Saturday, November 28, 2015

Gangaikonda Cholapuram – General Information

Gangaikonda Cholapuram – General Information
Gangaikonda Cholapuram was built during medieval India and was erected as the capital of the Cholas by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, the great Chola who conquered a large area in South India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Sumatra, Kadaram (Kedah in Malaysia), Cambodia and others at the beginning of the 11th century A.D. It occupies an important place in the history of India.
As the capital of the Cholas from about 1025 A.D. for about 250 years, the city controlled the affairs of entire southern India, from the Tungabhadra in the north to Ceylon in the south and other South East Asian countries. As of 2014, the ancient city exists as a small forlorn village in the Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu, India.
The great temple of Siva at this place is next only to the Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur in its monumental nature and surpasses it in sculptural quality. The Gangaikondan temple is an architectural and engineering marvel.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple is an architectural work of genius. Gangaikondacholapuram can be reached easily through regular buses that are available from the main towns and cities of Tamil Nadu. In the early 11th century, the temple got built by Rajendra Chola, who was the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola. 
The voluptuous temple stands next to the famous Brihadisvara temple at Tanjore. Gangaikonda Cholapuram is regarded as the reproduction of Brihadisvara Temple that was built by Rajaraja Chola, father of Rajendra Chola. Gangai Konda Cholapuram was erected to outshine the temple made by the father. The temple is renowned for having the biggest Shivalingam in the Southern part of India.
The sanctum sanctorum embraces the four meter high lingam (phallic form) of Lord Shiva. To provide a private worship area for the royal family, the sanctum is encircled with two walls. The stately entrance of the sanctum is adorned by the beautiful image of Goddess Saraswati. The influence of Chalukyas is also reflected from the icons of 'Suryapita' (Sun worship) and 'Navagrahas' (Nine planets). 
The meticulous accounts of the Cholas are inscribed on the copper plates and temple walls. Preferred place of crowned heads, the exotic structure took approximately nine years to complete. Gangaikondacholapuram has been plundered for several times, but the architectural and sculptural wealth remained alive.
The temple was erected to extol the accomplishments of a combatant king. Gangaikondacholapuram is a tribute to the architects and artisans, who created this spectacular testament. 
The Shiva Linga in the temple is the biggest in size among the Lingas in Tamilnadu temples. This is made of a single lime stone 200 metres far from the sanctum sanctorum and placed on ground. Sun light falls on the Nandhi each day reflecting on the Linga. Even if all lights in the sanctum are put off, devotees can see the Lord in the sunlight. This is an outstanding evidence of the rare skill of sculptors of Tamilnadu with no parallel elsewhere.
The shadow of the Kalasa on the tower does not fall on ground. A rare stone called Chandrakanta stone is installed under the Linga which has a strange characteristic of making the sanctum sanctorum cool in summer and warm in winter.
Mother Periya Nayaki, as her very name suggests, is 9.5 feet tall standing majestically. The Navagrahas the nine planets are made of a single stone on Lotus design peeta. This is other rare individuality of the temple. 
Mothers Saraswathi and Mahalakshmi grace in the temple in a meditation form hence are praised as Gnana Saraswathi and Gnana Lakshmi.  500 pots of milk are used for abishek of Mother Durga during the Panguni festival.
Devotees pray to Mother Durga for wedding, child boons, for promotion in jobs, transfers to a place of choice offering archanas. Realizing their wish, devotees offer 25 meter long dhoti with a 14 ft. garland to Lord and 9 yards Sari to mother.
Special Features  
The shadow of the Kalasa does not fall on the ground. A rare stone, Chandrakanta stone is installed under the Lord having a strange characteristic of playing an air-conditioner during summer and a heater during winter.
Nandhi in the temple is made of lime stone and placed on the ground. The gap between Nandhi and the sanctum sanctorum is 200 meters. The rays of Sun fall on Nandhi each day reflecting on the Lord. The sanctum sanctorum will be very bright with the reflection of sun rays even if all the lights are put off.
Maha Shivrathri in February-March; Aipasi Poornima-full moon day in October-November; Panguni Utsav in March-April and Margazhi Tiruvadhirai in December-January are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 pm.
Rajendra Choliswaram (Sri Bragadeeswarar Temple),
Gangaikonda Chola Puram,
Ariyalur district
Phone: +91 97513 41108
Holidays: None
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 06:30 AM - 08:30 PM
Nearest Railway Station: Kumbakonam (30 Km)
Nearest Town: Kumbakonam (30 Km)
Nearest Airport: Tiruchirapalli (95 Km)
Speciality: UNESCO Heritage Site
Deities: Lord Brihadeeshwara (Lord Shiva)
Period Built: 10 CE
Entry Fee: Entry Free

Parking Fee: Rs. 20/-