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Great Living Chola Temples

Listed under Temples in Thanjavur, India.

  • Photo of Great Living Chola Temples
  • Photo of Great Living Chola Temples
  • Photo of Great Living Chola Temples
Photo of Great Living Chola Temples
Photo by flickr user Ravages
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These three great temples were built during the Chola rule of southern India, which continued until the 13th Century. The Airavatesvara temple is dedicated to Shiva, and contains many valuable pieces of art, both inside and out. It is very finely detailed and its many-columned structure of pink and brown stone is fronted by a carved chariot-shaped entrance platform and horses. The Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Brihadeesawarar temples are larger and somewhat less ornate, but the former has some exceptional sculptural pieces and the latter has the tallest central tower of any Hindu temple, tapering to a fine point in the centre to avoid ever casting a noon shadow.

Written by  larapiegeler.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Thanks for sharing. Its nice place to visit.

I am now revisiting these temples for a third time for a high quality digital reshoot. So why the heck don't they teach us history through these places rather than telling us what geniuses Napoleon and Hitler were?

I don't think I can beat my old ektachromes from years ago at Thanjavur. I am heading back for a second try tomorrow. Too many clouds yesterday. That Thanjavur temple with the big walnut on the top is the best in India by far. Unfortunately, the front of the tower is under a scafold staircase right now, so best to shoot the back at sunset.

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Hope you have better luck getting the right light today?

really marvellous temple and very right to be announced as a world heritage centre,because it is very tough to build a temple like this in older days without using any modern equipments and it is also very tough that this temple is build of black rocks which is very tough to break or carry

road facility is not correct and kumbakonam bus facility not available

Great Living Chola Temples

The Great Living Chola Temples were built by kings of the Chola Empire, which stretched over all of south India and the neighbouring islands. The site includes three great 11th- and 12th-century Temples: the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. The Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram, built by Rajendra I, was completed in 1035. Its 53-m vimana (sanctum tower) has recessed corners and a graceful upward curving movement, contrasting with the straight and severe tower at Thanjavur. The Airavatesvara temple complex, built by Rajaraja II, at Darasuram features a 24-m vimana and a stone image of Shiva. The temples testify to the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting.

Copyright © UNESCO/World Heritage Centre. All rights reserved.

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