Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar Temple Details



Main Deity : Biragatheeshvarar, Peruvudaiyar.

Ambal : Periyanayagi,Varagiamman.

Holy Water : Sivagangai, Siva Agazhi.

Temple Tree : Vanni Tree.

Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple History

The Big Temple of Tanjavore is a stunning monument that speaks oodles about the  architectural mastery of the Chola era.  This 212 ft (64.8 meter) towering Shiva temple is home to  one of the largest Shiva Lingas of the country.  A majestic Nandhi (bull), measuring a gigantic 19.4 ‘ x 8.23’ x 12’ (5.94 x 2.51 x 3.66 in meters) stands guard over the temple.  This is the second largest  Nandhi in India and is carved out of a single stone.  Everything about this temple is big, majestic.  No wonder it is referred  as The Big Temple.

The Big Temple was constructed by Raja Raja Chola I, the greatest king of the Chola dynasty between  AD 985 and 1014.  The Chola dynasty were Shaivites.  Vijayalaya Chola who envisioned "The Chola  Empire"  ruled around AD 850.  Raja Raja Chola I was the greatest warrior and administrator in the Chola dynasty.  King Raja Raja Cholan was the most successfull in expanding their empire.  The Big Temple  was an expression of the success of Raja Raja Chola's empire.  This temple is also called as  Brahadeeswara Temple or Peruvudaiyar Kovil or Rajarajeswaram.  The temple is part of the UNESCO  World Heritage site known as the "Great Living Chola Temples”.

King Raja Raja Cholan had the main temple built completely with granite.  It is hard to imagine how, in  that age, more than 130,000 tones of granite was brought to the temple site, especially given that  there is no granite quarry within a hundred kilometers of the temple site.  Another stunning  architectural feat is the Vimana / Shikhara - the spire atop the temple.  The beautiful lotus shaped stone of  the Big Temple weighs a stunning 80 tons.  We can but marvel at the engineering mastermind who  managed to hoist an 80 ton carved rock up a 212 feet tower back in the 11th century.

The chief architect of the temple was Kunjara Mallan Raja Raja Perunthachan.  The layout of the  temple is based on the principles of Vastu Shastra, the ancient Hindus science of architecture and  construction and Agamas, the ancient scripts that define principles behind temple construction.  The  central temple site is surrounded by a rectangular boundary 885 ‘ x 450 ‘ (270 m by 140 m).  The  temple boundary holds many sub shrines besides the main temple and the Nandi. 

The niches on three sides of the temple hold images of Shiva, Vishnu and Durga.  The southern wall  has sculptures of Ganesha, Vishnu with his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi, Lakshmi, a pair of  Dvarapalas, Vishnu anugraha murti, Bhikshatana, Virabhadra, Dakshinamurti, Kalanta and Nataraja.   On the west side there are images of Harihara, Ardhanarishvara, a pair of dvarapalas and two  Chandrasekharas, one with and the other without halo.  On the north, in the lower series, the  depiction of Adhanarisvara, Gangadhara, a pair of dvarapalas, Virabhadra (with a sword and a shield),  Alingana Chandrasekhara, Siva holding a Sula (spear), a pair of dvarapalas, Sarasvati,  Mahishasuramardini and Bhairava.  The north series shows a number of Tripurantakas repeated in  each niche.  In the small circular space of the top niches are present the carvings of Ganesha,  Vrishabavahana, Bhikshatana, Narasimha and Varaha.

Besides these, each wall of the temple and the surrounding architecture are filled to the brim with  carvings and paintings depicting the rich history of art, culture, mythology and science of the era.

Poets who sang its praise : Karuvoorar.

Brihadeeswarar Temple Timings

6.00 a.m. – 12.30 Noon, 4.00 p.m. – 8.30 p.m.

Temple Festivals : chitharai madham – pramorsavam – 18 days festival – on the day of sathaya  natchathiram people raises the flag and During chithirai nathathiram theerthavari takes place.

Aipasi – Raja raja cholan birth day function - Grand function takes place during sathya natchathiram.  On that day festival happens continueously,from morning 9.00 AM to 3.00 PM.on that day swamy  roaring takes place.

During aipasi month god decoration happens with full of foods,it will take place as a grand function

Special poojas will be contected During the days of Thiruvathirai,aadipuram,karthigai

Every pradhosha days the number of people come to temple is very huge in number

Special function takes place at the time of Deevali ,Pongal ,and New year

Nearest Town : Tanjore.

Temple Address : Piragatheeshvarar Temple(Tanjore Big Temple),

Tanjore – 613 001.

Telephone No : +91-4362- 274476

Hotels Near Brihadeeswarar Temple

1. Sangam Hotel, Thanjavur

Trichy Road, Thanjavur – 613007

Tel : 91-4362-239451

Fax: 91-4362-236695


2. Hotel Parisutham

55 G.A. Canal Road, Thanjavur 613 001, India


Tel : 04362 231 801.


3. Hotel Gnanam

Anna Salai ( Market Road)


Thanjavur 613 001.

Phone : 04362- 278501-507.

Fax : 04362 235536.


4. Hotel Balaji Inn

Baskara puram,

New Bus Stand,

Thanjavur-613 005.

Phone Number : 04362-226949/227949.


5. Star Residency 

Hotel Temple Tower) 20/1 A S.M Road,


Next to Ramanathan hospital Bus Stop,

Tanjore - 613 007.

Tel : +91 - 4362- 276333 / 34 / 37.

Fax: +91 - 4362-276336.


Restaurant Near Tanjore Big Temple( Biragatheeshvarar Temple ) :

1. Hotel Ramnath,

No 1335, Thanjavur Ho, Thanjavur -

613 001, South Rampart Old Bus Stand

Ph: +(91)-4362-272567, +(91)-9362610901.


2. Sri Lakshmi Narayana Bhavan,

No 133, Big Street, Thanjavur HO,

Thanjavur - 613 001, Pattukottai

Ph : +(91)-4362-252358.


3. Karthik Restaurant

No 1334, Thanjavur HO, Thanjavur - 613 001, South Rampart Inside Karthick Hotel

Ph:+(91)-4362-278662, 278663, 278322.


4. Hotel Coffee Palace AC

No 1465, Tanjore, Thanjavur - 613 001, 

South Rampart, 

Ph: +(91)-4362-231358.


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