HomeReligious PlacesBrihadeeswara TempleThanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple: A Journey Back in Time | Akash Prajapati

Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple: A Journey Back in Time | Akash Prajapati

about brihadeeswara temple : The Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple, also known as the Peruvudaiyar Kovil, is a magnificent Hindu temple located in the historic city of Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. Built during the Chola dynasty, this temple is an exceptional example of Dravidian architecture and stands as a symbol of India’s rich cultural heritage. In this article, we delve into the historical significance, architectural marvels, spiritual importance, preservation efforts, tourist attractions, and its impact on the local economy.

Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple History:

The Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple was constructed in the 11th century AD by the Chola emperor, Raja Raja Chola I. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was dedicated to Lord Shiva and served as the king’s royal temple. Its construction was a testament to the architectural prowess and grandeur of the Chola dynasty, which flourished during the medieval period in Southern India.

brihadeeswara temple timings : 

The Brihadeeswara Temple follows specific timings for darshan, allowing visitors to witness the deity and seek divine blessings. The temple is open for darshan from morning until evening, with a break in the afternoon. The timings are as follows:


6:00 AM to 12:30 PM: The temple opens its doors early in the morning, providing devotees the opportunity to start their day with darshan and prayers.

Afternoon Break:

12:30 PM to 4:00 PM: The temple remains closed for darshan during the afternoon break. This period is dedicated to performing various rituals, and the temple is reopened for visitors in the late afternoon.


4:00 PM to 8:30 PM: The temple reopens in the late afternoon, and evening darshan continues until closing time.

brihadeeswara temple best time to visit : 

The best time to visit the Brihadeeswara Temple is during the winter season, from November to February. The pleasant weather, vibrant festivities, and manageable crowds create an ideal setting for a memorable and enriching experience. For those who prefer avoiding peak tourist seasons, the post-monsoon season in September and October can be an attractive alternative. Remember to plan your visit accordingly, and immerse yourself in the timeless grandeur of this architectural masterpiece.

brihadeeswara temple best way to reach : 

  1. By Air:

The nearest airport to Thanjavur is the Tiruchirappalli International Airport (IATA: TRZ), located approximately 55 kilometers (34 miles) away. The airport is well-connected to major Indian cities and international destinations, making it a popular entry point for travelers. Upon landing at Tiruchirappalli, visitors can avail themselves of various transportation options to reach Thanjavur.

From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a pre-paid cab to directly reach the Brihadeeswara Temple. The journey from Tiruchirappalli to Thanjavur typically takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions.

  1. By Train:

Thanjavur has its own railway station, aptly named the “Thanjavur Junction” (TJ). It is well-connected to major cities and towns across India through regular train services. Traveling by train can be a comfortable and budget-friendly option for those coming from nearby locations or even distant parts of the country.

From the Thanjavur Junction railway station, travelers can take a short taxi or auto-rickshaw ride to reach the Brihadeeswara Temple. The temple is approximately 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) away from the railway station, and the journey takes around 10 to 15 minutes.

  1. By Road:

Thanjavur enjoys excellent road connectivity, and it is well-connected to major cities and towns in Tamil Nadu and neighboring states. Travelers can opt for buses, private taxis, or self-drive cars to reach the city.

– From Chennai: If you are starting your journey from Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, you can take the NH32 (Grand Southern Trunk Road) and NH38, covering a distance of about 340 kilometers (211 miles). The road journey takes approximately 6 to 7 hours, depending on traffic conditions.

– From Madurai: If you are coming from Madurai, another prominent city in Tamil Nadu, you can take the NH38, covering a distance of about 180 kilometers (112 miles). The journey typically takes around 3 to 4 hours.

– From Bangalore: Travelers coming from Bangalore, Karnataka, can take the NH75 and NH79, covering a distance of about 400 kilometers (249 miles). The road journey takes approximately 7 to 8 hours.

  1. Local Transportation:

Once you reach Thanjavur, getting around the city is relatively easy. Auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws are readily available for short distances. Tourists can also opt for local taxis or rental cars for more flexibility in exploring the city’s attractions, including the Brihadeeswara Temple.

brihadeeswara temple structure :

Unique Architecture and Design:

The temple’s design showcases the brilliance of Dravidian architecture. It follows the traditional architectural principles of the Chola period, with its vast courtyards, imposing gopurams (entrance towers), and intricate stone carvings.

The Vimana: Towering Grandeur:

One of the most remarkable features of the temple is its towering vimana, a pyramidal structure above the sanctum. Rising to an awe-inspiring height, the vimana is adorned with finely detailed sculptures and intricate carvings, showcasing the Chola artisans’ mastery.

Intricate Sculptures and Carvings:

The temple’s outer walls are adorned with exquisite sculptures depicting various mythological stories, celestial beings, and everyday life scenes. Each carving is a testament to the craftsmen’s skills and attention to detail.

thanjavur brihadeeswara temple facts :

Age and Origins: The Brihadeeswara Temple, also known as the Peruvudaiyar Kovil, was built in the early 11th century AD during the reign of the Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola I. It was completed in 1010 AD and remains a prime example of Chola dynasty architecture.

Dravidian Architectural Marvel: The temple’s architecture follows the distinctive Dravidian style, characterized by towering gopurams (entrance towers), intricately carved pillars, and vimanas (towering pyramidal structures above the sanctum).

Massive Granite Structure: The temple is entirely constructed using granite, an astonishing feat considering the technology available during its time of construction. The primary building blocks weigh several tons each.

Vimana Without a Shadow: The most enigmatic feature of the temple is its vimana, which casts no shadow at noon during certain times of the year. This has led to various myths and legends about the temple’s celestial connections.

World’s Tallest Vimana: The towering vimana stands at an impressive height of around 66 meters (216 feet), making it one of the tallest towered structures of its kind in the world.

Intricate Carvings: The temple’s outer walls are adorned with intricate stone carvings depicting various mythological tales, deities, and dancing poses. Each sculpture showcases the exceptional craftsmanship of Chola artisans.

Maha Shivaratri Celebrations: The temple hosts grand celebrations during Maha Shivaratri, attracting devotees and visitors from all over India. The festivities include special prayers, rituals, and cultural performances.

World Heritage Site: The Brihadeeswara Temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, recognizing its outstanding universal value and cultural significance.

Spiritual Significance of Brihadeeswara Temple :

Dedicated to Lord Shiva:

The Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple holds immense spiritual significance for Hindus. It enshrines a massive lingam, the iconic representation of Lord Shiva, and attracts devotees from all over the world seeking blessings and spiritual solace.

Major Festivals and Celebrations:

The temple hosts several grand festivals, including Maha Shivaratri, Annabhishekam, and Arudra Darshanam. These celebrations bring together people from various walks of life to partake in the vibrant festivities.

Tips for visit Temple:

For an enriching experience, visitors are encouraged to dress modestly, follow temple customs and guidelines, and engage with knowledgeable local guides to understand the temple’s intricate details better.


The Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple stands as a timeless marvel that intertwines architectural brilliance with spiritual devotion. Its grandeur, rich history, and cultural significance make it a symbol of India’s glorious heritage. As visitors explore the intricacies of this remarkable temple, they are transported back in time to an era of artistic excellence and profound spirituality.


Q: How old is the Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple?

The temple was built in the 11th century AD by the Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola I.

Q: Is the Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Yes, the temple received UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1987.

Q: Can visitors enter the inner sanctum of the temple?

No, the inner sanctum is accessible only to priests and temple officials. Visitors can view the deity from outside.

Q: What is the significance of the temple’s vimana?

The towering vimana houses the main sanctum and is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures, showcasing the architectural excellence of the Chola dynasty.

 What are the major festivals celebrated at the temple?

A: The temple hosts various festivals, with Maha Shivaratri, Annabhishekam, and Arudra Darshanam being the most prominent ones.



Akash Prajapati
I am a seasoned traveler on a mission to unveil the enchanting tapestry of India's diverse landscapes. My unique perspective offers more than picturesque views. Follow me to discover the soul of the places I visit. I share the untold stories of hidden gems, local traditions, Hinduism and the warmth of Indian hospitality.


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