Brihadeeswarar Temple

Brihadishvara Temple – Timings, Significance, and History

Brihadishvara Temple, Thanjavur is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located on the banks of the river Cauvery(Kaveri) and has a rich historical heritage. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful architectural places in the sub-continent.

Brihadishvara Temple is also called Rajarajesvaram or Peruvudaiyār Kōvil.

Brihadishvara Temple is also a testimony to the achievements and the progress that the Chola dynasty had achieved during that time. The temple has a Tamil architecture and it reflects the power of the King Raja Raja Chola I who had built it during the 1010 A.D.

King Raja Raja Chola I built the temple during the 1010 A.D.

Brihadishvara Temple – Facts

Deity Lord Shiva
Location Thanjavur, Chennai.
Darshan Timings 6:00 AM–12:30 PM
4:00 PM–8:30 PM
Entry Fees Special darshan tickets for Rs 5/- on Sundays for a quicker visit.
Dress Code Traditional Wear
Festivals Maha Shivaratri, Arudra Darshanam, Kumbabhishekam.

The major reason for the construction of the temple refers to the fact that it can be used for royal celebrations and to exhibit the king’s vision. The minute details and the intricacy that has gone into forming this temple speak volumes about the Dravidian style.

And interestingly, the auspicious shrine has been built following the rules of axial and symmetrical geometry. The engineering part is so accurate that all the components of this holy place are aligned axially.

Brihadishvara Temple Timings

Here’re the timings of Brihadishvara Temple:

Morning6 AM12:30 PM
Evening4 PM9 PM

There are special darshan tickets for Rs 5 each that can be purchased during Sundays for a quicker visit. The temple becomes extremely crowded during Sundays.

Poojas and Rituals at  Brihadishvara Temple

  • The deity is worshiped four times a day. Following are the timings of the poojas:-
Kala Sandhi or Morning Pooja 8:30 A.M.
Utchi Kalam or the mid-noon Pooja 12 P.M.
Sayaratchai or evening Pooja 5:30 P.M.
Artha Jamam or night Pooja 8:30 P.M.
  • Each of the pooja or rituals consists of three steps namely, ‘Alangaram’(decoration), ‘Neivethanam’ (food offering) and ‘Deepa Aradanai’ (waving of lamps).
  • There are many weekly, monthly and fortnightly poojas that are observed in this temple.
  • The pooja timings are subjected to alter during festivals.

What is the significance of the Brihadishvara Temple?

The significance of the temple:-

  • Brihadishvara Temple has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the list of ‘Great Living Chola Temples’.
  • An approximate of 130,000 tons of granite was used in the formation of this temple.
  • The holy shrine has a temple tower (vimana) which is built at a height of 216 feet. Being the tallest in the world, it symbolizes Mount Peru. ‘Gopuras’ or the two gateways are located at the eastern entrance of the temple.
  • The temple’s entrance has a large statue of Nandi (sacred bull) that measures about 16 feet in length and 13 feet in height. The statue has been carved out of a single stone.
  • Kumbam’ is the topmost component of the holy shrine and weighs about 60 tons. It has been also carved out from single granite stone.
  • A huge idol of Lord Shiva with three eyes is present inside the temple along with the 108 dance forms or ‘karmas‘.
  • The exterior part on the other end is decorated with sculptures. There are 250 lingams in the entire temple compound.
  • This famous sanctuary is made up of a pillared hall and an assembly hall which is known as mandapas and many sub-shrines.
    • The inner part of the mandapas is highly significant and is divided into various categories with the help of sculptures and pilasters.
  • Being one of the rarest temples in India, the idols of ‘Ashta-Dikpaalakas’ or guardians of directions can be found here. The six feet effigies of Agni, Varuna, Indra, Yama, Isana, Kubera and Nirriti are placed in a separate temple.
  • Being a masterpiece in itself, the shadow of the tower over the gateway of the shrine never falls on the ground, more significantly in the premises of the temple.
  • The altar situated at the entrance of this holy shrine has two idols of Lord Ganesha. When a person taps on any one of the idols, a sound occurs that travels towards the other idol slanting through the stone at one end and the metal to another.
significance 1
The entrance of this holy shrine has two idols of Lord Ganesha.
  • There are many pillars of the temple that produce such musical sounds.
  • In order to mark the 1000th year anniversary of the Brihadishvara Temple, the state government of Tamil Nadu organized Bharathanatyam Yajna, a classical dance show under Padma Subramanian, a noted dancer.
significance 2
Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, an Indian Classical Bharata Natayam Dancer.

What are the of the legends of Brihadishvara Temple?

The legends of Brihadishvara Temple are:-

  • A popular legend about this temple refers to the Cholas who received help from a yogi named Karuvayur. This yogi had the idea of building a powerful energy center in a temple.
    • However, owing to some disagreements over certain aspects of the temple, the Cholas abandoned the yogi and faced with a predicament of the big linga of Shiva not fitting into the Peetha.
    • It is then that the Cholas asked the yogi for help. Karuvayur spat in his spittoon and asked them to keep it inside the Peetha so that the linga fits.
    • Although it fitted Peetha yet it became cursed forever which sent the dynasty to ruins.

What is the history of the Brihadishvara Temple?

The history of the temple states that:-

  • BrihadishvaraTemple or ‘Big Temple’ is located at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. It was designed by Sama Varma.
  • The deity was initially named as ‘Rajarajeshwar’. It was the Marathas who gave it the name Brihadeeshwara or the Great Ishwara.
  • This holy shrine had been constructed to add charm to the throne of the Chola dynasty by the Tamil emperor Arulmozhivarman or Raja Raja Chola I in fulfillment to a command made to him in a dream.
  • It is on the 275th day of his 25th regal year did the King handed over a gold-plated Kalasam to mark the final sanctification of crowning the vimana.
  • A large number of artists, musicians, and merchants visited this holy shrine. Additionally, it also served as a major platform for the dancers who practiced Bharatha Natyam dance form.
  • The temple displays the emperor’s vision of power and his relationship to the universal order. The King was linked to its deity Shiva and the normal rituals of the deities were echoed by the king.
  • The sheer brilliance of this place of worship points to the perfection that the Cholas had with regard to the sculpture, painting and bronze casting of the idols.

Brihadishvara Temple Food Timings

  • After the mid-noon ritual, devotees are offered prasad.
  • Pilgrims can present their offerings to the deity during the pooja timings.

Festivals celebrated at Brihadishvara Temple:-

Festivals celebrated at the temple are:-

  • Arudra Darshanam– Arudra Darshanam is one of the biggest festivals that is observed in this temple. The holy shrine is a Chidambaram temple or a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The festival is meant to celebrate the cosmic dance of Shiva.
  • Maha Shivaratri– Maha Shivaratri is an annual festival that is celebrated with great enthusiasm during the month of February-March.
  • Kumbabhishekam– Kumbabhishekam refers to a yearly festival when the dome and the gopuram are bathed with the sanctified divine waters. While Kumba denotes the Vimana or the Shikhara of the temple, Abhishekam is a ritual of bathing.
    • According to the Hindu calendar, in the month of Visaka, an annual celebration is celebrated in this holy shrine for nine days. During this auspicious occasion, pilgrims bath their deity with fragrance soaked water of Champaka flowers.
Maha Shivaratri and Arudra Darshanam are the festivals celebrated at the temple.

How to Reach the Brihadishvara Temple?

  • Air– The nearest airport is situated at Trichy(65KM).
  • Train– It is one of the easiest and convenient ways to reach Thanjavur. As the city has its own railway station, it is well connected with other major cities in India.
  • Road– Traveling to Thanjavur is also a good alternative. It is linked with all the towns of Tamil Nadu along with Ernakulum, Kochi, and Thiruvananthapuram. Even Bangalore has proper connectivity with Thanjavur.

Where to stay near the Brihadishvara Temple?

Some of the places where one can stay near the temple are:-

  • Thanjavur is one of the district headquarters of Tamil Nadu is located at 322 km away from Chennai.
    • There are various hotels in and around Thanjavur for tourists of all ages. So, if you are traveling on a modest budget, there are retiring rooms available at the Thanjavur railway station.
  • Apart from that, there are many luxurious hotels with all the modern amenities including private restaurants as well. Devotees can choose their preferences and accordingly can book their rooms in advance.

Where to eat near the Brihadishvara Temple?

  • Food lovers can prepare themselves for scrumptious lunch with the traditional South Indian food. From spicy curries to sambhar, rasam, and curd, there are a lot of options to choose from the dishes served there.
  • For people who love non-vegetarian food, there are many Chinese and Mughlai restaurants as well.
  • Tourists generally love gorging on the baked fishes and lassi before they leave Thanjavur. The food joints are moderately priced located at major tourist points.

What are some temples near the Brihadishvara Temple?

Some of the temples nearby are:

  • Thiruvayaru Temple– This holy shrine was built at the place where Thyagaraja, the famous saint resided. He is believed to attain Samadhi at this location. A music festival is organized every year in the month of January, to celebrate the life of this great saint composer. It is located at a distance of 13 km from the main city.
  • Darasuram Airavatesvar Temple– Darasuram is a small town, 8 km away from Kumbakonam is famous for the Airavatheswar Temple. The temple was built by Raja Raja Chola II. It is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Great Living Chola Temples’.
  • Kumbakonam– It takes around 42 km to reach this beautiful temple city of Kumbakonam. The city is famous for the Sarangapani temple which was built by the Nayak kings. The Ramaswamy temple depicts the paintings of Ramayana and is the only shrine where Lord Hanuman is playing a veena instead of reading the Ramayana.
  • Punnai Nallur Mariamman Temple- This sacred destination is only 6.5 km from the Thanjavur town. It is located in Punnai Nallur village. The temple was built by the Maratha rulers of Thanjavur.
  • Thirukandiyur– Being located at a distance of 10 km, it has temples of Brahmasirekandeswarar and Harshavimochana Perumal.
  • Swamimalai– It is referred to as one of the six Abodes that are dedicated to Lord Subramanya.
  • Darasuram – The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was built by Rajendra Chola.
Nearby Temples

Frequently Asked Questions about the Brihadishvara Temple-

How much time is required to explore the temple fully?

One hour is required to explore the temple fully.

What are the timings of the temple?

6:00 AM–12:30 PM, 4:00 PM–8:30 PM are the timings of the temple.

Is photography allowed inside the temple?

Yes, photography is allowed inside the temple.

When was Brihadishvara Temple built?

Brihadishvara Temple built in 1,009 c. 1010 .

Who constructed Brihadishvara Temple?

Raja Raja Chola constructed Brihadishvara Temple.

Why Brihadishvara Temple Temple is so famous?

Brihadishvara Temple has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the list of ‘Great Living Chola Temples’.

If you have any questions about the Brihadishvara Temple, please leave a comment below, and we will get back to you within one hour.

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