Chola Temples Tamil Nadu
State : Tamil Nadu
Situated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, this World Heritage
site comprises the three great 11th and 12th century Chola Temples:
the Brihadisvara temples of Thanjavur and Gangaikondacholisvaram,
and the Airatesvara temple at Darasuram. The three Chola temples
represent an outstanding creative achievement in the architectural
conception of the pure form of the dravida type of temple. Built
by King Rajaraja, the Brihadisvara temple is crowned by a pyramidal
65-m vimana, a sanctum tower. Its walls are covered with rich sculptural
decoration. The second Brihadisvara temple complex built by Rajendra
I, was completed in 1035. Its 53-m vimana has recessed corners and
a graceful upward curving movement, contrasting with the straight
and severe tower at Thanjavur. It has six pairs of massive, monolithic
dvarapalas statues guarding the entrances and bronzes of remarkable
beauty inside. 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 Cholas brilliant achievements in architecture,
sculpture, painting, and bronze casting.
The great Temple of Tanjore (Thanjavur) was built between 1003 and
1010 in the reign of the great King Rajaraja, of the Chola Empire
which stretched over all of South India and the neighbouring islands.
Surrounded by two rectangular enclosures, the Brihadisvara Temple
(built from blocks of granite and, in part, from bricks) is crowned
with a pyramidal 13-storey tower, the vimana, standing 61 m high
and topped with a bulb-shaped monolith. The walls of the temple
are covered with rich sculptural decoration.