The Brhadeewara Temple, Thanjavur ,Tamil Nadu is a UNESCO World Heritage Monument.
It was completed by the year 1010 AD by Raja Raja Chozhan I, the great Chozha King.
An engineering marvel, it is built with sandstone and Granite in an area where no mountains exist!
This temple has withstood six powerful earthquakes.
It’s one of the most amazing buildings in India. It’s 10 times taller than anything built before it, and not only is it huge, but it’s made of granite, one of the hardest stones in the world.
Due to the temples’ size, the U.S. Senate, Versailles, the Houses of Parliament, and St. Paul’s Basilica in Rome could all fit within a single Prakara.
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It was completed in Five Years, 1005-1010 AD!
The standard measures used in construction come from the ancient Vastu shastras which measures 1 3/8-inch and is used even today. Other units of measure include hasta, muzam, or kishku with 24 units equalling to 33 inches. Similar measurementprinciples are observed in the ancient structures of Indus valley Civilisation some 4000-6000 years ago. Though different units of measurements are used in modern construction, the base comes from Vastu Shastras, given its ancient value.
This temple has the unique record of being constructed with granite stones andcompleting within short span of five years (beginning from 1004 AD). The temple rests on a solid base of 16 feet (about 5 metres in height). The deities made of stone are placed on this along with other idols of Shiva dance. The Kalasam, the top most portion of the shrine weighs very heavily approximately 81 tonnes of single stone block. Apparently, lack of machines in those times, this stone was believed to have been dragged using an inclined plane having length of 6.44 km. The Nandi and presiding deity Lingam weighs about 20 tonnes and height of 3.7 metres respectively. There is not much place in the prakarana area and measures approximately 125m by 240 m. The exterior wall isdecorated with 81 carvings of various postures of Bharatanatyam, a classical dance belonging to Tamil Nadu State.
It is also famous as Raja Rajeswara Temple and Peruvudaiyaar Temple amongst the people. It is so wide and so large that one has to take rest while visiting the temple and seeing its lovely ancient carving on the gigantic walls. The tower of the temple (Vimana) is of 216 feet high. It is the tallest temple in the world. The weight of the Kalasha (kumbam) on the temple is of 80 tones.
The marvelous statue of Nandi (sacred bull) on the entrance of the temple mesmerizes the tourists as it is 16 feet long and 13 feet high. Brihadeeswarar temple was built applying the knowledge of ancient construction called Vastu Shastra. Its geographicalcoordinates are 10-46’50”N 79-08’30”E.
How It was built, logistics.
The quarry that supplied the granite was over 50 miles away from the temple site. Most of the stones were moved with boats, but some much heavier stones, like the 81.3-ton capstone at the summit of the tower, were moved with a combination of ramps and elephants. The remains of the original ramps still exist today after a thousand years, indicating a gentle 6-degree slope pointing toward the top of the temple. The ramp began 1 mile from the temple, and gradually intersected with the top of the tower 216 feet in the air. Stones were moved from the quarry to the ramp, and up the ramp, with elephants pulling the stones over wooden rollers, much the same as the way ancient Egyptians built the pyramids.
Height 60 Meters.
Area of the temple-80 acres.
Weight of Stone at the Apex of the Building 80 Tons.
Size of the nandi, Bull 16 feet by 13 feet.
Has a Moat surrounding the temple.
The sanctum has pyramid shape inside and covered with Flooring.
The Shiva Linga is 16 feet.( 5 feet under the ground),single stone.
4,000 cows, 7,000 goats, and 30 buffalos to supply the butter required for the lamps were granted by Raja Raja to the temple.
Raja Raja appointed 192 administrative staff.
400 veli or about 2500acres were given as a Gift to the temple.
- 1 Veļi = 7 kāni = 6.43 acres = 2.6 hectares ( 1 Veli = 20 Ma = 5 kani only not 7 kani)
How To Reach.
Railway Station/Bus stand-Thanjavur,Tiruchi.
Bus service is available to Thanjavur from all the major cities like Trichy, Chennai, Kumbakonam, Pudukkottai, Pattukkottai, Tirunelveli, Karur, Nagapattinam, Coimbatore, Erode and many other cities in the state. Trains run from many cities across India including Chennai, Trichy, Coimbatore, Erode, Tirunelveli, Madurai and Nagore. The train station is Thanjavur Junction. Tiruchirapalli Airport is the nearest airport, located 65 km away.