|Thanjavur big temple.Image Source: www.everscoop.com/jranand|
| Big temple,Thanjavur. main deity- ligam|
To mark the 1000th year anniversary of the building, 1000 dancers from various countries including the US participated in a Natayanjali/ Bharatnatyam Yajna. The participants danced to the divine music - 11 devotional Tamil hymns - Thiruvichaippa (9th Thirumurai) composed by Karuvur Thevar, a siddhar and Guru/mentor of Sri Raja Raja.
|1000 year old Hindu temple,Thanjavur big temple, European with a bowler hat|
In those days transportation of huge blocks of rocks from far-off places was not that easy, not to speak of lack of well-paved roads and numerous streams, rivers or nallas they had to pass through. Very careful controlled explosion using gun powder, it is believed, might have been used to slice the huge rock blocks according to sizes at the rock quarries and then they were taken to the temple site with the help of trained elephants.
|Thanjavur city, location map, Tamil Nadu.Maps of India|
Geologically speaking rocks used here are the oldest ones on the earth - formed about 3 billion plus years ago called Precambrian or ''Archean rocks'' which are available in plenty in Tamil Nadu. Such old rocks made of igneous and metamorphic rocks form ''Shield'' areas across the globe. Example: The Canadian Shield that covers greater part of Canada.
Brahadeshwarar Temple - And the myth of huge Monolith Nandi:
|Thanjavur big temple. Stone image of a westerner with a bowler hat .“connectinc.in|
It weighs about 20 tons (about 2 meters in height, 6 meters in length and 2.5 meters in width). It is installed in a separate huge mandabam (hall). On auspicious days the Nandhi is anointed with oil. There has been a myth going around for decades about the size of Nandhi and its gradual growth. Initially, It is believed, the Nandhi was small in size and it slowly started growing larger and larger over a long period of time due to the presence of a toad (Therrai in local parlance) inside the rock and the bull stopped growing once the toad was taken out of the rock.
|Thanjavur big temple-bull (right),temple entrance (left).credit:img.com thanjore3-95|
There is a small crack or broken chip on the back of the Nandhi – purported to be the toad's exit. The crack is visible even today and, of course, one has to make a careful and close observation. Sometimes, it is difficult to see the crack when part of Nandhi is covered with cloth. Common sense tells us that this speculation is based on mere conjecture and not on fact. Definitely the huge Nandhi is monolithic. That, how did the builder transport the huge monolithic block of hard rock about 50 to 60 km from the neighboring district, crossing small rivers, nallahs, flood plains etc with no proper road at all through rugged country side, is a riddle. It is just amazing.
|Statue of Rajaraja Chola.en.wikipedia.org|
The myth of huge monolithic rock dome on top of Sigara:
|Thanjavur big temple.80 tone dome. symmetrical bulls. amazonnews.com|
It is explained that that the 60 to 80 ton rock dome on top of the tower - Sigara is monolithic. Now, it is believed, that the huge dome may consist of 4 or 8 pieces of huge rock of equal size , each taken atop the tower using specially laid, weight bearing ramp, probably compacted mud slope stretching a few kilo meters from the tower to the bottom of the ramp and all the pieces were put together one by one carefully. Again trained elephants might have been used to push them to the top, using the ramp.It is, indeed, a great feat. It is a myth how the builders managed the huge block of rock at higher levels, where the pull of gravitational forces would have been much higher!!
The hard rock dome is beautifully carved with symmetrical images (each one on one side is the mirror image of the other) on all sides. Likewise, at top of the tower (base of the dome) there are four pairs of large bulls symmetrically carved, each pair facing four corners. For the sculptors, it was a Herculean endeavor to stand carefully and comfortably for long hours on the high wooden platform supported by scaffold roughly about 180 feet from the ground and carry out the laborious and intricate carving and sculpturing work with precision, unmindful of scorching sun and windy conditions. Imagine normally the sculptors have to use both hands to hold the tools comfortably to give life to a carved image. That, how did the artisans perch precariously at such a height and produce geometrically symmetrical stone images of beauty, with perfection and workmanship, that too 1000 years ago, will definitely stagger the imagination of numerous visitors - both foreigners and Indians who wonder at this ancient marvel built by the Hindu King,
the great Raj Raja Chola.
|Thanjavur big temple small stone carved image..shutterstock.com|
The presence of a carved image of the head of an European with a skull cap on the north side of the tower roughly above 120 feet suggests possible European connections then.
Places to Visit in and around Thanjavur.
Tourist Guide to Tamil Nadu Chennai: Tourist Guide to Tamil Nadu.
(minor corrections made: July 21, 2015)
(minor corrections made: July 21, 2015)