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.