Great living Chola temples are built by the great kings of Chola Dynasty , who had stretched their kingdom in South India , and the neighbouring places during 9th to 13th centuries. There are three such temples and they are housed in Tamil Nadu. These three temple are also UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Brihadeeswarar temple, also known as Big Temple, is housed in Thanjavur. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva , built by RajaRaja Chola I and this temple completed in 1010 AD . This great temple turned 1000 years old in 2010, which was celebrated with great pomp and show. This temple showcases the form of Dravida style of architecture in temples. It testifies to Chola’s brilliant achievements in architecture, painting, bronze casting and sculpture. More about Brihadeeswarar Temple....
Gangai Konda Cholesvaram temple at Gangai Konda Chola puram, was built by his son Rajendra Chola during 1020-1029 AD. The architecture of this temple is superb, with a 9 storey vimanam. Brihadeeswarar temple at Thajavur has a straight outline, whereas the temple here is a concave one and is divided into eight zones. This temple is considered as the female equivalent of the Big temple. This temple was added to the list of great living Chola temples only in the year 2004. More about Gangai Konda Cholesvaram temple...
The third temple is Airavadeswara temple housed in Darasuram near Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this magnificent temple was built in 1160 by King RajaRaja Chola II which took two decades to complete. Airavateswara temple is also known for its architectural and sculptural marvel. When compared to the other two temples above this is smaller in size. A number of sculptures from this temple are preserved in Thanjavur Art Gallery. More about Airavadeeswara Temple..
Though these three temples are so ancient , daily pujas are still done in these temples and hence they are called as living temples.
Travel Tips to visit these temples - It is better to visit these temples in the early morning by 8.30 or 9 a.m, to avoid the heat to walk around.
Entry Fee - The entry fee is free on all these temples.
The temples will be closed between 12 noon to 4 pm. However, visitors can see the temple architecture from outside.
These temples are must visit places to enjoy the astounding architecture of the bygone era.
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