Home>Vacation>Monuments>Chola Temples : Information on Built, timings, how to reach & more

In the history of South India there has been a number of ruling dynasties who has made some really elemental contributions. These contributions have been made in different domains of politics, social construction, architecture, literature, art, economy, foreign relationship and so much more. Once such dynasty, which made a huge contribution in the legacy of south Indian history were the Chola dynasty.

During their rule they constructed a number of Hindu temples which reflects the prominent trends of architecture and art, cultural, social and religious belief. One such living specimen of Chola rule and their patronage for architecture is to be seen in the great living Chola temples. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site these Chola Temples are Hindu temples from the time of the Chola dynasty.

Historians have pointed out that these temples were completed sometime between 11th and 12th century CE. Talking about the great living Chola temples we will have to talk about 3 different temples. They are Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, Brihadisvara temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram, and lastly the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram.

Temples Built By Cholas

The very name of the temples clearly indicates that they were made during the rule of the Chola emperors. The Brihadeshwara temple in Thanjavur was built by Raja Raja Chola 1 between the period 1003 and 1010 AD. The Brihadisvara temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram was completed in the year 1035 AD by Rajendra Chola 1. This temple was a part of his new capital.

The Airavatesvara temple in the town of Darasuram was built by Rajaraja I around 1150 AD. The Chola rule was one of the most important chapters in the history of South India. The Chola king was really enthusiastic builders who envisaged their temples to be more than just places of worship. These temples turned out to be the hub of huge volume of economic activities. These temples are a manifestation of patronage for rich art and culture that turned out to be an elemental feature of the Chola reign. The Chola School of art also extended its influence on the architecture and art practiced in Southeast Asia.

Great Living Chola Temple Timings

If you are planning to visit the Brihadiswara temple in Thanjavur you can go there on any day of the week. The temple is open for visitors and tourists all rounder weak even on holidays.

You can visit the temple between 6 a.m. in the morning and 12:30 p.m. in the afternoon.

There after the temple remains closed and again opens for the visitors at 4 p.m. in the evening.

Around 8:30 p.m. in late evening the temple finally closes for the day.

If you are planning to visit the Brihadeshwara temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram once again you can visit the place on any day of the week including weekends. The temple is open from morning 9 a.m. to evening 8 p.m. The Airavatesvara temple in darasuram is open from morning 6:30 a.m. in the morning till 8:30 p.m. in the evening.

Raja Raja Cholan Temple Information

All the three Chola temples that have been mentioned till now clearly indicate at the lavish reign of the Chola dynasty in South India. These Chola temples were created more than 2000 years ago and are living specimen of Majestic architecture, exquisite sculpture work and flawless geometry. The temple was dedicated to Hindu Gods like Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Devi Durga and the Sun god or Surya.

The Brihadeshwara temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram was constructed to celebrate the conquest of the Ganges shores by Rajendra Chola 1. With the foundation of this Temple Rajendra Chola 1 established the capital of his kingdom was to serve the kingdom for the next 250 years. The Brihadeshwara Temple of Gangaikonda Cholapuram was designed after the Dravidian style of architecture. All The structures of this Temple are based on a square shaped Foundation.

The Airavatesvara temple in darasuram like structure that has beautiful cultures and carving done on them. Surely these temples were the result of laborious toil from highly talented artisan. In this Temple again a similar architectural style can be observed where all the bases are made of Neat foundations. The airavatesvara temple Majestic Idol of Devi Parvati and Lord Shiva seated on a blooming lotus.

Temples Built by Cholas & How to Reach

All the three temples are nearby to the city of Chennai. So to visit the Chola temples the best thing is to touch down at Chennai and then plan your road trips to these three temples. The Brihadeshwara temple at Thanjavur is quite nearby from Chennai.

The Ariavatesvara temple is about 40 kilometers from Chennai. Finally the Brihadisvara temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram is about 70 kilometers from Chennai. Chennai being the state capital of Tamilnadu is well connected to all the other cities of the nation. You can reach Chennai either through flights or even through Railway.

Once you are in Chennai you can easily a range for public transport and private cars that can be rented to take you to these temples and back to your hotel.

Chola Dynasty Temples & Entrance Fee

These temples although were created during the ancient time of the Chola rulers are still religiously and culturally functional. This means that people even in modern time can visit them to offer prayers and conduct social events like taking blessing after a marriage. These temples are still considered to be important Hindu religious devotional point which is thronged by millions of believers and visitors from different parts of the world every year. This is the main reason why both Indian as well as foreign tourist can enter the temple premises absolutely for free. No entrance fee or any other form of ticket it is required to make an entry into the temples.

Chola Art and Architecture Structures

Once you are inside these temples there are a number of things you need to check out. The first and foremost thing which you must see when inside the temple is the basic architecture of these Hindu places of devotion. When we talk about architecture we not only mean the carving and the sculptures done on the walls of the temple but we will also draw your attention to the basic foundation pattern and the constructional edifice of the temple.

Very clearly you will see that these temples have a broad and neat square foundation which is an elemental feature of the Dravidian architecture. This means that these temples definitely derive inspiration from the Dravidian style of construction and building. The design and the interior planning of these temples will clearly exhibit the fact that there were different sections and Chambers in the temple. There happened to be the main courtyard, a Garba Griha, Mandap, and other distinct sections within a single Temple.

Being Hindu temples you will find a huge variety of depiction and images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. You will find mention of Lord Vishnu, Devi Durga and Lord Surya. However it is Lord Shiva who happens to be the most dominant Hindu deity in all these temples. It can be said without a doubt that all these temples were dedicated to Lord Shiva at the very onset of their creation. The carvings, the inscriptions, the sculptures, idols and images of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses and other forms and formats are nothing less than breathtakingly beautiful.

Chola Temple Architecture & Best time to visit

Located in Tamil Nadu, India, the region experiences highly hot and humid summers! A large majority of the year experiences scorching heat although the daylight hours. Hence to have a comfortable visit of the Chola Temple you need to visit the place during the months of autumn winter and spring.

The month from December to February happens to be the ideal months to visit give these temples. This is the time when temperatures are not all that soaring and the climate is comfortable for you to remain out in the daylight hours and explore the minutest details of all the temples. This time is also rather favorable for taking pictures and having a very nice time either by yourself or with your family.

Temples Built by Cholas & History

The history of the place is highly interesting and lavish. It is one thing to mention that the Chola rulers were highly avid builders. What is more interesting in this context is that they had a flourishing rule enough which enabled them to undertake project of such huge and palatial Hindu temples. The structure and the scale of these Grand Hindu temples clearly indicated at the flourishing economy and social well being of the people during the reign of the Chola rulers.

In other words these temples are standing manifestation that indicates at the well-being of the general people during this time. These temples are a standing ovation to the fact that the Chola rule in South India not only brought about political consolidation but at the same time this period also saw the encouragement of art, literature, architecture, commerce, science and so much more. In order to understand the true historical significance of these temples you must hire a trained guide who can tell you everything about the history of these places.

At the time of visiting these places you must remember that they are not only places of religious and cultural significance. Rather they are places which give that a deep insight into the society, people and their heritage during the Chola rule.

Chola Temples Location & Attractions Nearby

Talking about other attractions near by the Chola Temple you can visit other popular temples in and around Chennai and can visit popular sightseeing attractions in the capital city Tamil Nadu.

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