View from the east of the south Kailasanatha Shrine in the Brihadishvara Temple, Gangaikondacholapuram
Photographer: Rea, Alexander
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the south Kailasanatha shrine in the Brihadishvara Temple at Gangaikondacholapuram, taken by Alexander Rea around 1892. The great Brihadishvara Temple at Gangaikondacholapuram was erected by the Chola emperor Rajendra to rival the temple of the same name at Thanjavur constructed by his predecessor Rajaraja I. The temple is situated in a large courtyard entered through a gopura and consists of a square sanctuary surrounded by a circumambulatory passageway. Two halls or mandapas precede the shrine and are approached by two flights of steps. Two large figures of dvara-palas or guardians guard the entrance. The outer walls are decorated with fine Chola sculptures representing various aspects of Shiva and have double pilasters elevated on a moulded basement. The sanctuary is covered by a nine-storey tower. In the temple enclosure there are two subsidiary shrines dedicated to Kailasanatha. This is a general view of the southernmost of the two similar Kailasanatha shrines, with the mandapa in the foreground.