Brihadeeswara Temple, also called Rajarajesvaram, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located on the South Bank of the Kaveri River in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the largest South Indian temples and an exemplary example of a fully-realized Dravidian architecture.
The temple is also known as Dhakshina Meru and was built by Tamil king, Rajaraja Chola I between 1003 and 1010 AD. The temple now is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The best thing, however, is the architecture of this huge and beautiful temple. It is the best place to visit if you love spectacular domes and intricate designs. The temple is known across the nation, majorly for its captivating architecture. Its magnificent central dome is the major point of attraction for both tourists and locals. On its walls, various beautiful paintings can be seen, belonging to the Chola and Nayak period.
If you want to visit this destination then consider May as the best time to visit Brihadeeswara Temple. This is mainly because, during this time, you can also explore the annual festival of the temple.
History of Brihadeeswara Temple
The main temple along with its gopurams are from the early 11th century. The temple also saw additions, renovations, and repairs over a thousand years since its origin. The raids and wars, particularly between Muslim Sultans, who controlled Madurai, and, Hindu kings, who controlled Thanjavur, caused damage.
These were later repaired by Hindu dynasties that regained 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 here are from as far back as 16th and 17th-century, the Nayaka era.
Major Attractions of Brihadeeswara Temple Tamil Nadu
1. Brihadeeswara Temple Shadow
The most surprising thing you would experience over here is the shadow of the temple doesn’t fall on its floor at noon. Brihadeeswara Temple stands among the tallest temples across the globe. Its superior height is a reason shadow doesn’t reach to the floor of the temple during any time of the year.
2. First All Granite Temple
The first-ever granite temple in the world is Brihadeeswara Temple. Interestingly, granite is not available nearby the location of the temple and it is, therefore, unknown from where the granite was carried from, originally.
3. Tallest Temple in the World
The temple took 7 years to complete. During its construction, 50 tons of rock was placed and moved every day. The Brihadeeswara Temple was constructed in 1002 CE, and has a height of 216 ft., the tallest temple across the world. In the evening time, the topmost light over the dome seems like a planet coming closer to earth.
4. Musical Pillars
Close to the entryway of the sanctum sanctorum, the two idols of Ganesha in the corridor can be seen. One can feel the sound passing through the stone in one idol and coming through metal on the other. The main hall of the temple is used by the dancers and musicians performing, in service of Lord Shiva. There are also other musical pillars present here that produce sounds when tapped.
There are organised special poojas at the time of Thiruvathirai, Aadipuram, and Karthigai. So if you come here during these festivals, try to be a part of the spectacular Pooja that take place.
How to Reach Brihadeeswara Temple
This place is located at an approximate distance of 2,501, 1,385, 2,006 and 393 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Following is the travel route information.
The nearest airport to Brihadeeshwar Temple is the Tiruchirapalli International Airport (65 km) and is well-connected with the nearby regions via direct and connecting flights. From the airport, you can take a cab or some other locally available transportation to reach the temple.
From Pune - Board IndiGo flights from Pune Airport. The airfares start from INR 3,000-4,000
From Mumbai - Board Indio flights from Mumbai Airport. The airfares start from INR 4,000-5,000
From Coimbatore - Board IndiGo, Spicejet flights from Coimbatore Airport. The airfares start from INR 3,000-4,000
Thanjavur Junction (TJ) is the nearest railhead from the temple located approximately 60-70 km away. The station is fairly well connected with other nearby destinations and towns. For instance, from Coimbatore, you will need to board Janshtabadi Express from Coimbatore Junction and deboard at Thanjavur Junction. After deboarding the train, you can take a taxi or some other means of public transportation to reach the temple.
If you are residing in the nearby regions then, Thanjavur can be easily accessed via a bus or a cab. There are frequent government and private buses running to Thanjavur throughout the day from other towns and cities. Depending on your convenience, you can also take your own vehicle.