Here is the list of 3 Great Living Chola Temples:
1. The Brihadesvara Temple (Thanjavur)
Great Living Chola Temples, The Brihadesvara Temple (Thanjavur)
A Hindu temple, dedicated to Shiva is located in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India, Brihadisvara Temple was built between 1003 and 1010 AD by Raja Raja Chola I. It is one of the largest temples in South India located 350 kilometres southwest of the city of Chennai. The place is well connected by bus and train facility. If you want to fly for a quick weekend getaway, then the nearest airport, Tiruchirappalli International Airport is 55 kilometres away.
More than 1000 years old, this Chola Temple is the majestic work of the architect Kunjara Mallan Raja Raja Perumthachan. The architecture of the grand temple uses the principles of symmetrical geometry rules. The gigantic temple complex encompasses five sections. The high tower where the sanctum is located is called Sri vimana, in the front of the complex is the Nandi hall or Nandi-mandapam. Between these two structures, the huge gathering hall known as Mahamandapam and the community service hall, Mukhamandapam. There is also a pavilion which is connecting structure between the sanctum and the gathering hall known as Ardhamandapam. The wall of these structures is covered in magnificent carving and paintings which speaks volumes about the skilled artisans at that time.
Interesting Fact: This Great Living Chola Temple was a result of a dream that Raja Raja Chola had while visiting Sri Lanka.
Chola Temples, The Brihadesvara Temple (Thanjavur)
The temple opens to the public at 6:00 AM and closes around 12:30 PM. After this, the temple gates are closed for a couple of hours, to be next opened at 4:00 PM. Visitors can offer prayer till 8:30 PM when the temple gates are closed for the day.
2. Gangaikonda Cholapuram (Brihadisvara Temple)
Chola Temples, Gangaikonda Cholapuram (Brihadisvara Temple)
In the calm district of Ariyalur, in Tamil Nadu, another of the Great Living Chola Temples, Gangaikonda Cholapuram (Brihadisvara Temple) is located. Located 280 kilometres away from Chennai, the temple can be easily reached by bus as well as trains.
The magnificent temple was constructed by Rajendra Chola I in 1035 AD. After conquering the Ganges in the northern part of the country, he acquired the name Gangaikonda Chola, as the conqueror of the Ganges. He laid the foundation of Gangaikonda Cholapuram and proclaimed it as the capital of his kingdom. It served as the capital city for a span of 250 years. Although the main deity in the temple is Shiva there are also other deities prayed here, such as Durga, Surya and Vishnu, to name a few.
The architecture style of the Brihadisvara Temple is a square design plan, depicting the infamous Dravidian style of the architecture. All the structures on this glorious Chola temple grounds are square-shaped. The main courtyard is covered by two square structures that are built next to each other. The primary sanctum, Garbha Griha, the mandapas and the Upapitham are also squarish buildings. The typical craftsmanship of the Chola kingdom in the 11th century is depicted in the bronze statues kept in the temple.