" Thanjavur Rajarajan Gopuram
Temples Cholas Architecture Thanjavur Rajarajan Gopuram
Rajarajan Gopuram
Rajarajan Gopuram

This gopuram is built by Rajaraja-I and depicts the mediaeval chola architecture where the Raja gopuram (the entrance gopuram) diminish in size and the Karpagraham (the main deity's gopuram) is significant. The two huge 15 feet monolithic Dwarapalas on either side of this entrance is seen.


The 15 feet huge monolithic stone sculpture of the Dwarapala revals the Thattva (concept) that God is Everywhere as shown by the upper two hands and the pose of right hand index finger denotes that God is one and only one. On keen notice one can see a Elephant is being swallowed by a snake and the Lion standing behind. This denotes even if one faces such a big problem as of this magnitude a strong stand (a firm belief in God) similar to that of a Lion's strong standing posture will lead ways to realize God.

The puranic scenes are engraved in small panels in the front and the rear lower part of the gopuram. These miniature sculptures capture the events of the Hindu mythology to the sufficient detail to one to narrate the mythological story behind the scene. Various scenes from Kannappa nayanaar, Valli Thirimanam, Shiva's Kamathahana etc., are seen.

Kannappa Nayanaar (a devotee of Lord Shiva) gave his eyes to the Lord Shiva

One has to note that the gopuram was constructed in the first place with the predetermined location for the panels, and then these puranic scenes where carved on the completed gopuram with the highly skilled craftsmen. A bina (a fault in engraving the sculpture) is not rectifiable due to the panel is fixed in the gopuram and irremovable. Still now we can see some panels where left free without any scenes on the rear side of this gopuram - the reasons for leaving it free without scenes are unknown.

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