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Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple is an ancient engineering marvels that will enchant you and leave you thrilled.

The Brihadishwara temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva was completed in 1035 AD by Rajendra Chola I as part of his new capital. This temple is a smaller yet more refined version of the Brihadeeswarar Temple, which is about 70 kilometres away in Thanjavur. Both temples are among the largest Shiva temples in South India and are examples of Dravidian style temples.

The temple is filled with bronze sculptures, artwork on its walls, and a depiction of Nandi that’s just mind-blowing. The scale of its tower is something to cheer, and the temple’s sanctum and mandapas are aligned on an east-west axis. And let’s not forget about the other deities in the temple such as Vishnu, Durga, Surya, Harihara, and Ardhanarishvara.

But here’s the kicker, the old city of Gangaikonda Cholapuram – the capital of a powerful Asian empire from around AD 900 to AD 1215 or over three centuries along with its other major Chola-era Hindu temples have been completely destroyed, leaving a desolate place.

However, the temple remains an active temple, and there are four daily rituals and many yearly festivals that are held there.

It’s one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004, along with the Brihadeeswarar Temple at Thanjavur and Airavatesvara temple at Darasuram. These are referred to collectively as the Great Living Chola Temples, and trust me, they’re not to be missed!

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