Great Living Chola Temples in Tamil Nadu

The group of temples that were built under the reign of Chola empire during 11th and `12th century are generally referred to as the great living Chola temples. These temples are not just limited to one place and are built all over south India and on many islands too. The Great Living Chola Temples includes three major temples and these are the Brihadisvara Temple present at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple in Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara temple present located in Darasuram.
Chola Temple Tanjavur
In the eyes of many historians the Cholas are considered to be the second greatest dynasty of Tamil Nadu. The ancient Dravidian culture, with its home in the Tamil Country, is said to be one of the most important and influential elements of south-east Asia. The most important ruler of the Chola dynasty is Rajarja who is also considered to be the true founder of the great dynasty of Cholas.
Kambahareswara Chola Temple
The Airavatesvara temple, which is at Darasuram, was built by the great Chola ruler Rajaraja II. Its most splendid feature is the famous stone image of Shiva and the 24 m high vimana. The Brihadisvara temple present at Gangaikondacholisvaram owes its construction to Rajendra I. Its construction ended in the year of 1035. The vimana or the tower present over here is about 52 m high and has concave corners. While the towers at Brihadisvara temple of Thanjavur are straight unlike the towers of the temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram which have a curved upward structure. The Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur was declared a World Heritage Site in the year of 1987 but the temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara temple at Darasuram were declared a world heritage site in the year of 2004. The Great Living Chola Temples are a testimony to the splendiferous and glorious levels of sculpture, painting and bronze casting that the Cholas had mastered.

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