Sri Brahadeeswara Temple is also called as Big Temple or
Thanjai “Periya Koil”. Raja Raja Cholan I [985-1012]
and Big Temple cannot be separated from each other. Hence this was called as
Rajarajeswaram too. This temple was built in 1010 A.D and celebrated
its Millennium year of existence in 2010. It’s Unique Architectural Excellence
prompted UNESCO to declare this temple as World Heritage
Monument in 1987. It is located amidst fortified walls added during
16th century. The beautiful Chola Fresco Paintings on the inner walls are often
matched with those of Ajanta Caves.
The 14 tiered Pyramid Shaped Tower above the sanctum Sanctorum, is 216 feet tall.
This tower is one of the tallest of its kind. Kumbam or Sikaram
a bulbous structure above the tower cut out of one rock weighs 80 tons. This 80
ton Cupola or Sikaram, was rolled up to pinnacle with the help of Elephants, through
an incline , beginning from the Village called Saara
Pallam now called as Vayalur 6 Kms from the temple.
This process is a testimony to the engineering excellence skill of the Chola Architects.
The shadow of the Cupola does not fall on the ground.
The presiding Deity, Lingam is 13 ft. tall with a circumference
of 54 ft, chiseled out of single rock. The Monolithic Nandi [sacred
bull mount] is 12 ½ feet tall, 8 feet long, 5 ft wide and weighs 25 tons. This
Nandi is installed outside, in front of the sanctum Sanctorum.
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