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Brihadeeswara Temple Murals, Tanjore

It will not be incorrect if one describes Tamil Nadu, India the Southern Indian state as the land of temples. Many temples with exquisite carvings and sculptures and a glorious history survive even now, embodying the grand old Dravidian style of architecture.

Tanjore or Thanjavur, otherwise called the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu, is also home to many temples, which stand out in architectural beauty and grandeur. Prominent of them is Brihadeeswara temple, built in the 11th century by the Chola ruler Raja Raja Chola I.

Popularly known as Peruvudiayaar temple, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Peruvudiayaar or Brihadeeswar. It is believed that the temple took almost twelve years to complete.

The central temple stands within a fort, along with a moat. The central attraction of the temple is the fourteen storied vimana (the small pyramidal tower consisting of several progressively smaller stories, which is typical of the south Indian temple architecture) which is 216 feet high. The main sanctum of the temple is a Mahalingam (embodiment of Lord Shiva), which is 23 feet in circumference and 9 feet high.

The 12 feet high monolithic image of Nandi, the ox vehicle of Lord Shiva is another attraction of the temple. The stories of the vimana, the pillars and the walls are full of intricate carvings and sculptures.

In the video, stone relieves and murals which depict Lord Shiva are seen. The murals here are one of the most remarkable ones of the whole country.