Thanjavur paintings, Brihadeeswara temple

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Shown in the video are ancient mural paintings in the Brihadeeswara temple of Thanjavur (Tanjore). The temple built by Emperor Rajaraja (985-1012) is a testimonial to the greatness of the Chola Empire and the splendour of arts and crafts of the time.

Though originally, paintings adorned the entire wall-space of the temple, it was obscured by a coat of painting believed to have done during the Nayaka rule in the 17th century. A distinct feature of the paintings here, apart from the soft, subdued colours and clear drawings, is the variety of subjects chosen like that of a woman engaged in cooking.

A huge painting of Tripurantaka Siva on a chariot driven by Lord Brahma spread over the entire northern wall is often hailed as the masterpiece of sorts among the paintings. In this, Lord Siva is portrayed in the ‘alidha’ pose as a mighty warrior with eight arms carrying weapons. The Lord is accompanied by Karthikeya on peacock, Ganesa on mouse, Kali on lion and Nandi in front of the chariot. This piece of art is noted for the brilliant portrayal of the expressions of power and grandeur.

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