Gangaikonda Cholapuram was the capital city of Rajendra Chola, the son and Successor of Raja Raja Chola I who built the Brihadeshwara Temple in Tanjore. Rajendra Chola was a prominent King of the Chola Dynasty during the 11th Century, who extended his dynasty to the far east countries across the Bay of Bengal to Sri Lanka, Cambodia (Angok Wat). Thailand, and Indonasia. Gangaikonda Cholapuram is an amazing Architechtural and Engineering marvel is next only to Brihadeshwara Temple at Tanjore. The Structure, the layout and almost all elements of the temple is a replica of the Brihadeshwara Temple at Tanjore.
Rajendra Chola was a great warrior who stood front for many battles. He defeated the Pala Dynasty of North India and brought back the the water of the River Ganges in Golden Vessels. He founded the city as his new capital and named is Gangaikonda Cholapuram, which means the the town of Chola which brought back the waters of River Ganga. He ruled over most parts of South India and across the seas from Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Cholas embraced and flourished, Art, Culture, Music, Dance, Architecture, Science and ship building. They had a powerful Navy and also had trade settlement and trade relations with the Romans and Greeks.
Rajendra Chola established the Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram to commemorate his new victory and as part of establishing his new capital. One would definitely find the Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram as a miniature form of the Chola Temple in Tanjore following Dravidian architecture. The temple looks amazing during the evening golden hours as the light partially reflects the white granite structure. There are two fortified walls, one in the inner and another as an outer wall. There is a big Nandi Bull (the mount of Lord Siva) statue of Sand stone and another small one back in color within the temple facing the entrance of the temple. The temples complex houses a garden which adds beauty to the temple.
It is believed that the Chola Dynasty declined after a catastrophe hit the land, probably an earthquake during the reign of Rajendra Chola III. A palace was found underneath when some farmer dug here for a well. Now this comes under the Archeological survey of India. Both the Brihadeshwara and the Gangaikonda Cholapuram temples are considered to be engineering marvels, as both of them still exist strong in the aftermath of the natural catastrophe that hit the Chola Dynasty.
If you wish to visit Gangaikonda Cholapuram as part of a Temple Tour of South India, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Benjamin John