Chandeshvara Shrine and north-west tower of the Brihadishvara Temple, Thanjavur
Photographer: Rea, Alexander
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Brihadishvara Temple complex at Thanjavur from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections taken by Alexander Rea in c. 1892. Thanjavur was established and used by the Chola rulers in the 9th-12th centuries; it later became a Nayaka stronghold in the 16th-17th centuries and was also used by the Marathas in the 18th century. The Brihadishvara Temple was built in the 9th century and is one of the great achievements of the Chola era. This monumental temple stands in the middle of a large rectangular courtyard surrounded by smaller shrines. Its steeply pyramidal tower stands at about 66 m and consists of 13 storeys, each with pilastered walls covered with carved figures of divinities. This photograph is of the Chandeshvara Shrine and of the tower of the temple, taken from the north-west. The Chandeshvara shrine faces southwards towards the main temple and is a small reproduction of the main temple; its sanctuary has an octagonal roof.