celebrates various Hindu festivals throughout the year, including:

1. Maha Shivaratri (February/March): A significant festival dedicated to Lord Shiva, marked by overnight prayers and offerings.

2. Panguni Uthiram (March/April): A festival commemorating the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati.

3. Chithirai Festival (April/May): A 10-day festival featuring processions, music, and dance performances.

4. Aadi Perukku (July/August): A festival honoring the goddess Kaveri, with special prayers and offerings.

5. Navaratri (September/October): A 9-day festival dedicated to the goddess Durga, with daily pujas and cultural events.

6. Deepavali (October/November): The Hindu festival of lights, celebrated with lamps, fireworks, and sweets.

7. Karthikai Deepam (November/December): A festival of lights, where a giant lamp is lit on the hilltop.

Also Read: Top 15 Places To Eat In Thanjavur For Authentic Local Food

Prasad Offerings at the Big Temple, Thanjavur:

sweet-treats.

The Big Temple, Thanjavur offers various prasad (offerings) to devotees, including:

1. Sweet dishes like Laddu, Jalebi, and Vada

2. Savory dishes like Pulihora and Chakkara Pongal

3. Fruits and nuts like Banana, Apple, and Pomegranate

4. Special offerings on festival days, like Pongal on Pongal day

Temple Timings

The temple is open for visitors and devotees during the following hours:

Morning: 6:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Evening: 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Darshan Timings

Devotees can have darshan (viewing) of the deities at the following times:

Morning: 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (every 30 minutes)

Evening: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (every 30 minutes)

Abhishekam Timings

abhishekam-timings

The temple performs abhishekam (ritual bathing) of the deities at the following times:

Morning: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. (daily)

Evening: 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (daily)

Other Information

Dress code: Devotees are advised to wear traditional attire, like dhotis and sarees.

Photography: Allowed outside the sanctum sanctorum, but not inside.

Mobile phones: Allowed, but must be switched off inside the temple.

Please note that these details are subject to change, and it’s always best to check with the temple authorities or website for the most up-to-date information.

Also Read: 15 Thanjavur Hidden Gems To Visit For The Explorer In You!

In conclusion, the Brihadeeswarar Temple is an ancient marvel that showcases the architectural and cultural heritage of India. Located in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, architecture, and culture. With its towering vimana, intricate carvings, and beautiful frescoes, the Brihadeeswarar Temple Architecture is a testament to the engineering and artistic skills of the Chola dynasty.

The temple’s rich history, stunning Brihadeeswarar Temple Architecture, and vibrant festivals make it an unforgettable experience for visitors. Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or a curious traveler, the Brihadeeswarar Temple Architecture makes a visit to this temple a priority amongst the many things to do in Thanjavur that will leave you in awe and wonder. So, plan your visit today and discover the ancient marvel of the Brihadeeswarar Temple!

Connectivity of the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur:

Peak Season in Thanjavur

Airways:

The nearest airport is Tiruchirappalli Airport which is (60.8 Kms) from Brihadeeswarar Temple.

Railways:

The nearest railway station is Thanjavur Railway Station which is (1.9 Kms) from Brihadeeswarar Temple.

Roadways:

Brihadeeswarar Temple is (1 Kms) from Thanjavur Old Bus Stand, (5.2 Kms) from Thanjavur New Bus Stand, (60.3 Kms) from Trichy Central Bus Stand.

Also Read: Explore The 10 Top Thanjavur Day Trips: An Ideas Guide

How is Brihadeeswarar Temple related to the Chola Dynasty?

Brihadeeswarar Temple was built by the Chola dynasty under the reign of Rajaraja Chola I in the 11th century. It showcases the architectural and cultural achievements of the Chola empire, which was a powerful and prosperous dynasty in southern India.

Can anyone visit Brihadeeswarar Temple, and what are the visiting hours?

Yes, anyone can visit Brihadeeswarar Temple. The temple is open to visitors from 6:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Visitors can explore the temple complex, attend prayers and rituals, and admire the stunning architecture and sculptures.

What makes Brihadeeswarar Temple a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Brihadeeswarar Temple was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 for its outstanding universal value. It is an exemplary example of Dravidian architecture, showcasing the engineering and artistic skills of the Chola dynasty. The temple’s intricate carvings, sculptures, and frescoes demonstrate exceptional craftsmanship and cultural significance.

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