Another marvel of Brihadeeswarar temple is that it has a perfect balance. Raja Gopuram has such a perfect geometrical creation that the shadow of the temple doesn’t fall on the ground. Many disasters have hit this temple in previous years and it has remained unaffected yet.
The first thing which is so different about the Brihadeeswarar temple is its long passages. These passages are underground. They all lead to various spots. This is an exemplary art and so was the capital of the Chola dynasty. These passages are secret and lead to King’s Palace.
These passages are sealed mostly. In those days Kings had many secret areas to protect themselves and their empires from the enemy and so they used to maintain some secrecy. These secret paths are without any maps, it is because the paths could never be traced. No one tried much to know about those passages, because it is believed that those passages lead to some dangerous spots.
Rajarajesvaram or Brihadeeswarar Temple
Brihadeeswarar Temple, also called Rajarajesvaram or Peruvudaiyār Kōvil, is a Hindu temple located on the South Bank of the Kaveri river in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Brihadeeswarar temple is one of the largest South Indian temples and an exemplary example of fully realized Dravidian architecture.
Rajaraja, who commissioned the temple, called it Rajarajeshvaram, literally “the temple of the god” of Rajaraja”. Later inscription in the Brihannayaki shrine calls the temple’s deity Periya Udaiya Nayanar, which appears to be the source of the modern name Brihadisvara.
Brihadishvara is a Sanskrit word derived from two words, Brihat which means “big, great, vast”, and Ishvara means “lord, Shiva. The temple is dedicated to the great lord shiva.
Secrets of Brihadeshwarar Temple
Above the main deity of this tower, there is a small staircase it leads to the upper part of the tower. It creates a vibration if the mantra “OM” is recited inside the hollow tower. from there, it creates a vibration. This vibration appears divine and it creates a magical moment for religious people and soothes the soul.
The design of the temple is different on its own. Granite stones are used to create this temple. The place Tanjore, where it is built is a red soil area and granite is nowhere to be found. Thousand years ago transportation was a big problem.
Still, there is no trace of the technique used to bring granite into the area. There are intricate designs are carved on the temple. These designs are so hard when it is created on iron or copper chisels. Yet it was done. The designs of the temple are made using iron and copper.
The paintings on the temple are beautiful. The excellence and amazing talent of the artists in those days can be traced by looking at those paintings. The paintings indicate the ravishing talent of the Cholas. The colours that were used appear bright even today. It hasn’t faded with time.
The Nandhi inside the temple is another mystery, which keeps growing in size. But it can happen due to the atmosphere and weather too. So, to keep it firm and stop its growth it was nailed to the ground. The Maratha rulers gifted the current statue before Lord Shiva. It is a single-stone statue.
What is the history of the Brihadeeswarar temple?
India is such a religious country and people here solve most of their problems by registering them in front of God. They believe in miracles and also they are so hopeful when it comes to religion. So many pilgrimages visit this temple every year. Some have hidden mysteries inside them, with reasons unknown. That is the reason behind their firm belief. Brihadishvara Temple is one such place.
A spectrum of Hindu temple styles continued to develop from the 5th to the 9th century over the Chalukya era rule as evidenced in Aihole, Badami, and Pattadakal. The Pallava era was witnessed at Mamallapuram and other monuments. Thereafter, between 850 and 1280 CE, the Cholas emerged as the dominant dynasty.
In the 10th century, within the Chola empire emerged features such as multifaceted columns with projecting square capitals. This, states George Michell, signalled the start of the new Chola style. the Chola king Rajaraj later fully styled this South Indian temple between 1003 and 1010 in both scale and detail.
The main temple along with its gopurams is from the early 11th century. The temple also saw additions, renovations, and repairs over the next 1,000 years. The raids and wars, particularly between Muslim Sultans who controlled Madurai and Hindu kings who controlled Thanjavur caused damage.
Hindu dynasties later repaired them by regaining control. In some cases, the rulers attempted to renovate the temple with faded paintings, by ordering new murals on top of the older ones. In other cases, they sponsored the addition of shrines. The significant shrines of Kartikeya (Murugan), Parvati (Amman), and Nandi are from the 16th and 17th-century Nayaka era. Similarly, the Dakshinamurthy shrine was built later.
Amazing Facts About Brihadeeswarar Temple
In Brihadeeswarar temple there is a capstone on the topmost part of Raja Gopuram. In those times technology was not so developed and had no modern tools, but the architecture of this temple is so marvellous and unique. That capstone weighs 80 tons. At such an old time, what could have been done to put the stone at the top is still, unknown. People tried to figure it out but were unsuccessful.
- This temple has a perfect equilibrium.
- There is no binding material between stones, but the stones are perfectly interlocked. The stones are perfectly interlocked without any binding material and Nothing was put to make them intact but the joint is still locked today.
- This tower has a 216ft hollow tower inside it. This is also without any binding material. This is another mystery because it has been a thousand years.
- Raja Raja Chola visited Sri Lanka once and from there he got the inspiration to build this temple.
- He had a dream there related to this. The original name of the Lord was Rajarajeshwara.
- Marathas changed the name and called it Brihadeeshwara or the Great Ishwara.
- 8100 Depiction of Nartakis is carved here. In different mudras of Bharatnatyam, 8100 Depiction of Nartakis is carved here. The Karnas (synchronized movements of hands and feet) which are carved here are depicted in the Natyashastra of Bharatmuni.
- Also, it is believed that dancers used to showcase their talent here in those days.
- The inscriptions also mention different kinds of jewels used in that period. Each mention is in detail. A total of twenty-three different types of pearls and eleven varieties of diamonds and rubies are mentioned in these inscriptions.
- The structure is an example of Dravidian architecture and it represents the ideology of Tamil civilization and the Chola Empire.