THANJAVUR :- Brihadeeshwara Temple (UNESCO) and SRIRANGAM:- Sri Raganathaswamy Temple

The Brihadeeshwara ( Big ) Temple, Thanajavur

THANJAVUR :- The next place according to the plan was given to Thanjavur, The Brihadeeshwara Temple (also called the Big Temple).

When in Mumbai I called lot of Taxi drivers in Srirangam to go Thanjavur. But the rates they were charging were simply unnecessary. Normally anywhere in India taxi drivers charge per km. but here in Srirangam taxi drivers charge rent of the car per day also around rs. 650/and driver’s allowance rs. 150 which makes total travelling budget to Rs. 2500 for taxi for Thanjavur return which I can afford but totally unnecessary. So we decided to go by bus. And by the way bus service in TN is excellent and as far I have is best among all states.

Early at 6.00am, we went to Central bus stand Trichy and there took a bus to Thanjavur. Rs. 18 per person. From reaching new bus stand we took local auto rickshaw on hire for the local sightseeing which cost us around Rs. 200.
So total travelling cost came to rs. 400, thereby saving rs. 2100.

We reached the amazing Brihadeeshwara Temple (Big Temple) at around 8.00 am and rest please look at the pics.

the Big Temple

Entrance Gopuram of Thanajvur Brihadeeshwara ( Big ) Temple

BRIHADEESHWARA TEMPLE ( BIG TEMPLE) :- The Peruvudaiyar Koyil , also known as Rajarajeswaram, at Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world’s first complete granite temple and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas kingdom Vishwakarmas in Tamil architecture. It is a tribute and a reflection of the power of its patron RajaRaja Chola I. It remains as one of the greatest glories of Indian architecture. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Great Living Chola Temples”.

This temple is one of India’s most prized architectural sites. The temple stands amidst fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th century. The ‘Vimana’ – or the temple tower – is 216 ft (66 m) high and is among the tallest of its kind in the world. The Kumbam or Kalash or ‘Chikharam’ (apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is not carved out of a single stone as widely believed. There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock, at the entrance measuring about 16 feet long and 13 feet high. The entire temple structure is made out of hard granite stones, a material sparsely available currently in Thanjavur area where the temple is located.

Built in 1010 AD by Raja Raja Chola in Thanjavur, Brihadishwara Temple also popularly known as the ‘Big Temple’ has turned 1000 years in 2010

Classy sculpture in Granite Rock

Elephant in the premises

TEMPLE COMPLEX:- The temple complex sits on the banks of a river that was channelled to make a moat around the complex’s outer walls, the walls being built like a fortress.
Brihadeeswara Temple Tanjore is one of the best temples in South India, built by Chola emperor Raja Raja I (985-1013 AD). This is the chola dynasty’s finest contribution to Dravidian art. The construction is unique: the vimanam, known as Dakshina Meru, soars high while the gopuram remains stunted. The 64.8 metre-tall, 14-tier and pyramid-shaped vimanam rises from a square base and is topped by a huge monolithic cupola weighing 81.3 tonnes. The shadow of the cupola never falls on the ground.

Myself with Nandi

Second Gopuram from Nandi Temple

Brihadeeswara is a gigantic Lingam (about 8.7 metres high). There is a massive Nandi at the portals of the Brihadeeswara temple. It is the second largest monolithic Nandi in the country, next only to the colossal Bull at the Lepakshi Veerabhadra temple in Andhra Pradesh. The divine consort, Brihannayaki, is in a separate shrine. The shrine of Lord Subramanya is an exquisite piece of decorative art. There are excellent sculptures of Siva in different forms and other gods and goddesses besides several interesting Chola paintings.

Brihadeeshwara shivalinga

Thanjavur Shivalinga

I was stunned for at least 10 mins after seeing this 8.7 METER SHIVALINGA Covered by huge GOLDEN SHESHNAAG
The main temple is in the center of the spacious quadrangle composed of a sanctuary, a Nandi, a pillared hall and an assembly hall (mandapas), and many sub-shrines. The most important part of the temple is the inner mandapa which is surrounded by massive walls that are divided into different levels by sharply cut sculptures and pilasters providing deep bays and recesses.

Each side of the sanctuary has a bay emphasizing the principle cult icons. The karuvarai, a Tamil word meaning the interior of the sanctum sanctorum, is the inner most sanctum and focus of the temple where an image of the primary deity, Shiva, resides. Inside is a huge stone linga Literally the word Karuvarai means “womb chamber” from Tamil word Karu for foetus. Only priests are allowed to enter this inner most chamber.
Please:- This is compulsary for the viewers. Please click the link below.

While visiting the above link please click on the arrows shown and see the class.

In Devi Paravati temple

Tallest kalash in South India

In the premises

The Kartikeyan temple

108 Shivalingas in the temple complex

Nine shivalingas for Navgrahas

Very rare occassion that we can touch a linga in a temple in South India

Just see my daughter below an compare the size of the mighty temple.

The bordering walls of the big temple are decorated with statues of all the nandi all the way.

Then we visited three Divya desams Narsimha Perumal temple, Manihundram Perumal temple, Neelamega Perumal temple (Thiru Thanjaimaamani Koil) 6 km away from Thanjavur , a Hanuman Temple, Lord Shiva Temple, Kamatchi Amman temple , Lord Rama Temple in Thanjavur.

A painting showing both Ganapati and Hanuman

It was already 12.00 o’ clock. We decided to leave for Srirangam, caught a bus for Srirangam.

Srirangam , Sriranganathaswamy Temple not finished yet
We came to Hotel at srirangam at around 14.00 and went to Sriranganathaswamy Temple in which many parts were still remaining. Had darshan of lord and visited temple complex.

Rajagopuram from my Hotel terrace

Can you see two entrance Gopurams behind me?

In Sri Raganathaswamy temple

Painting In Sriranganathswamy temple

People tie locks in Srirangam Temple as Mannat and when it is fulfilled, they remove it. Temple complex is so big that they have car for senior citizens to roam around.

classy statues

Shri Ram Darbar

Srirangam temple has lots of Good paintings in small temples around the complex. Doors and Other idols are also painted beautifully.

East side Entrance Gopuram

Thousand Pillar Hall.

North side Gopuram

Elephant in Sriranganathaswamy

Srirangam Temple complex is so big that I stayed there for 2 complete days but I could not visit the whole temple.
Picture of 4th entrance Gopuram is still missing……………………………………………

Please:- This is compulsary for all visitors. Please click the links below.

In the evening, we had a train to Rameswaram, my prime destination. That will be in next post.

Dear Readers if you want to read my other Yatras with more pictures PLEASE CLICK BELOW











  • VED PRAKASH says:

    thnx for the nice post and beautiful pics…. i have not been to thanjavur yet.. will certainly be benefited by your this post. And yes Srirangam temple is such a big temple requiring somewhat more than a day’s full time. I will certainly visit tricy again to see the temples I missed and also to Tanjavur. Still Pondering over as to visit straight to tanjavur or via tiruchi…. anyway hope that this materialises soon. Will contact u before commencing…..
    toddler ved

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Very informative post , I saw first time 108 Shivlings together in Pashupathinath temple – Nepal.

    Chola’s has a very big role in the development of Southern region of India & they were the longest ruling dynasty in that region.

    Some of the pictures are hazy otherwise very Good job Vishal.

  • Aditya says:

    A very informative post Vishal…. ‘ll be of so much help when i plan a trip to this part of the country….

    Time to brush up my knowledge on the Southern states of India….

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Thanks, Vishal for taking us on a virtual tour of the Brihadeeswara Temple. You are descriptions of this amazing place makes me want to go there asap.

    There is, however, something I found a bit contradictory. You say that the shikhara of the temple is not monolithic in the beginning of the write-up (Kalash or Chikharam (apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is not carved out of a single stone as widely believed.”) and later, you say that it is “a huge monolithic cupola weighing 81.3 tonnes”.

    Could you kindly clarify.

    • D.L.Narayan says:

      “You are descriptions” shoudl read “your description”
      Sorry for the typo.

    • DL

      Thanks for your comments…………………………

      And well The word “not” was written by mistake. The Kalash is single piece weighing 81.3 tonnes.

      Sorry it was typing mistake………………

      • D.L.Narayan says:

        Thanks for the clarification, Vishal.
        I believe that this temple should be considered as a wonder of the world as it is an engineering marvel, considering that it was built a thousand years ago.
        Looking forward to your post on Rameshwaram.

        • DL

          that is why it is under UNESCO world Heritage.

          Can you imagine how could first of make single piece of such size. Cutting was also difficult.

          And above all lifting that is the most difficult part with no faclities at that time………………

          Can you imagine the planning when started , its beyond our imagination……………………

  • Tarun Talwar says:

    Dear Vishal,

    How should I thank you for taking us on virtual tour of such amazing temples. The scale and grandeur of these temples is unmatched. Your detailed description has further enhanced the beauty of the places. After reading your post, I have added TN to my list of must visit places.

    Thanks and keep writing.

    • Thanks Tarun

      While visiting Thanjavur please visit the Maratha place also.

      due to shortage of time and not planning mainly i could visit that palace.

      It takes 2 more hours to visit that palace………………..

      Rameswaram is coming in next post…………………..

    • Also Tamil Nadu is great place. Initially i was quite fussy about going there because of language and food. but believe me TN people are best in this country in terms of hospitality and helping…………..

      The trip was simply Great………………..

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Vishal,

    Thanks for the virtual tour of a 1000 years old temple. That 360 degree link was superb.

    I also compliment you on your ‘Bhakti bhaav’ – it certainly gives that special touch to your articles , making them so interesting.

    Nice pics and great description,


  • Ramesh says:

    Dear Vishal,
    Simply superb.

  • T Pardha Saradhi says:

    Dear Mr. Vishal Rathod,

    So nice of you for sharing valuable information. It is really interesting and helpful to all who would like to visit Thanjavur. I have planned to visit Srirangam during Jan’12 and i will be staying at srirangam for one day. Can you please let me know, is it possible for me to visit Thanjavur and Srirangam temples in one days time. I am glad if you can share .

    Thanks and regards

    • Dear T. Pardhasaradhi,

      From my experience i can say that if you rush you can visit Sriranganathswamy and Brihadesswara temple on the same day. It totally depends on when are you reaching Srirangam.If you reach early in the morning take darshan of SriRanganathswamy and then Mahalaxmi in the same complex. If the queue is large take tickets for special darshan Rs. 50 and Rs. 250 . I think there is not much difference between them. Just check out and go for Rs. 50 darshan………………………….

      Then from Rajagopuram you will get bus for Central bus station every 10 mins . You will reach Central bus station in 20 – 30 mins depends on traffic conditions.

      From Central bus station you get buses to Thanjavur evry 10 – 15 mins. You reach Thanjavur in 1.5 hours from there you have to take auto or bus to the Brihadeeshwara Temple ……………….

      It will take at least one hour to look this temple carefully and to enjoy its beauty . Its useless if you look this in hurry

      One more thing , Brihadeeshwara Temple closes from 12.00 to 4.oo pm . So arrange timings accordingly. Sriranganathswamy temple is open whole day………………………….

      So you can go first to Thanjavur and then to Srirangam temple ………………………………….

      That you plan accordingly which you want to visit. And If time permits go to Jambukeshwara Temple and Samayapuram tem ple in the evening……………………………………..

      All the best …………………………

      If you have any queries , please directly mail me on [email protected], i will be obliged to help you…………………


      Vishal …………………………………

  • Sanskriti Bhalse says:

    Very informative and interesting post. The photo of large shivlinga is really very nice.


  • Amit Kumar says:

    Hi Vishal ji, Thanks for the those virtual tour links. Your passion about our religion is unparalleled. You are lucky indeed to visit these places. All images are clicked very well. I specially liked the image comparing your daughter with mighty temple.

  • Thank you Amit for your sweet words ……………………………..

    But i am just a small bhakta and its lord who taking me to all these places ………………………………………..

  • vijayakumar says:

    wondarful photoes i want to visit Tanjure for the past four years.But unable to do so.I had a wonderful darshan.THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  • Ramahendir says:

    Really you had wounderful, memorable trip, and had a collection of good photographs
    where can I get your Rameshwaram trip details/photos……………..


  • Ramahendir says:


    Is it possible to send me a photo copy of Ram Darbar paintings at Srirangam, It is so beautiful, pl inform…………………

    My address is :
    No.218, Ganapati Nilayam,
    6th Main, Behind Vidya Peetham,
    Guru Raja Layout, BSK 3rd Stage,
    Bangalore 560 028.
    Ph No.9449780534.

    Awaiting for your reply.


  • kumar chandramouli says:




  • Ramjee says:

    Vishal, don’t you think your should have been a little more appropriately dressed when you visit a temple?

  • rakesh says:

    Really good info… I liked it very much… If i have some plans for the tour… definitely i ill take suggestion from you…

  • ponnusamy says:

    ugyyugugug jfyugufjjfyu

  • b.gupta says:

    crores and crores of peoples were culprits , or made culprits , from very past even before ramayana , ahyilyia , and gayatri mantra

    and peoples are beaten very badly and broken and even buried alive by the great gods and goddesses and great humans gods like murgan bhiraspaty ,bharama , dakshina moorty , narayanan , and many power full and great gods and humans .

    crores and crores of peoples are being killed ,destryoed in such a way no one can find out , and given different shapes and made to bad brains and minds ,
    genetical deshaped and disorded to lusty and bad brains and bad minds .
    are made from single soul to multy humans souls to suffer and painful
    creatures to never become humans and buried alive under earth and even
    killed into stomaches and made to toilets and throughn into hells like

  • b.gupta says:

    Why ,draupady , ganga , bhooma devi , saraswaties . sitas , and other devies and other good peoples were always and again and again insulted and were victim of cruielties and crimes .and why girls like taraka(tataka) and her mother and her souls were accused and became culprits and why could not become good humans and peoples like others . why peoples became so bad and wrong even girl and ladies insulted ladies ,?

    Was kunti and kunti’s humans and other souls were real cuilprits , in the 2012 ,13 ,2014 were beaten and killed very badlly by the gods like bharama , guru bhiraspati ,dakshina moorti , two goddess might be ganga and draupadi and other gods like may be ram ,krishna , and others

    Were putana , who tried to kill krishna by making drink milk and other women ,like holika and other womens and others were culprits or were became the cuplprits of wrong and bad traditions or bad karmas of karmas or some other traditions

    Why krishna ,rama ,shiva and others mahans elder peoples were good peoples and indras and others peoples were bad
    crores and crores have been destroyed and are being buried alive under earths , throughwn into hells and made landless ,
    why others peoles could not become good humans and good peoples

    who were those peoples , which has been and being killed ,destroyieded ,
    whose generations were , why were bad peoples , were really bad , why
    could not became good peoples ,

    Were rama and ravana were
    enemy ? , if i am not wrong rama shakti and murgan and veerbhadra are
    same avatars .(savarupnaga , ravana sister and sita might had been the close
    relative) .
    which peoples would had some wrong and intercaste marrages . intercaste marrages would had been the cause of quarrels there would had been great conspirancies to kill the peoples. which were from the westren and south westron parts of himayalas .in many stories of dakasa prajapati story also many wrong and multy wifes and mishappenigs happened . ( peoples which had to make lifes good and better , used the criminals ,enemities and wrong ideas and methods for spoiling and destroying the lifes )

    Culprits and cruel peoples , who had done cruelities
    on brahma and saraswati , and ganga and sita , ahiyilia , draupdi and on
    many goddesses and gods ,and on good peoples ,

    crores and crores of peoples are being killed ,destryoed in such a way no one can find out , and given different shapes and made to bad brains and minds ,
    genetical deshaped and disorded to lusty and bad brains and bad minds .
    are made from single soul to multy humans souls to suffer and painful
    creatures to never become humans and buried alive under earth and even
    killed into stomaches and made to toilets and throughn into hells like

    {my views , which i found some what truth )my views may or may not be acceptable truth.}

    Many ramayanas are there , like valmiki ,vashist ,kamb, ramanujan ,ramayanaa are few of many other versons of ramayana ,
    what is the meaning of ramayana found , ramayana = ram +ayan ( ayan meaning came ) ,

    to some stories ahyilyia was cursed by gotham rishi , Ahalya was
    converted to stone ,As for Ahalya, Gautama granted her the boon that she
    would be brought back to human form by the touch of the feet of Lord
    Rama .
    so rama avatar would had been made (incarnated) ,thus how many ramas would had been created ,

    would gotham rishi would be knowing about rama avatar ?

    ramayana so many ahilya versons are there ,( like in a verson , ganga
    tells to gautam , it is mid night not the bath time go to home and see
    some thing would have been wrong ) .

    how many Ahilyas storeies
    would had been made and how many gautams would had been made and how
    many ahilyas lifes would had been spoiled ,how many indras would had
    been made and how many girls/boys souls would had been made to sit in
    hen or cock and make sound (cock crow) .thus how many would had been
    made culprits ,sinners ,bad brains ,bad habituals of bad acts and bad
    karma .
    and those cuilprits , sinners are/would had been made to quarrel and killed in the wars of ramanyana .?

    , would had took placed for the revenges and the cruelties happened on
    ladies ( like savarupnakha ,sita ) . to show the cruelities ,gamblings
    were played and sarees were made to removed

    like ramayana vishvamitra story would have many versons and vishvamitras

    would had been happened for revenges of ramayana and ramayana would had
    been happened for ahiylia and what would be reason behind ahiliyia
    insult was conspirancies or any ones evil idea .

    really how many
    would had been real culptits and how many would had been created and how
    many would had been victims of vengences and eneyminities and how many
    peoples souls would had been killed

    killed peoples would had been
    given births to different parents , differnt mothers ,different fathers
    , and thus differnt marrages would had taken places in past birth some
    ones mothers would had been wife of some another person .and some wrong
    and illigal methods and would had been used like rapes for the birth and
    for enemities and revenges .
    thus quarrels would had been on increasing ,and peoples and souls became culprits and victims .
    to one of the satguru video in the past arround 18 millions years 1.8
    crores years ago and one of the papa ji ( h.l. punja ) video , arround
    80 millilons years ,8 crores years ago some incarnations had took placed
    and some wrong things and wrong marrages and wrong interchanged
    childrens were given births by the other not by their husbands .
    like this millions and millions peoples are accused .

    ( peoples which had to make lifes good and better , used the criminals
    ,and wrong ideas and methods for spoiling and destroying the lifes )

    More than 99 % of peoples, gods ,souls had been inocents ,had not been
    victims . if polatictics , conspirancies , crimanilites ,some wrong
    traditions and some wrong rules of few from the ancient times would had
    not been made.

    why the wrong and mishappenings happened and
    happenings from the very ancient times , why peoples went wrong for
    wrong marrages wrong acts?
    Why the gods , devatas , peoples and
    humans became wrong of bad wisdoms and wrong acts and bad karmas ,crores
    and crores of peoples ,were all the peoples were bad .why became bad
    instead of becoming good humans and peoples?

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