Gangaikondacholapuram Temple

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2016

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We reached at about 5 pm ish. Skies were overcast, was hoping to get temple pics against the setting sun but Ishwar decided hasve to come again for that. The temple is modelled on the Brihadesvara Mandir Thanjavur. U see temple entrance.

Temple built by Rajendra Chola the Great in 1025 a.d. after his victorious march to river Ganga in North India. Has height of 182 feet and is often described as the feminine counterpart of the Tanjore temple. It is an engineering marvel as the shadow of the main granite tower (Srivimana) never falls on the ground throughout the year. The victorious Chola armies brought back water from the Ganges in golden vessels to consecrate the new found land.

Close up of temple. Centre is Nandi. Gangai Konda Chola Puram was established as the capital of the Chola dynasty for about 250 years starting about 1025. Affairs of South India and S.E.Asia were controlled from here. Stone in front is flag mast and after that stone is Bali Pata which u do not see.

Side view of Nandi. At far end is lion. "Nandi is 15 feet in length, 11 feet in height and breadth of 8 feet". It is constructed using brick and lime.

Side view of temple. There is a long corridor that takes you to the sanctum. Front hall is called Muga Mandapam.

Ganapathy shrine.

We now present close ups of the lower part of structure and tower. This is a close up side view of tower. "This Srivimana (tower) has 8 sided octagonal structure while the one at Tanjore is 4 sided. The basement of Srivimana is 100 feet by 100 feet, foundation square in structure that rises 20 feet above the ground."

This is Karpa Dwaram steps. Dwarpalas on either side of entrance. Similar to Big Temple Thanjavur.

On left of entrance is this sculpture. Note the slippers, anklets and trishul.

Right is Dancing Ganesha ie Nartana Ganapathy. Left is Ardanarishwara, Siva and Shakti in one form. Huge KALASH in centre.

2 levels has images followed by tower. This has higher level of image and starting level of tower.

Left is Nataraja (Dancing Shiva) along with Kali and Bringi. Right is Harihara.

This vertical pic gives you an idea of 2 levels of images followed by the granite tower.

Centre of tower with upper level of images, south side.

Met this local couple, come before or after their wedding not sure.

Tower from starting to end. How did they make this. Like this for nearly 990 years. The Srivimana is 180 feet tall and has 8 stages.

Close up of work at lower side of tower, left side.

Close up of work at lower side of tower, central part.

Rear side images ie west side.

Right is Siva with Devi. Left not sure.

Vishnu with Indra (Kartikeya) and Uma-sahita (Siva).

Right is Bhairava. Left is Shiva with Maan and Malu with Parvati in sitting position.

Granite tower from western side. Since setting sun rays were blocked by clouds this is the best we would get.

There are images in front and the niches. To know all about temple Click here

Left side view of Srivimana.

Right is Kalantaka. Left is Mahishamardini. Too focused on the Srivamana so missed taking pics of Gana, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Chandesanugraha murthi. Also missed taking close ups of lower panel and dome on top of Srivimana.

This is from where water/milk comes out of the holy sanctum. Centre of pic is Brahma with Komuka vassal.

A vertical view of temple. Lower is Bhairava with 8 arms.

Exit with two dwarpalas on either side.

Close up of the tower on the northern side.

Ammam shrine.

Image of Nandi and Lion. To know story of lion Click here

Corridor that leads to the holy sanctum. The linga is nearly as big as the one at Thanjavur.

View of Nandi from inside the temple.

Close up of intricate work on Nandi.

Lion (Singa Mugha Kinaru). There is a well next to it which I missed. To know more Click here

North-east close up view of Srivimana. In front is Chandigeswarar shrine.

North-east long view of Maha Mandapam. On left of pic is Dwarpala or gatekeeper. There is one on both sides of entrance.