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Information

Name:Great Living Chola Temples
Area:South Asia
Country:India
Registered Year:1987 
Type:Cultural Heritage
Criteria:(i)(ii)(iii)(vi)
See description of criteria
Brief Description:
Site inscribed in 1987 The great Temple of Tanjore (Thanjavur) was built between 1003 and 1010 in the reign of the great King Rajaraja, founder of the Chola Empire which stretched over all of South India and the neighbouring islands. Surrounded by two rectangular enclosures, the Brihadisvara Temple (built from blocks of granite and, in part, from bricks) is crowned with a pyramidal 13-storey tower, the vimana, standing 61 m high and topped with a bulb-shaped monolith. The walls of the temple are covered with rich sculptural decoration. Extension: Situated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the site includes the three great 11th and 12th century Chola Temples: the Brihadisvara temples of Thanjavur and Gangaikondacholisvaram, and the Airatesvara temple at Darasuram. Built by King Rajaraja, founder of the Chola Empire that encompassed the south of India and neighbouring islands and lasted until 1200 AD, the Brihadisvara temple is crowned by a pyramidal 65-m vimana, a sanctum tower. Its walls are covered with rich sculptural decoration. The second Brihadisvara temple complex built by Rajendra I, was completed in 1035. Its 53-m vimana has recessed corners and a graceful upward curving movement, contrasting with the straight and severe tower at Thanjavur. It has six pairs of massive, monolithic dvarapalas statues guarding the entrances and bronzes of remarkable beauty inside. The Airavatesvara temple complex, built by Rajaraja II, at Darasuram features a 24-m vimana and a stone image of Shiva. The temples testify to the Cholas brilliant achievements in architecture, sculpture, painting, and bronze casting.

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