The Lost Temples of Tamil Nadu

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In South India, an entire city that has since been lost and forgotten was once described by a Portuguese trader as “large as Rome and the best provided city in the world”. It has since become a “city of ghosts”, but the ruins of a bygone glorious civilization still remain.

 

Located in Thanjavur, the Brihadeeswarar Temple (also known as the Peruvudaiyar Koyil) was built in 1010 AD by the Tamil King Raja Raja Chola I.

 

Although Hinduism forbids the taking of life, King Raja Raja Chola I was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands in expanding the Chola Dynasty across South India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia. Consequently, Raja Raja the Great embarked upon a building frenzy, erecting glorious temples as his way of appeasing the gods.

 

The largest of these temples, the Brihadeeswarar Temple, was the largest and tallest temple ever built. It is big enough to house 200 Taj Mahals. It can hold the Kremlin, the U.S. Senate, the Houses of Parliament, and still have room for the Palace of Versailles and St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

The temples soar hundreds of feet into the sky and are all made of granite, one of the hardest stones to cut and shape. Stones from the nearest quarry, over 50 miles away, were moved by river rafts. Trained elephants were used to drag the slabs to the building site. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of stone were moved to erect these temples – more stone than was used to construct the Pyramids of Giza.

 

The fascinating documentary Mysteries of Asia: The Lost Temples of India details the story of these lost temples, many of which were buried beneath a thick canopy of forest and discovered only recently. Described as “beyond imagination” in their scope, size and architecture, it is a testament to a once glorious Tamil empire.

 

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Author

Sen

Sen

Sen grew up in Toronto and currently calls it home. An avid social commentator, he is particularly interested in the evolution of the Tamil diaspora and its integration to the Canadian mainstream.

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6 thoughts on “The Lost Temples of Tamil Nadu

  1. I have visited the Thanjavur temple many times and highly doubt the temple is big enough to house; ” 200 Taj Mahals. It can hold the Kremlin, the
    U.S. Senate, the Houses of Parliament, and still have room for the
    Palace of Versailles and St. Peter’s Basilica”. What was your source to this information?

  2. Hey Myuren, I too have the belief that those facts seem unrealistic, however since I’ve never seen it in person I can’t say for sure. But to the credit of the author, it was a point that was quoted right out of the video documentary.
    It is a great documentary nonetheless.

  3. I agree with Myuren, I was there last year and I doubt it is even the size of one Taj Mahal.. maybe the size of the original kingdom is what they are referring to.

  4. Misleading one, there were so many temples mentioned in this video as chola era whereas except tanjore big temple, other temples also patronised by pandya, pallavas, nayaks etc.

    Actually sri rangam temple is the correct one, this temple built and developed by various dynasties and is the one which suits the sentence “200 Taj Mahals. It can hold the Kremlin, the U.S. Senate, the Houses of Parliament, and still have room for the
    Palace of Versailles and St. Peter’s Basilica”. The worlds largest functioning hindu temple , the bigger one is angkor wat in cambodia and both these temples dedicated to shiva

  5. When are we going to see this level of empowerment, organisation, social engineering, economic activity, & prosperity again in the Tamil World? Surely it is easier now than a 1,000 years ago given the technological advances & communication, the global presence, & the inherent Tamil genius.

  6. ppl shld b Appie 4 losin 1 of d idoltary place 😛 Fools & ill-literate ppl Worship Idols bt literate ppl lyk us Worship d true Almighty God d 1 who hates ppl nt 2 b present in d area of idolz =D
    I m proud Wt a mighty & true God v true Christians serve 🙂

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