Follow on

Snippets of information - Temples

Chola temples, Thanjavur

Jun 5, 2020
Since 1966, the thousand pillars hall in the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple is also doubling as the museum of the temple. Among those items of artistic elegance and cultural excellence are:
Paintings explaining the quintessence of the ancient arts of architecture, sculpture, painting, music, dance and other forms of aesthetic importance.
Antique panchaloka (five metal) idols.
Collection of rare photographs.
Rare antique items.
Articles of Saiva and Vaishnava religions.
Antique coins.
Carvings in tusks and antique items.
Paintings from the Nayakka period depicting the 64 miracles performed by Lord Sokkanathar.

Feb 20, 2020
7 Shiva temples in Mylapore
1. Karaneeswarar Temple, Bazaar Rd, Mylapore, Chennai

2. Theerthapaleeswarar Temple, 55 Dr Natesan Rd, Sudandira Nagar, Triplicane, Chennai

3. Velleeswarar Temple, South Mada Street, Mylapore, Chennai

4. Virupaksheeswarar Temple, PV Koil St, Mylapore, Chennai

5. Valeeswarar Temple, G N Street, Mylapore, Chennai

6. Malleeswarar Temple, Thyagarajapuram, Mylapore, Chennai 

7. Kapaleeswarar Temple, North Mada Street, Mylapore, Chennai

Mar 2, 2015
Nava Nandis at Nandyal
- Prathama Nandi is situated upon a high soil base very nearer to Nandyal railway station.
- Naga Nandi is inside Anjaneya temple, which is located very near the Nandyal bus stand.
- Soma Nandi is towards east of Nandyal (almost inside Nandyal town), very near the upcoming Jagajanani temple
- Surya Nandi is located on the road to Mahanandi.
- Shiva Nandi: Approximately 13 km away from Nandyal on the road to Mahanandi, near Thimmavaram village.
- Vishnu (Krishna) Nandi is located on the road to Mahanandi, 2 miles before Mahanandi
- Garuda Nandi is located just before the Mahanandi Temple after crossing the Big Nandi Statue.
- Mahanandi Temple with natural springs (pushkarini)
- Vinayaka Nandi is situated towards northwest of Mahanandi Temple. It is a small temple located to left of the exit Gopuram.

Feb 19, 2015
Two sculptures found in Darasuram have been brought to the Art gallery at Thanjavur . One is Gajamharamurthy ( Gaja Samhara) in which Lord Siva slains the elephant demon and another is Dwarabalaga brought by Raja Raja I from Kalyan in Maharashtra as a war trophy.
- (Darasuram: architectural marvel from Chola period by G Srinivasan, The Hindu, 20 July 2011)

Feb 19, 2015
According to Kudavayila Balasubramanian, an epigraphist and temple expert, there are many unique sculptures in the Airavatesvara temple at Darasuram. They include a 73 panel of sculptures depicting the life history of 63 Nayanmars. "Nowhere one can see in such details the life history of Nayanmars. There are sculptures depicting the life history of Nayanmars at Melakadambur and Thirupanandal temples too.

Other important sculptures of the temple are the 108 Devara Othuvars who sung in the temple during the time of Raja Raja II. There are sculptures for river goddesses like Cauvery, Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari and Narmada. "While the sculptures of rivers like Cauvery, Yamuna, Godavari are with human form till hip level and depicted in the form of water circles below, sculpture of Ganges is in full human form with a vessel of water in one hand and lotus flower in the other hand.
- (Darasuram: architectural marvel from Chola period by G Srinivasan, The Hindu, 20 July 2011)

Jan 2014
The Peruvudaiyar Kovil, also known as Brihadeeswara Temple, RajaRajeswara Temple and Rajarajeswaram at Thanjavur is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site and "Great Living Chola Temples".

The vimana (or temple tower) is 216 ft (66 m) high and is among the tallest of its kind in the world. The Kumbam (Kalasha or Chikharam) (apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is carved out of a single stone and it weighs around 80 tons.

The presiding deity of lingam is 3.7m tall. There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock, at the entrance measuring about 16 feet long and 13 feet high. The entire temple structure is made out of granite, the nearest sources of which are close to Tiruchirappalli, about 60 km to the west of Thanjavur. Built in 1010 AD by Raja Raja Chola I in Thanjavur, Brihadeeswarar Temple, also popularly known as the ‘Big Temple', turned 1000 years old in 2010.

The esteemed architect and engineer of the temple was Kunjara Mallan Raja Raja Perunthachan as stated in inscriptions found at the temple. The temple was built per ancient texts called Vaastu Shastras and Agamas. He is the ancient ancestor of the doyan of Vaastu Vedic architecture, the late Dr. V. Ganapti Sthapati of Chennai and Mahabalipurim (architect of the 133' granite Thiruvalluvar statue at the tip of south India). Members of his family still live and practice the ancient art and science. The American University of Mayonic Science and Technology was initiated by Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati to perpetuate the same form of architectural principles used by Kunjara Mallan Raja Raja Perunthachan to build the Brihadeeswarar temple. The temple was built using a measure of 1 3/8 inch called an angula (24 units equaling 33 inches called a hasta, muzam, or kishku).

Another widely held belief is that the shadow of the gopuram (pyramidal tower usually over the gateway of a temple) never falls on the ground. .[17] The temple is said to be made up of about 130,000 tons of granite. The Kumbam itself, a 60 ton granite stone carved in one piece, on top of the main gopuram is believed to have been taken to the top by creating an inclined slope to the height of 66m to the top of the gopuram. The prevailing belief is that a mud-slope, which starts at about three miles from the temple site, from Thirukoilore (birthplace of Raja raja's mother) near Sri Virateshvara swamy temple. Elephants might have been used to drag the stone up the slope. This was claimed to be the only part of the gopuram, which does not cast a shadow that fall on the ground, at least not within the temple premises.

On 26 September 2010 (Big Temple's fifth day of millennium celebrations), as a recognition of Big Temple's contribution to the country's cultural, architectural, epigraphical history, a special INR 5 postage stamp featuring the 216-feet tall giant Raja Gopuram was released by India Post. The Reserve Bank of India commemorated the event by releasing a INR 5 coin with the model of temple embossed on it.

Govt of India, Mumbai Mint issued Rs. 1000/- coin to commemorate the 1000th year of the temple.
- (

Jan 2014
Written in stone - Big Temple's inscriptions reveal a King's passion

"This is the only temple in the whole of India," says R. Nagaswamy, former Director, Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department, "wherein the builder himself has left behind a very large number of inscriptions on the temple's construction, its various parts, the daily rituals to be performed for the Linga, the details of the offerings such as jewellery, flowers and textiles, the special worship to be performed, the particular days on which they should be performed, the monthly and annual festivals, and so on."

Raja Raja Chola even appointed an astronomer called ‘Perunkani' for announcing the dates, based on the planetary movements, for celebrating the temple's festivals.

Again, this is the only temple in India where the King specifically mentions in an inscription that he built this all-stone temple called ‘kattrali' (‘kal' meaning stone and ‘tali' a temple). This magnum opus, running to 107 paragraphs, describes, among others, how Raja Raja Chola, seated in the royal bathing hall on the eastern side of his palace, instructed how his order should be inscribed on the base of the vimana, how he executed the temple's plan, the list of gifts he, his sister Kundavai, his queens and others gave to the temple.

The inscriptions provide a list of 66 beautiful bronze idols Raja Raja Chola, Kundavai, his queens and others gifted to the temple. The inscriptions elaborate on the enormous gold jewellery, inlaid with precious stones such as diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, corals, pearls, for decorating each of these bronzes. Interestingly, the measurements of all these bronzes — from crown to toe, the number of arms they had and the symbols they held in their arms — are inscribed. Today, only two of these bronzes remain in the temple — that of a dancing Siva and his consort Sivakami. All the jewellery has disappeared.

Dr. Nagaswamy, who recently authored a book, Brhadisvara Temple, Form and Meaning, said highly specialised gemmologists classified the gems according to their quality and weight. Even the lacquer used inside the beads and the thread employed for stringing them together were recorded. There were references to white pearls, red pearls, chipped ones, those with red lines or skin peeled off.

Raja Raja Chola gifted gold vessels to the temple, and their weight, shape and casting were mentioned in the lithic records. Even a small spoon, ‘nei muttai,' for scooping out ghee, finds a mention. The inscriptions throw light on the temple's revenue from various sources, the mode of payment and the meticulous accounting procedures. "It shows the care and attention with which the temple property was entered in the registers and the responsibility fixed for handling them. Raja Raja Chola had an extraordinary administrative talent, unsurpassed either before or after him," Dr. Nagaswamy said.

The inscriptions even speak about the temple's cleaners, sweepers, carriers of flags and parasols, torch-bearers for processions at night and festivals, cooks, dancers, musicians and singers of Tamil and Sanskrit verses.
- (T.S. Subramanian, The Hindu, September 24, 2010)

A photograph, taken on a full moon night, of mount Kailash, south face, with the face of Lord Siva clearly visible on one half of the sacred mountain , the other half representing Uma, underlying the Ardhanareeswara thathva.

You will also find steps like rocks in the centre, but each step will be atleast about 500 feet in between. One of the closest view - the full south face of the mountain including the base portion of the mountain, which is described as Athma Lingam, right underneath the centre portion under the so called huge steps. There are Saptharishi caves in this region.
(Received this information and image through email)

Some of the sthala vrukshams (sacred trees in temples)
- Fig Tree (aththi maram)
- Mahua Tree (iluppai maram)
- Kadamba maram
- Mango tree (maa maram)
- Makizha maram
- Arjuna Tree (marutha maram)
- Jack tree (palaa maram)
- Paray maram
- Vanni maram
- Margosa tree (vaebba maram)
- Bael Tree

Sri Narasimhar
Information from Gopura Darisanam Deepavali Malar 2006
  • An idol of Narasimhar carved out of a single stone with a seshnag hood can be seen in Hampi opposite the Spataswara mandapam.
  • Bhavana Narasimhar idol can be seen at a temple about 6 kms from Mel Ahobilam. The Moolavar - Lakshmi Narasimhar is seen seated on the Adiseshan. In his upper arms he holds the changu & chakram, the lower right hand is in abhaya mudra while he is seen holding Lakshmi seated on his lap with his left hand.

Akshardham temple on the banks of the Yamuna river in Delhi is now considered the worlds largest hindu temple. Built with a combination of marble, sandstone and wood the building is fabulously impressive. It is built to ancient standards without using any steel and as such is designed to last 1000 years. The intricate nature of the carving both inside and out is stunning and has lovingly restored an almost lost art and is already influencing other temple building projects throughout india and the world.

The largest Hindu temple is the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham with a total area of 8,021.43 m² (86, 342 ft²) built by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in New Delhi, India and inaugurated on 6 November 2005. BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi, India, is the world's largest Hindu temple. It measures 356 ft long, 316 ft wide and 141 ft high. The grand, ancient-style temple built within 5 years by 11,000 artisans without structural steel was consecrated on 6 November 2005 by its creator His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, spiritual leader of BAPS. The temple showcases the essence of India's ancient art, traditions and wisdom.

The largest temple of the world, raised during the reign of Suryavarman-II (1113 to 1150) in 12th century is located in Angkor, a major archaeological site of Cambodia. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is also one of the two temples intact in Angkor, Cambodia. The other is a Buddhist Temple. The largest temple of Lord Vishnu in Angkor is built according to Khmer architecture, original to Cambodia. The temple was being used as a Buddhist Centre in 14th Century and was neglected from the 16th century. Currently, a German organisation is making efforts in renovating the temple's structure.

Sri Vaanchiyam
Devotees can be rid of Kala Sarpa Dosham by offering worship at the Sri Vaanchiyam temple to both Rahu & Ketu at the same location. The holy Ganges which is believed to rid the bathers from all sins is said to have got rid of her sins by bathing in the Guptagangai waters of Sri Vanchiyam.

Tirumalai Tirupathi - Some beliefs
It is believed & accepted that all flowers that bloom in Tirupati is for the Lord's worship & hence there is a practice that no women adorn their hair with flowers while in Tirumala. There is a habit of giving the flowers used to worship the Lord to devotees as prasadam in all temples. But in Tirupati, there are no idols or images of any God other than Srinivasa. So all the flowers are offered to him in the name of other Gods too. Hence these flowers are not the prasada of Lord Srinivasa alone & hence are not offered to devotees as his prasadam. Ramanujar created the habit of placing these flowers in a well (Poonginaru - Poo - flower; Kinaru - well) near the sannadhi.

The flowers for the Thomaala (Thol Maalai) & Poolaangi (Poovaadai) sevais are formed into garlands at a place called Yamunaathurai. It is located near the spot where the ladoos are prepared. A devotee of the Lord Yamunachaariyaar (also known as Aalavandaar) used to collect flowers, make beautiful garlands & offer them to the Lord. The king Anantharaayan was impressed with his devotion. Seeing him suffer in an old hut, he created a mandapam for him. To date, garlands are being made in this mandapam.

Arupadai Veedu - The six most important temples of Lord Muruga
1. Palani near Madurai - Dhandayutapani
2. Pazhamudircholai near Alagar Koyil near Madurai - Solaimalai Murugan
3. Swamimalai - Swaminathanaswamy
4. Tiruttani near Tirupati and Chennai - Bala Subramanya Swami
5. Tirupparamkunram near Madurai - Subramanyaswami
6. Tiruchendur - Bala Subramanya Swami and Senthilandavar.

The five temples for Surya worship, in Tamil Nadu are known as the Pancha Baaskara Sthalangal.
They are
1. Gyayiru, near Chennai
2. Thiruchirukudi, in Thanjai
3. Thirumangalakudi, in Thanjai
4. Thiruparidhiniyamam, in Thanjai
5. Thalaigyayiru, in Thanjai.

The saptha (7) Vitanka sthalams are Tiruvaarur, Tirukkuvalai, Tirukkaaraivaasal, Tirumaraikkaadu, Tiru Naagai, Tirunallaaru and Tiruvaimur.

Paadal Petra Stalangal - Siva temples whose praise has been sung by Appar, Sundarar, Maanickkavaasagar and Thiru Gnana Sambandhar - also known as Thevaram Petra Thirukoilgal.

Ashta Veerattaana Sthalams - The sthalams where the Lord Siva has destroyed evil asuras & danced in joy. They are eight (ashta) in number. Tiruvatikai, Tirukkadavur, Tirukkurukkai, Tirutturutti, Tirukkovilur, Vazhuvur, Tiruvirkudi and

Pancha Sabha Sthalams of Lord Nataraja - The five Cosmic Dance Halls of Lord Siva
Natarajar Temple, Chidambaram - Kanaka Sabhai (gold)
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, Madurai - Rajata Velli Sabhai (silver)
Nellaiappar Temple, Tirunelveli - Tamra Sabhai (copper)
Sri Vada aranyeswarar Temple, Tiruvalankadu - Ratna Sabhai (ruby)
Kutraleeswar Temple, Kutralam - Chitra Sabhai (mural)

Pancha Bhoota Sthalams - Tiruvannamalai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvaanaikkaval, Kalahasti and Chidambaram.
Tiruvannamalai (Thejo sthalam - Fire)
Kanchipuram (Prithvi sthalam - Earth)
Tiruvanaikaval (Appu sthalam - Water)
Kalahasti (Vayu sthalam - Air)
Chidambaram (Akasa sthalam - Space)

Nava Kailasam - There are 9 Siva temples in Neyveli-Thoothukudi. All the shrines are aspects of a navagraham.
1. Paapanaasam - Suryan - Mela Kailasam
2. Cheran Mahadevi - Thingal - Mela Kailasam
3. Kodaganallur - Chevvai - Mela Kailasam
4. Kunnathur - Rahu - Keezh kailasam
5. Murappanadu - Guru - Keezh kailasam
6. Thiruvaikundam - Sani - Keezh kailasam
7. Thenthiruppaerai - Budan - Keezh kailasam
8. Raajapathy - Kethu - Keezh kailasam
9. Saendha Poomangalam - Sukran - Keezh kailasam