UNESCO listed The Great Living Chola Temples
The Great Living Chola Temples are the temples which were built by kings of the Chola Empire, they are situated over all of south India and the neighbouring islands.
This includes three great 11th- and 12th-century Temples:
1)The Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur,
2)he Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram
3)The Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram.
They are recognised by the UNESCO for their marvelous structure and beauty
As my relatives are from that place i had the oppurtunity to visit this structures, I am not an religion based visitor to any archelogical site , beleive me no matter what your religion is you will start loving this structure
1) The Brihadeeswara temple, Tanjore
Through the locals call it as Peri kovil means in tamil as Big Temple , this temple is one of the largest temple in the country , even muslim invaders and britishers had tried to demolish it but they failed beacuse that strong it is. This temple was built by the Great Chola Emperor Raja Raja Cholan I in the year 1010 AD . This temple celebrated its 1000th year of existence in the year 2010, i am very lucky to visit it during that time. This great temple is an example of the architectural excellence of the region. The Tower above the rock is 216 feet tall. "Kumbam", a strong structure above the tower cut out of one rock weighs almost 80 tons, is regarded as the show case of the Architectural Excellence during the period. The majestic tower and lifting the cupola to the top is a testimony to the engineering skill of the Chola Architects, who planned its construction in such a manner that the shadow of the structure does not fall on the ground.
The other attraction of the temple complex is the 12 ½ feet tall, 8 feet long and 5 ft wide sacred bull or Nandi made out of a single rock weighing 25 tons installed outside, in front of the sanctum Sanctorum. The Lingam is 13 ft tall, one of the largest linga of all times
2) Airavateeeswarar temple, Darsuram:
this temple is only 10 kms from the holy town Kumbakonam and is situated between kumbakonam and tanjore Situated on the outskirts of Kumbakonam, Darasuram has many ancient temples of great kind . The Airavateswara temple is the most important of them all. According to local people , Shiva is said to have appeared here in the form of a ‘Rudraksha’ tree. A temple here was built by the Chola King Raja Raja II in the 12th century and the name came from its name from the story of Airavatha, another story relating to a white elephant of India, which had his white colour restored miraculously by bathing in the tank here, after it was said that it changed from a curse by sage Durvasa. In front of the main shrine is Alankara Mandapa with a fine colonnade of piers, each of which has square panels on the sides sculptured with scenes fromS haivite traditions. On the south front of this Mandapa, each side of the base has large stone wheels and a horse and Thus the Mandapa has the appearance of a Chariot, wherein the deity is decorated on festival occasions. . It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which comes under Great living Chola Temples.
3) Gangaikonda Cholapuram.:
Gangaikondacholapuram was the capital of RajendraChola the son of RajaRajaChola. According to history, RajendraChola had conquered several northern kingdoms in order to bring the holy waters of River Ganga to his kingdom. As a mark of celebration, he created a ‘liquid pillar of victory’ , a tank which contains ganga water as tribute to the conqueror. Hence he was called Gangaikondachola -- the Chola king who brought the Ganga - and the town was named after him. The temple dedicated to Lord Brihadeeshwara located here is similar in many aspects to the temple in Tanjore.The main shrine is only 8 feet less than the temple in Tanjavaur . It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which comes under Great living Chola Temples.