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Tanjore Pagoda. Pyramidal gateway at entrance to inner court

Tanjore Pagoda. Pyramidal gateway at entrance to inner court

Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 212/4(17)

Item number: 212417

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 gave the following description of this photograph: 'To enter the Fort it is necessary to proceed northward along the high road for about 400 yards, and crossing the ditch, return by a road parallel to the entrance; passing thence under the gate-tower just described, the visitor finds himself opposite the entrance to the inner court, as represented in this view. Though smaller, it is of the same character, both as regards style, and the nature of the subjects represented as the outer gateway.'

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