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Consecration at the Brihadisvara Temple

  • 06 Feb 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the consecration (Kumbhabhishekam) ceremony was held at the Brihadisvara Temple after 23 years in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.

  • The ceremony was held after the Madras High Court settled an old argument over the ritual.
  • The ceremony got embroiled in the struggle for supremacy between the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions.
  • The court allowed the consecration to be performed in both Tamil and Sanskrit.
  • It argued that there is nothing either in the Agamas (canonical texts) or in any other religious script to prohibit the chanting of Tamil mantras in the temples.

Brihadisvara Temple

  • Brihadeshwara Temple, also known as Raja Rajeswara Temple, is dedicated to Shiva and is located in Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu).
    • Thanjavur lies in the delta of the Cauvery River.
  • It is one of the best examples of the Dravidian style of temple architecture built by Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola I ( 985-1014 AD) between 1003 AD and 1010 AD.
    • The Dravidian style of temple architecture flourished roughly from the 8th century to about the 13-14 century AD.
  • The temple consists of a pyramidal spire and is adorned with sculptures and paintings inside as well as outside.
  • The temple entered the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1987 and is also a part of "Great Living Chola Temples" along with the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholapuram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram.
    • Brihadisvara Temple (Gangaikondacholapuram, Tamil Nadu).
      • It was built for Shiva by Rajendra I (1014-1044 CE).
      • The temple has sculptures of exceptional quality.
      • The bronze sculptures of Bhogasakti and Subrahmanya are masterpieces of Chola metal icons.
    • Airavatesvara Temple (Darasuram)
      • It was built by the Chola king Rajaraja II (1144-1173 CE):
      • It is much smaller in size as compared to the Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur and Gangaikondacholapuram.
      • The temple consists of a sanctum without a circumambulatory path and axial mandapas.
      • The front mandapa is unique as it was conceptualized as a chariot with wheels.
  • Special Features:
    • The temple, which is one of the tallest temples in India, still remains an engineering mystery as it is completely made of granite and archaeologists still don’t know how the builders got such huge pieces of granite for construction at this height.
    • The apex structure on top of the temple is believed to be carved out of a single stone carving.
    • It is so designed that the Vimana does not cast a shadow at noon during any part of the year.
      • Vimana: Vimana is the structure over the garbhagriha or inner sanctum in the Hindu temples of South India and Odisha.
      • It is like a stepped pyramid that rises up geometrically rather than the curving Shikhara of North India.

Source: IE

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