The 2nd november 2009(02-11-2009) annabishekam going to performed to the lord shiva in the Gangaikondacholesvaram Temple
Gangaikondacholapuram, now in the Udaiyarpalayam taluk of Tiruchi district, in Tamilnadu, was erected as the capital of the Cholas by Rajendra I, the son and successor of Rajaraja I, the great Chola who conquered a large area in South India at the beginning of the 11th century A.D. It occupies an important place in the history of India. As the capital of the Cholas from about 1025 A.D. for about 250 years, the city controlled the affairs of entire south India, from the Tungabhadra in the north to Ceylon in the south. The great temple of Siva at this place is next only to the great temple of Tanjore in its monumental nature and surpasses it in sculptural quality.
The temple was located at the center of the Gangaikondacholapuram city and occupies around 6 acres of land. There seems to be 2 Praharams surrounding the Srivimana, most of the wall is destructed and the Granite rocks where used to construct the Lower Anicut during the British rule. The remains of these outer wall is very less and one can judge the actual size of the temple if it had remained, whereas the second wall has the gopuram completely destructed and from the height of the entrance one could estimate the height of the second gopuram.
Archeological Survey of India has renovated the Srivimana and painted it beautifully after the chemical cleaning. The sight of the Srivimana from this second entrance is magnificent and beautiful. A western historian who studied Gangaikondacholesvaram compared the structural difference of this Srivimana with that of Rajaraja-I’s Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur and mentioned that this Srivimana is of feminine structure and the Tanjore Srivimana as masculine in nature. The main difference that is obvious is this Srivimana has 8 sided (Octagonal) in structure and Thanjavur Srivimana has 4 sided (Quadragonal) in structure.
The basement of Srivimana is 100 feet by 100 feet and the foundation is square in structure and raises 20 feet above the ground level. The 3 lower stages houses many beautiful masterpiece sculptures of chola period including the Laxmi (goddess of wealth), Gana Saraswathi (goddess of knowledge), Ardhanareeswarar ( Shiva and Sakthi in equal but in one form), Shiva blessing Chandigeswarar with along Parvathi. One has to enjoy the beauty and the elegance and these fine masterpieces by visiting Gangaikondacholesvaram no words or even the photographs that we have taken are only our attempt to bring this 1000 year old art and architecture near to the readers.
There are many shrines inside this temple found on the 2nd praharam (circumventing path), Mahisasuramardhini shrine, Amman shrine, Chandigeswarar shrine, Ganapathy shrine etc., There was Nataraja Mandapam now totally destroyed and only the remains were found. There were special Poojas for Mahisasuramardhini every month.
- Pradosham event monthly twice
- Shangadahara Chaturthi once in a month
- Pournami Pooja on full moon days
- Monthly Karthikai festival for Lord Muruga
- Annaabishegam (rice abishegam) for the Shiva Linga once in a year – organized by Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.
Annaabishegam festival :
This is one of the most important festival of this temple and it is mainly organized by Shankaracharyar of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. As mentioned earlier the Lingam (Peruvudaiyar – main deity) is one of the Ratchasa Lingam i.e, a Giant Lingam due to its huge size is decorated with rice. It requires 75 gunny bags of rice to completely cover the huge size of the Lingam, the whole Lingam looks like a white hill of rice. The Abishegam prasatham (i.e, the rice after offering to Lingam) is served as Annadhanam (free food) on that day.
Vanni tree is the thalavirutcham of this temple. It is resided in the northern prahara of the temple and rear to the shrine of Chandigeswarar.
Temple Management :
The temple is under the control of ASI (Archeological Survey of India ) and HR&CE. The office of HR&CE is located inside the temple. One can contact the HR&CE office for pooja related service.
Maalikai Medu (Ruins of Rajendra Chola Palace)
The emperor Rajendra Chola (1012 A.D – 1044 A.D) built a big palace in the place of Utkottai, where a mound even now called Maalikai Medu (Palace mound) in Gangaikondacholapuram – the capital of chola dynasty.
The base of the palace is found in Maalikai Medu which is 1.5km away from the Brihadisvara Temple, Gangaikondacholapuram. The breadth of the palace wall is 1m and built by using only the bricks.
Now the palace is maintained as a protected monument by the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Survey (State ASI), telling that the palace had two floors including some sculptures, paintings on the wall. Some of the beautiful handicrafts made up of elephant ivory , bones and Chinese style painted things were also found in the palace, proves that the Chinese accompanied with Tamil people in the period of Chola. The things used in the palace by the period of chola is kept in the museum of Gangaikondacholapuram.