Thanjavur (Tanjavur or Tanjore) is a temple web page in the Tamil Nadu vicinity of southern India. Thanjavur used to be the capital of the high-quality Chola (Cola) king Rajaraja I, and it was once he who commissioned the site’s spectacular temple, the Brihadishvara, in the early eleventh century CE. Many different temples and shrines had been introduced over the centuries making Thanjavur one of the most essential and most visited historic websites in India today. Thanjavur is listed by means of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The Brihadishvara Temple
Also acknowledged as the Rajarajeshvara, after the king who constructed it, the Brihadishvara (or Brhadisvara) temple was once built between c. 995 and 1025 CE the usage of Chola fighting booty and tribute from Sri Lanka. The temple was once committed to the Hindu god Shiva. Reaching a top of sixty-three metres, it is the tallest temple building in India. The whole rectangular complicated measures about a hundred and forty x seventy-five metres and is surrounded by way of a wall with ordinary indoors niches. Inside the compound are a range of secondary shrines and a huge double gateway entrance (gopuras).
The two-storey Brihadishvara temple is constructed on an excessive dadoed-base platform. The granite tower (vimana), which rises in 13 diminishing ranges above the sacred garbhagriha (inner shrine), is topped by way of a dome shape which rests on a single 7.7 m rectangular granite block weighing around eighty tons. The constructing has a front entrance porch (mandapa) with 36 columns, and there are two additional entrances at the base of the tower on every side. All three entrances are adorned with guardian parent sculptures, some double life-size, and are approached by using a richly carved enormous flight of stairs. The lots of niches of the exterior are adorned with a sculpture of divine figures (murti) – especially Shiva and Devi, lion heads (kirttimukha), and fan shapes.
The temple used to be laid out on a specific graph of sixteen x 16 squares, a format regarded as padmagarbhamandala in the Dravida structure of southern India. The indoors includes the usual passageway for worshippers to operate a circumambulation, in this case on two levels. The garbhagriha incorporates a 4-metre tall Shiva linga (phallus). There is a snapana platform, too, for the ritual bathing of the god positioned inside a portico (ardhamandapa). Murals beautify the indoors walls, and, as soon as hidden with the aid of later Nayaka duration paintings, these consist of first-class pics of Rajaraja I, his religious consultant or guru, and his three queens. Other topics consist of a Nataraja (Shiva as Lord of the Dance) who used to be the clan deity of the Cholas (kula devata).
Rararaja I (r. 985-1014 CE) and his son Rajendra I (r. 1012-1044 CE)
Rararaja I and his son Rajendra I each crammed the temple with bronze sculpture, together with pix of the kings and their queens, upon which had been hung treasured jewellery. As indicated in inscriptions, the Cholas additionally paid for normal choices of incense, food, and vegetation and ensured that the temple was once well-maintained through attendants and no fewer than four hundred dancing ladies – an more and more essential thing of Hindu worship from that time onwards. Funds had been additionally obtained by way of partitioning off the surrounding land which would be managed with the aid of clergymen and the earnings used to maintain the temple. Indeed, a complete neighbourhood arose at the website online and protected accountants, merchants, and administrators, growing a mannequin which would be copied at different Indian temple websites thereafter.
The gopuras at Thanjavur are two big huge gateways which lead to the compound dominated with the aid of the Brihadishvara temple. They are the earliest mature examples of the shape in southern India. Built on the jap facet of the complex, the outer gopura has 5 testimonies and the internal one three. Each gopura has a centrally placed entrance giving get right of entry to to a single two-storied chamber on every facet of it. The gopuras at Thanjavur are special due to the fact every façade (interior and exterior) is no longer equal as in later examples. The outer facades every has two massive dvarapalas (door guardians) as properly as determining sculpture in their many niches and giant ornamental fan shapes. The pinnacle of every gopura is crowned with a huge shala or barrel-vaulted roof. Eventually, at different web sites, gopuras would come to be even large and extra extraordinary than the temples themselves.
Other structures in the compound consist of the Nandi mandapa portico, positioned immediately between the gopuras and the Brihadishvara temple. A later addition to the web site placed at the contrary cease to the gopuras in the Subrahmanya Shrine, constructed in c. 1750 CE.
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