Consecration of Thanjavur's Big Temple performed
After 23 long years, the famed Brihadeeshwarar Temple in Thanjavur was consecrated today - February 5, 2020 - at 9.45 am. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this heritage monument in Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, is one of the Great Living Chola Temples and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Huge crowds had gathered in Thanjavur to witness the Kumbabishekam of the temple, which is 1000 years old.
Present at the consecration were the Maratha Royal family members led by the Prince, Babaji Rajah Bhonsle Chattrapathi. The holy water from the ‘Yaga Salai’ was poured on the ‘Kalasam’ atop the ‘Vimanam’ over Brihadeeshwarar’s sanctum sanctorum, and on the towers over the sanctum sanctorums of Goddess Brahannayaki and other deities at around 9.20 a.m. Later, the granite idols of Peruvudaiyar (Brihadeeshwarar), Periyanayaki (Brahannayaki), and other deities were sanctified with the holy water brought from the ‘Yaga Salai,’ at around 9.45 a.m. The ‘Yaga Poojas,’ which began on Saturday evening, ended on Wednesday with ‘Mahapoornahuthi’ at around 7 a.m. After this, the pots containing the holy water were taken to the sanctum sanctorums. Though the Big Temple is a Shaivite temple, the procession of pots from the ‘Yaga Salai’ resembles processions in Vaishnavite temples. At the temple, the procession from the ‘Yaga Salai’ to the sanctum sanctorums and Vimanams was led by the ‘Othuvamoorthys.’
VIP pass-holders and devotees entered the temple through the two mini-gates on the temple’s southern side, while the VVIPs reached the enclosure put up for them on the shrine’s northern side through the mini-gate on that side. Huge crowds had gathered on the rail over-bridge that connects the Big Temple Road and the Medical College Road, the Giri road junction, the Corporation park, Srinivasapuram area, and Sevappanaicken Vari Kizhatheru, to witness the Kumbabhishekam.
History of the Temple
The temple was built by Raja Raja Chola I in 1010 AD, and its presiding deity is Lord Shiva in the form of a Lingam. It is also known as Periya Kovil, Rajeshwara Temple, and Rajarajeshwaram. The temple which resembles a fortress was built on the shores of a river. With its great historical and cultural value, it attracts hordes of visitors every year.
Brihadeeshwarar temple is a magnificent specimen of Chola architecture that was built using more than 130,000 tons of granite. Its major attraction is the 216-feet-tall tower above the sanctum, which is visible even from a distance, to anyone entering the city. The beautiful Nandi statue is yet another attraction – it was built from a single stone and weighs a whopping 20 tons roughly. On the exterior walls of the temple’s upper story, can be seen exquisite carvings of Bharatanatyam postures.
Many shrines were added to the temple later by the Pandya kings, the Vijayanagara rulers, and even the Marathas. A unique feature of this temple is that its shadow never falls on the ground at noon. This phenomenon is one of its myriad attractions that draws tourists as well as lovers of architecture from across the world, hoping to unravel the mystery behind it.
Brihadeeshwarar Temple is built exclusively from granite, making it the only one of its kind in the world. The fact that granite is not available within a 100-mile radius of the temple makes this truly astonishing. When it was built in AD 1010, it was the tallest temple in the entire country, and it took just seven years to complete. The Vimana weighs around 80 tons, and how the builders got it up there, is beyond the imagination. There are many musical pillars here, which, when tapped, make different sounds.
The Brihadeeshwarar temple speaks eloquently of the opulence of South Indian architecture in ancient times.