Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Brihadeeswara Temple:

India, as they say, is a land of myriad cultures. Cultural diversity is one aspect of India that probably no other country can boast to have. History is one unique aspect of this cultural diversity. A glimpse into history gives us an idea about the rich traditions that our country followed and how the cultural fabric was influenced by it.
One look at the grand majesty of the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, and we can be in awe of its grandeur. It is a monument replete with superlatives. And to think that it was built in 1010 AD, makes us wonder if what we call scientific development is actually a way forward or backward. This temple is part of UNESCO “World Heritage Site”.

The construction of this grand temple began somewhere in 1004 AD and was completed in 1010 AD. It was dreamed of by Rajaraja Chola-I and follows the pure form of Dravida type of temple architecture. One mural apparently has Rajaraja along with his guru.

A look at the statistics of the Temple:
The shikhara is about 60 metres high and there are 16 stories around it which have some very intricate carvings.

About 130,000 tons of stone was used to construct this structure.

The kumbham, which is the stone atop the main gopuram is weighs around 60 tons

The gopuram of the main entrance is 30 m high, again with a lot of carvings. Probably the sculptors in that age used to work magic on stones to allow for such fine detail which is alive even now after a 1000 years of existence.

Another interesting aspect about this mega structure is that the stone for the kumbham was placed on top of the 60 m high structure when there were no cranes to lift such massive stones. It is said that a mud slope was made from a nearby place and elephants pulled the stone up.