Great Living Chola Temples

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UNESCO World Heritage Site
Great Living Chola Temples
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Stone sculpture at Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii
Reference 250
UNESCO region Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 1987 (11th Session)
Extensions 2004

The Great Living Chola Temples are temples built during the Chola rule in the south of India. These temples are the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. The Brihadisvara Temple was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1987; the Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram were added as extensions to the site in 2004. The site is now known as the "Great Living Chola Temples". [1][2]

Criteria for being "Great Living Chola Temples"[edit]

Criterion (i): The three Chola temples of Southern India represent an outstanding creative achievement in the architectural conception of the pure form of the dravida type of temple.
Criterion (ii): The Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur became the first great example of the Chola temples, followed by a development of which the other two properties also bear witness.
Criterion (iii): The three Great Chola Temples are an exceptional and the most outstanding testimony to the development of the architecture of the Chola Empire and the Tamil civilisation in Southern India.
Criterion (iv): The Great Chola temples at Thanjavur, at Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram are outstanding examples of the architecture and the representation of the Chola ideology.

Airavatesvara Temple[edit]

Main article: Airavatesvara Temple
A Dravidian architecture Pillar in Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram @ Thanjavur district.
Airavateshwarar temple at Darasuram

Airavatesvara Temple is a Hindu temple of Dravidian architecture located in the town of Darasuram, near Kumbakonam in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This temple, built by Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century CE.[3]

Angkor Wat related with Cholas[edit]

The 12th-century temple of Angkor Wat is the masterpiece of Angkorian architecture. Constructed under the direction of the Khmer king Suryavarman II, it was to serve as the monarch's personal mausoleum and as a temple to the Hindu god Vishnu. Based on Dravidian architecture, it was designed as a pyramid representing the structure of the universe: the highest level at the center of the temple represented Mount Meru, the home of the Hindu gods, with the five towers on the highest level representing the five peaks of the mountain. The broad moat around the complex represented the oceans that surround the world.Suryavarman II sent a mission to the Chola dynasty of south India and presented a precious stone to the Chola Emperor Kulothunga Chola I in 1114 CE.[4] Suryavarman was enthroned in 1113 AD. An aged Brahmin sage named Divakarapandita oversaw the ceremonies, this being the third time the priest had officiated coronation. Inscriptions record that the new monarch studied sacred rituals, celebrated religious festivals and gave gifts to the priest such as palanquins, fans, crowns, buckets and rings. The priest embarked on a lengthy tour of temples in the empire, including the mountaintop Preah Vihear, which he provided with a golden statue of dancing Shiva.[5] The king’s formal coronation took place in 1119 AD, with Divakarapandita again performing the rites. The king's reign saw great innovations in art and architecture. He presided over construction of Angkor Wat, the largest temple ever built in the capital, and in many modern minds the ultimate masterpiece of Khmer architecture. Its five central towers evoke the peaks of Mount Meru, home of the Hindu gods. It was resplendent with more than 1,860 carved apsara, or heavenly nymphs, and hundreds of meters of elaborate bas reliefs depicting the Hindu legends and scenes from contemporary life. Other temples dating to his reign include Banteay Samre, Thommanon, Chau Say Tevoda and, east of the capital, the huge Beng Mealea complex.

King SuryaVarma (name) is Tamil word and He trade with Tamil cholas.[6]The temple architecture is Based on Dravidian architecture,the golden statue of dancing Shiva is chola art,


  1. ^ "Great Living Chola Temples". World Heritage: Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  2. ^ "Great Living Chola Temples" (pdf). Unesco. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  3. ^ Great Living Chola Temples - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
  4. ^ A History of India Hermann Kulke, Dietmar Rothermund: p.125
  5. ^ Higham, "The Civilization of Angkor," p. 113.
  6. ^ A History of India Hermann Kulke, Dietmar Rothermund: p.125

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 10°46′59″N 79°07′57″E / 10.78306°N 79.13250°E / 10.78306; 79.13250