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Tanjore Pagoda. General view from outside the Fort

Tanjore Pagoda. General view from outside the Fort

Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 212/4(15)

Item number: 212415

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the Brihadishvara Temple complex in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu from the 'Photographs to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern India' collection, taken by Edmund David Lyon in c. 1868. 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. Lyon wrote about this photograph: 'The celebrated Pagoda is situated inside the smaller of the two forts...The two Gopuras on the right are the first and second gateways of the temple; and beyond is seen the great pyramidal tower of the temple itself. The fortifications in front were erected by the French, when they held the place against us, in the middle of the last century. They also built up the windows of the front gateway in the manner shown in the Photograph.'

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