Gagaikonda Cholapuram, Thanjavur
Gagaikonda Cholapuram - A Quick Overview[Contribute/Review]
Address: Cholapuram, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu-613001, India
Time Required: 02:00 Hrs
Timings: 06:30 am - 08:30 pm Details
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Religious Site, Temple, Historical Site, Monument, Statue, Architecture
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About Gagaikonda Cholapuram, Thanjavur
Gangaikonda Cholapuram, which means “the town of the Chola who took the Ganges”, is just at the centre of the city of Tamil Nadu. The tiny village of Gangaikonda Cholapuram was built by Emperor Rajendra Chola, who was the Son of RajarajaChola. He was most successful Chola ruler and this village was the capital of the kingdom. At the time of Rajendra Chola, there was wealth overflowing from the numerous battles won till far north of the country. It is said that the king brought Ganges water in a golden pot and poured it in the ‘Ponneri or Cholaganga’ reservoir. He was thus hailed as ‘Gangaikondan’, which means “the one who brought the Ganges”. It was the idea of the king to build a huge temple which could be compared to the stunning Brihadeeswara Temple as a symbol of his power. Thus, the Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple was built.
The temple boasts of many rare artifacts such as-
- The Shivalinga which is the largest in Southern India. It is said to be built with a single piece of limestone.
- The excellent skill of the sculptors can be seen from the rare design. The sunlight falls on the statue of ‘nandi the bull’ and it gets reflected on the Shivalinga. It is said that even if there is no light in the temple, everyone can see the idol clearly because of the reflected sunlight.
- The shadow of the ‘kalasa’ or the rooftop design does not reach the ground here. This rare feature is found nowhere else.
- A rare stone called ‘chandrakanta’ is placed under the Shivalinga which strangely cools the temple area during summers and warms it during winters.
- The idol of Mother Periya Nayaki stands 9.5 feet tall. This is one of the most important attractions of the temple.
- Another rare feature of the temple is the motif of the ‘navagraha’ or the nine planets sculpted on designs of lotuses.
The fantastic architecture of the temple has-
- A 9 storey ‘vimanam’ or tower that extends to a height of 185 feet.
- On the eastern face, the temple has beautiful carvings. The design resembles the Brihadeeswara Temple style of design.
- The whole temple is decorated with paintings and sculptures of the traditional Chola style. The designs also have a touch of the north.
- The interior portrays a perfect combination of complex carvings and lucid Chola designs.
- There are stunning sculptures of dancing Shiva and peaceful Saraswati.
- The most interesting and unique feature is the statue of the ‘Ardhanareshwar’ or the man-woman demonstration of Lord Shiva.
- The gigantic shrine also has idols of Ganesha and other important bronzes of the Chola Age.
This place simply gives you peace of mind. So, if you are tired of your busy life and need some rest, this is an excellent place to enjoy some excellent art examples.
Gagaikonda Cholapuram Information
- Photography is allowed without any extra charge.
- This temple is comparatively less visited and so it is not that crowded.
- The main festival here is Shivratri.
- The temple can be visited all year round.
- The place is very well connected with road networks from all main places around.
How To reach Gagaikonda Cholapuram by Public Transport
- Nearest airport is Tiruchirappalli.
- Nearest railway station is Thanjavur railway station.
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