Follow on

near Kumbakonam -
by Lalitha Venkat

Tribhuvanam in Tamilnadu, South India, is about 8km from Kumbakonam and 45 km from Thanjavur. The Kampahareswarar temple dedicated to Shiva was built by the Chola King Tribhuvana Chakravarti as a memorial to his conquest in the North and is ranked as one of the Chola masterpieces. It was also built by Kulattunga III (1178 1216AD). The shrine resembles the Iravateswara temple at Darasuram, especially the wheeled porch and is known for the rich beauty of its sculptures.

The front mandapam here is built in the form of a huge chariot. The Vimanam here is larger than that of Darasuram, and is about 120 feet in height. Sculptured panels depicting scenes from the Ramayana adorn this temple. The image of Sarabha is a rare sculpture with a strange combination of bird and man. Siva assumed this form to subdue the fury of Narasimha. There are rows of musicians and dancing figures all around the base of the shrine as well as at the base of the surrounding colonnades. It is only in the temples at Thanjavur, Tribuvanam, Darasuram and Gangaikondacholapuram in Tamilnadu, that the Vimanam towers over the entrance Gopurams. After these four temples, the Cholas went back to their traditional style of building temples with larger gopurams and smaller central Vimanams. These temples are fitting memorials to the glory of the rulers that built them, as well as monuments of piety and a commitment to art and architecture. Tribhuvanam is renowned for silk weaving.