Thanjavur / 1
Thanjavur- City of Temples. A whole city of rich culture. City of splendor of the arts. Its attraction was there for many years. The Bhosala dynasty of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ruled this city for many years, so it was there, but more than that, it was the capital of the Chola kings and the city of temples. After many years, this week came the Yoga or Chance of Thanjavur Darshan.
The history of India is incomplete without the Chola dynasty. For hundreds of years these mighty Chola kings ruled over large parts of India. During this, he ran his administration keeping Indian culture at the center. He did everything that could be done for the upliftment of Hindu religion. With all this brought immense wealth, prosperity and order. Raised the standard of common citizen. During the reign of the Chola kings we were at the peak of glory.King Karikalan of the early Chola dynasty built a dam on the Kaveri river near Trichy. This dam of the first century is still working today. And this is not just a dam, so it is a creation to divide water. Two thousand years ago, such water management can be done by anyone, it is beyond imagination. (I will write about this independently).
Due to the effective water management of the early Chola kings, this entire area remained Sujalam-Sufalam. (still are today!). The center of ancient Indian culture used to be ‘temples’. There were not only religious functions, then that temple was also the center of education, dance, singing, art, justice etc. The Chola kings, along with their predecessors and contemporary dynasties like Pallava, Pandyan, Hoysala, Vakataka, Kadamba, built many temples in this prosperous region.
The famous Chola king, Rajaraja (I), built some major temples in his capital Thanjavur, the ‘Brihadeshwara Temple’ being the main one. The 13-storey vimana (the upper part of the ancient temples is called ‘vimana’) is 66 meters in height (roughly equivalent to a twenty-storey building). The stupa placed on top of the plane weighs 80 tons and is made of a single stone. A golden vase has been placed on this octagonal stupa. This magnificent temple is probably the world’s first temple made entirely of granite.
To build this temple, it is estimated that 1 lakh 30 thousand tons of granite stones were used. These stones are not found in the vicinity of the temple. Carrying these stones from a distance, carving them to perfection, attaching them by ‘self-locking’ method without any material. This joint is also so strong that even after being hit by the weather for a thousand years, the temple is the same. impenetrable. And to complete all this construction in just seven years (year 1003 to 1010). These are absurd. just amazing..!
One thing about this temple, which does not come to the fore, is the identity established by nature in its construction. Thousand years ago today, Rajaraja Chola, while tying this temple, has brought ‘Water Harvesting’ directly. There is a system of freezing rain water in its stupa. This water is carried down. Through underground tunnels below it is deposited in four ponds constructed in the four directions of Thanjavur.
The idea behind this is that the water coming out of the hair of Lord Brihadeshwar, that is, Shankar ji, should be useful to the people in the form of Ganga. And the composition of Vastu is such that the shadow of its dome does not fall on the ground. There is one more interesting thing – the pillars in its gopuram are made of two stones. But they don’t need any basis. They can easily bear such a heavy load (self-sustained).
Later, after many years, during the British rule, a plan was made for the maintenance of the outer gate. The British tried to make the outside door the same as the inside. But he had to support those pillars (pictures are given together). And we will still say, ‘The architecture of the British is better than us’..!
The temple has been built by Rajaraja with special interest, so naturally every effort has been made to make it beautiful with carvings. Many sculptures, delicate artwork, amazing symmetry… The statue of Nandi in front of the temple is also made in the same stone, which is 6 meters long, 2.6 meters wide and 3.7 meters high. Self Brihadeshwar, that is, the Pindi of Lord Shankar is also in the largest size.
Visiting this temple was an experience in itself. It is surprising to think that thousand years ago, how rich and mature culture lived here.
- Prashant Pol