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    Chola temples cover

    The Chola rulers were great builders and during their reign, the most magnificent temples were built in South India. This remarkable dynasty ruled for nearly 1500 years and under their rule temples became the centre of importance. Many official ceremonies were held in the Chola temples and it became the hub of political, economic and cultural activities. The Chola temple architecture represents an outstanding creative achievement of the pure form of the Dravida type of female which are now known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for a group of Chola dynasty in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu.

    3 Great Living Chola Temples

    The Great Living Chola Temples are situated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu which were built during the Chola rule. The Chola rulers were not only mighty conquerors but also innovative builders. Their style of architecture involves the use of granite to create design consisting of deities, warriors, kings and dancers. The Dravidian structures reflect the property of the Chola Empire. Below is the list of Great Living Chola Temples with their names.

    • Brihadisvara Temple At Thanjavur
    • The Temple Of Gangaikonda Cholapuram
    • The Airavatesvara Temple At Darasuram
    • Vijayala-Cholesvaram
    • Ayikudi Balasubramanya Swami Temple
    • Nageswaraswamy Temple
    • Moovar Koil
    • Koranganatha
    • Valisvara Temple
    • Kampaheswarar Temple

    1.Brihadisvara Temple At Thanjavur

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    One of the famous Chola dynasty temples, it was built during the reign of Chola king Raja Raja and designed by the famous architect Sama Varma between 1003 and 1010 AD. The Brihadisvara Temple houses a 3.7-meter tall linga of Lord Shiva and the tallest vimanam in the world. The great designs of the gopurams in the temple are decorated with sculptural depictions of various Hindu gods and goddesses. The simplicity of the design of the temple has provided inspiration for other buildings not only in South India but also in South – East Asia.

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    2.The Temple Of Gangaikonda Cholapuram

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    Built by the Chola Emperor Rajendra I, the Temple of Gangaikonda Cholapuram is described as the feminine counterpart of the Thanjavur temple. The centre of administration and development was chosen as the Gangaikonda Choleswarar Temple in the Chola Empire. The temple houses a 4 meter high Shiva lingam. This lingam is tallest among the other Chola temples.

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    3.The Airavatesvara Temple At Darasuram

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    Smaller than the other Great Living Chola Temples, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva that acts as the epitome of Chola temples architecture. It was built by Rajaraja II and the vimana of the temple is 24-metres high. According to the legends, the heavenly elephant Airavat worshipped the deity here. The unique temple design is recognized as nitya-vinoda, ‘ perpetual entertainment in mind’.

    7 Other Chola Temples In Tamil Nadu

    The principal deity of the Chola temples are Lord shiva and most of the temples were carved in the temple walls. Read below to learn more about the temples built by Cholas with information.


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    One of the intriguing Chola kingdom temples, Vijayala-Cholesvaram in Narthamalai is one of the oldest stone temples in South India. It is a temple dedicated to Hindu God Shiva. Constructed in the Dravida style and rock-cut architecture, the temple is believed to have been built during the 9th century by Muttaraiyar kings, the cardinals of Pallavas, with later expansion from the Cholas. The rock-cut architecture is an early example of Cholan art continuing the tradition of the Pallavas.

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    5.Ayikudi Balasubramanya Swami Temple

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    Located in Thenkasi Taluk, in Thrunelveli District of Tamil Nadu, near Kutralam is Ariyar kudi or Arya Kuti – ‘the abode of noble people’, popularly known as Ayikudi, is this beautiful temple for Young Bala Muruga Peruman. The main deity in this temple is a beautiful small mulavar murthy of Balasubramanya Swamy, also popularly known as Rama Subramanya Swamy.

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    6.Nageswaraswamy Temple

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    Nageswaraswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. Shiva in the guise of Lord Nagaraja is located in the centre of Kumbakonam. The temple has a holy water tank known as Surya Theertham. It also has colourful gopuram and huge idols with beautiful carvings and scripts.

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    7.Moovar Koil

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    Situated in the village of Kodumbalur, 36 kilometres from Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu, Moovar Koil or “The three temples” is a Hindu temple complex. These temples were constructed by a 10th century Chola general Boothi Vikramakesari. Only two of the three temples have managed to survive. Kodumbalur was also the site of a fierce battle between the Pandyas and Pallavas.

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    Constructed by the Medieval Cholas, Koranganatha temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located at Srinivasanallur Town in Trichy District of Tamilnadu. This temple is not a functioning Hindu temple and is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. It is a temple of modest proportions and has a simple design.

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    9.Valisvara Temple

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    Valisvara temple is a Hindu temple located in the town of Thiruvalisvaram in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. The temple is dedicated to Shiva where he is depicted in sukhasana pose. It was constructed by the Cholas in the early part of the 10th century AD and is considered to be one of the best examples of Chola architecture.

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    10.Kampaheswarar Temple

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    Situated in the town of Thirubuvanam on the Kumbakonam road, the Kampaheswarar temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the God Shiva. The temple follows the Tamilian style of architecture. An unusual feature of the temple is that the vimana is extremely high, unlike other Dravidian-style South Indian temples.

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    The Chola periods are regarded as one of the most creative and formative periods of Tamil culture. Chola temples were built almost entirely of stone and hard granite laid in horizontal courses with no mortar. Book your holiday to Tamil Nadu to enhance the general knowledge of the Chola period.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Chola Temples

    Q. What are the main features of Chola Temples?

    A. There were many important features of Chola temples such as gopuram- the gateway, vimana- the tower, garbagriha, mandapa, and shikhara.

    Q. What was the role of temples during Chola kingdoms?

    A. The grand design, beauty, and magnificence of the temples simply added to the architectural splendor of the Chola capital.

    Q. Why Brihadeshwara Temple is so famous?

    A. Brihadeshwara Temple is one of the biggest temples that have been dedicated to Lord Shiva. The supreme brilliance of Indian architecture that is showcased by the temple has gained Brihadeshwara temple a lot of popularity amongst the locals and travelers alike.

    Q. Why were temples important in the Chola dynasty?

    A. The temples in Chola dynasty held significance amongst the temples acted as a portrait of the efficiency of the dynasty in architecture and religious beliefs.

    Q. Who was the most powerful Chola ruler?

    A. Rajaraja was the most powerful ruler of the Chola dynasty.

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    Category: Tamil Nadu, Temples

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