Great Temples of the Chola Dynasty

The world heritage includes the Brihadishvara Temple of Thanjavur, the Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple in Darasuram from the 10th to 13th centuries. According to ezinereligion, they are located in the south of India, which was ruled by the Chola dynasty from the 9th to the 12th centuries. Thanjavur was once the royal seat of the Chola rulers; the temple there rises above the 13-storey terrace pyramid with its 60 m high tower.

Great Temples of the Chola Dynasty: Facts

Official title: Great temples of the Chola dynasty: Brihadisvara temples of Thanjavur and Gangaikondacholisvaram and Airavatesvara temples in Darasuram
Cultural monument: Brihadishvara Temple in Thanjavur (also known as Rajarajeshvara Temple), a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, surrounded by an outer, 12 m high wall in the middle of the approximately 150×75 m main courtyard of Fort Sivaganga, built on a square pedestal with 14 storeys Tower (vimana) with a huge, 80 t heavy, octagonal dome (sikhara) made of black granite; in the inner sanctuary (Gabhagriha) 108 relief depictions of Shiva in dance poses; the temple Sri Subramanya with a 16.5 m high tower and the Sri Dakshinamurthy as well as the colossal Nandi figure weighing 25 t
Continent: Asia
Country: India, Tamil Nadu
Location: Thanjavur, in the Cauvery Delta, south of Madras, northeast of Madurai; Gangaikonda Cholapuram, on the edge of the Kaveri Delta in the Ariyalur district; Darasuram in Thanjavur District
Appointment: 1987, expanded in 2004
Meaning: outstanding masterpieces of Chola architecture as well as Tamil culture and Hindu religion.

Great Temples of the Chola Dynasty: History

846-880 King Vijayalaya from the Chola Dynasty
985-1012 King Rajaraja from the Chola dynasty
1003-10 Construction of the temple complex with gilded copper roofing of the tower
1022/23 Foundation of the new capital Gangaikonda Cholapuram
12th century Construction of the Airavateshvara Temple in Darasuram
13th century Destruction of Gangaikonda Cholapuram by the rising Pandya dynasty
1758 French attack on Thanjavur
1773 Thanjavur influenced by the East India Company
1855 under the direct influence of the English colonial power
1931 Rediscovery of a painting in the Aradhana Mandapam from the time of the Chola and Nayak dynasties

The temples of Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Darasuram

A smaller version of the temple complex based on this model is located in Gangaikonda Cholapuram, a temple that was also built under Rajaraja I. The temple tower is slightly smaller at 55 m. The assembly hall with around 150 columns already takes up features of the later customary thousand-column halls, and the sculptural decoration is an outstanding example of the sculpture of the Chola period. The 12th century Temple of Darasuram is the youngest of the three Great Temples of the Chola Dynasty. It was commissioned under King Rajaraja II and has a 24 m high temple tower. Together, the three Great Temples are outstanding masterpieces of Chola architecture as well as Tamil culture and Hindu religion.

Every twelve years, thousands of believers set out on the arduous journey to the 4778 meter high Rupkundsee lake on the southern flank of the Nanda Devi massif and at the foot of the Trisul. In the procession in honor of the goddess Nanda, a golden idol is carried, which otherwise has its place in the temple of Nauti. The glacier lake is surrounded by secrets, as numerous skeletons of people and horses were found in it, which died here about 200 years ago. Was it soldiers from an Indian army on the way to Tibet or pilgrims who were caught by the snow storm? And wouldn’t this glacier basin also be a suitable place to live for the legendary Yeti, the snowman of the Himalayas?

In 2005 the World Natural Heritage was expanded to include the Valley of Flowers, one of the most famous national parks in India, which was established in 1982. It is located in the western high Himalayas at an altitude of around 3600 m and is best known for its meadows with endemic alpine flowers and its extraordinary beauty. This area is home to rare and endangered animals including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear, and blue sheep. The gentle landscape, which is particularly beautiful in summer, complements the rugged mountain wilderness of the Nanda Devi National Park. 300 species of wildflowers alone adorn the meadows of the valley, which changes its color about every three weeks in summer when new types of flowers alternate with those that have faded.

Great Temples of the Chola Dynasty