The voluptuous temple stands next to the famous Brihadisvara temple at Tanjore. Gangaikonda Cholapuram is regarded as the reproduction of Brihadisvara Temple that was built by Rajaraja Chola, father of Rajendra Chola. Gangai Konda Cholapuram was erected to outshine the temple made by the father. The temple is renowned for having the biggest Shivalingam in the Southern part of India.
The sanctum sanctorum embraces the four meter high lingam (phallic form) of Lord Shiva. To provide a private worship area for the royal family, the sanctum is encircled with two walls. The stately entrance of the sanctum is adorned by the beautiful image of Goddess Saraswati. The influence of Chalukyas is also reflected from the icons of 'Suryapita' (Sun worship) and 'Navagrahs' (Nine planets).
The meticulous accounts of the Cholas are inscribed on the copper plates and temple walls. Preferred place of crowned heads, the exotic structure took approximately nine years to complete. Gangaikondacholapuram has been plundered for several times, but the architectural and sculptural wealth remained alive. The temple was erected to extol the accomplishments of a combatant king. Gangaikondacholapuram is a tribute to the architects and artisans, who created this spectacular testament.
History For about 250 years, Chola clan ruled over a large part of South India. In those times, the Chola dynasty was at its apex and conquered many a parts of the northern territory. The wealth was brimming due to the outcome of their booming war operations. On one of the expeditions, Rajendra Chola brought Ganga water in a golden pot and consecrated the reservoir 'Ponneri or Cholaganga'. Consequently, Rajendra was titled as 'Gangaikondan' (the one who brought the Ganges). The king wanted to erect a 'larger than life' temple correspondent to the Brihadeeswara Temple. During 1020 - 29 AD, Gangaikondacholapuram saw its construction