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The Brahadeeshwara Temple Tanjore Big Temple Exclusive

By October 17, 2015Others

When we told a friend that we were attempting a photo-essay of the Peruvudiyar Temple, he gave us an expression of confused amusement. “What and where is this Peruvudiyar Temple?” he asked. And then we remembered how the Peruvudiyar Temple is famously known as the Big Temple of Tanjore, and how in that process, the very ancient name got lost. The Big Temple is indeed Big. It’s so big that it’s massive, and towering, and overpowering, all at the same time. The town is centered around the temple, and it’s quite charming in its own right. There are small markets selling spices, condiments, and rice. Tanjore is called the ‘rice bowl of India’, and how can they not sell rice in their markets! The streets are narrow, the main roads big, and the buses scream into the roads with their atrocious horns. Tanjore was also the seat of the Marathas. There is the Saraswathi Mahal Library, and the Sangeetha mahal too, but people just wouldn’t stop talking about the ‘Periya Kovil’ or ‘The Big Temple’, so we headed towards that direction to witness the magnificence of one of the ‘Greatest Living Chola Temples’.

Built in 1002 CE, The Brahadeeshwara Temple is a masterstroke of the Chola Architecture. Arulmozhi Varman (Have you read Ponniyin Selvan?:)) who later came to be known as Raja Raja I received an instruction in his dream from Shiva, and he commissioned to build this temple the very next day. We looked at the central dome and we felt humbled.

This massive structure that is testimony to the craftsmanship and grandeur of the Chola Art has weathered the challenges of time, and withstood every other climate change that has graced Tanjore over the last 1000 years! Isn’t that why we believe that a temple like this could not have been built by humans? Vedic books on Aagama Shaasthra (The Principle of Temple Construction) have clear codes on how to make domes and pillars, but this dome is something else. The huge tower above the Sanctum Sanctorum (or the Garbha Graha) is 216 feet tall! The Nandi at sitting tall at 12 feet is one of the tallest and biggest bull structures in India.
The Temple as we see today is not the exact replica of what the Raja Raja built. He built the towering central structure that is surrounded by moats on either sides, and the grand Anaicut on the other side. The Pandyas built some shrines in the 13th Century, the Nayaks added a few pillars, more shrines, and some towers, and the temple is a collective effort of all these empires’ vision. There are Bharathanatyam postures along the outer walls, and the paintings within the Prahaara stand testimony to the brilliance of the Chola and Nayak Art.
While clicking pictures, we were wondering if the shadow of the Big Tower would play spoilsport but when we went there we realized that the Big Tower does not CAST SHADOW ON THE GROUND during any part of the day at all! Just how is this even humanly possible? We shot during the early mornings, a little after sunrise, and sometimes in the evenings too. The early mornings were meditative. The crowd was very less, and it was all about the camera, the temple and us. Quite a different experience for us wedding photographers who thrive all the multitude of sounds in Wedding halls.
The temple was built at just about 7 years (The Taj took more than 10 years to build, ahem)  amounting to moving and placing almost 50 tons of rock each and every day, ofcourse, they had to do the carving before aligning the rocks aswell. The stones are all granite, and there is a clear mastery over the artistic imageries and expressions adorning each pillar. These stones still live and communicate. At dusk, the temple comes alive with light. The topmost light on the dome makes the temple look as if it is from an another planet. Makes us wonder why we do what we do. And makes us wonder the point of it all. But that’s another topic for another day we guess.
We truly hope you enjoyed our pictures on the Tanjore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We would love to know what you thought about our shots. Please like, and share, and spread the word about our glorious Indian Heritage!
Have a monument that you would like us to shoot? Hit us up at +91-9884009970 or shoot us an email at info@focuzstudios.com
The Brahadeeshwara Temple Tanjore Big Temple Exclusive


  • Devi says:

    Sir very nice. Awesome photography…

  • Rajee says:

    Cool shots of our own Indian nature…..!
    Am sure your camera would have enjoyed the nature of Tanjore ….!!!!!

    A great job done !!!!

  • yogi says:

    Proud to see the Indian architecture are captured…where our ancestor made us proud to make it world’s heritage…!
    Visual treat to see each angle which can not be viewed in layman eyes…!!!
    Thank you so much !!!

  • Suganya says:

    No words to describe how awesome this photos is…. Best way to discover and learn history in a best way!!! Sir amazing 🙂

  • Janani says:

    Fantabulous !!! An awesome experience of knowing the complete history !!!! And a great experience to see the photos ! All the photos are treat to our eyes ! Thanks chandrubharathy

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