Bharat Virasat-Brihadeeswara Temple, Gangaikonda

Brihadeeswara Temple, Gangaikonda

Place of Worship. Hindu


The Brihadisvara Temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram is dedicated to Shiva It was completed in 1035 AD by Rajendra Chola I as a part of his new capital. It is similar in design, and has a similar name, as the Brihadeeswarar Temple about 70 kilometres to the southwest in Thanjavur. Both are among the largest Shiva temples in South India and examples of Dravidian style temples. The main temple dedicated to Shiva is based on a square plan, but it displays other Hindu deities such as Vishnu, Durga, Surya, Harihara, and Ardhanarishvara. The Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple remains an active temple, but the rest of old city of Gangaikonda Cholapuram has been completely destroyed, leaving a desolate place.

The temple complex is centrally aligned with the gopuram, Nandi-mandapa, Maha-mandapa, Artha-mandapa, and the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum). The temple stands at a height of 54.8 meters. The vimana (spire) has nine receding tiers, topped by a shikhara and stupi over a two-tiered sandhara prasada (double walled structure) standing on a high terrace. There are three sub-shrines - Chandesa, Amman, and Simhakeni - which were built as per the original plan of Rajendra I. The temple walls are decorated with Shiva in different forms of anugraha such as Vishnuanugrahamurthi, Ravananugrahamurthi, Markandeyanugrahamurthi, and Chandesanugrahamurthi.

The sculptures of Lakshmi and Saraswati, a dancing Ganesha, and Chandesanugrahamurthi found here are considered to be masterpieces of Chola Art.

A giant Nandi statue, about 4 meters in height, stands vigil at the entrance of the temple.

Constructed in:

11th century CE


54.8 m

Local Language(s):



All individuals


Time required

2 hours