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Tanjore Pagoda. General view of inner court

Tanjore Pagoda. General view of inner court

Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 212/4(18)

Item number: 212418

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 'After passing through the gateway...the visitor enters a great court-yard, about 500 feet long by about 250 in width. At the further end of the court stands the great Pagoda itself, and in front of it, half-way between it and the gateway, stands the pavilion of the bull Nundi, as shown in the Photograph.'

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