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Photographer's Note

One more from my Thanjavur holiday stable. The Periya Kovil or the Big Temple was built by Raja Raja Chola during the 10th Century AD. This Kovil is an outpouring of artistic excellence. In those days, temple building was not just an expression of artistic talent, but also a way of life for the fabric of society was woven round the Kovil.

The Kovil is entered through a gateway in the east and through two Gopurams or towers called the Keralaanthagan Gopuram signifying Raja Raja Chola's victory over the Kerala King Baskararavivarma and Rajarajan Gopuram.

The magnificent view of the tower called the "Sri Vimana" appears as one enters the huge open courtyard from the Rajarajan Gopuram. The Srivimanam is pyramidcal in structure and is 60.96 meters tall. The foundation for this magnum opus is only seven feet deep it is constructed in such a way that the weight of the Vimanam is evenly distributed on itself.

The top the pyramid is reduced into a neck and holds the Vimana or Sikhara which is a monolithic huge rock spherical in shape. Its approximate weight is 81.28 tones. Leads you to wonder how this was accomplished more than 1,000 years ago without the aid of any modern machinery.

With the people in the shot, you can measure for yourself the size of the Gopuram. I am awestruck everytime I visit this place which is once every two to three years.

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Additional Photos by Guru Prasad (gpsony) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 128 W: 13 N: 97] (448)
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