Secrets up inside the Tanjore Big Temple
The Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur was never a spiritual temple for me. I never had the feel or peace I usually have in Shiva temples, near the shiva lingam in this temple which has mind blowing architecture.
I have always been intrigued by the marvelous architecture of this super brilliant temple which has a Vimana height of about 216 feet! I did my graduation in a university which is about 20 kilometers away from the temple. Sadly, in the four years I was there at college, I barely visited the temple twice or thrice!
After marriage, thanks to the similar interests that me and husband share, we visited the temple and arranged for a guide to explain about the different aspects of the temple. The guide took about an hour to explain the various fascinating things about the temple and the great king who built it - Raja Raja Chozhan!
The guide then told us that there is a secret staircase which will take us 40 feet above the lingam and that it is usually allowed only for VVIPs. We literally begged the guide to take us there and he said he will try to take us next time we visit and shared with us his number!
This particular guide is a government appointed guy and had a lot of valid facts and figures that we already knew about the temple. The next time we decided to visit was after about 6 months, this time we were determined to go up above the lingam.
So we called this guide and we had good and bad news! The bad news was that he was transferred to another temple in another district but the good news was that his hometown being Thanjavur, he was there for the weekend and that he would try to introduce us to the new guide and try to take us through the secret staircase!
In the six months gap, I started reading the book - Udayar which deals in detail about the various social, economic and political factors that played roles in constructing this phenomenal structure. This aroused my interests even more in going up 40 feet above the garbagriha.
The D-Day came and we went to the Big Temple with our guide and to our luck, we had a VIP (a sop actor) visiting the temple and its secrets! Along with her, we were taken via the staircase up into the temple.
When we reached there was this outer Pragaram which was just above the lingam! Apparently this was where the great Chozha king came to worship Lord Shiva! The mere thought was enthralling!
Then we finally entered the most awaited room - the place directly above the shiva lingam! The area was entirely dark except for the little light that came through the entrance. The guide was explaining to us about the different architectural techniques used 1000 years back.
Though I have read that the 216 feet high Vimana is hollow on the inside, never did I dream that I would be able to see it through my eyes! The guide was now talking about the same point when the lights inside were suddenly switched on!
For a second I stopped breathing - 1000 years back a temple built fully with stone when there was no stone available in the nearby areas, a 216 feet hollow structure which has withstood all natural phenomena - built of interlocking stones without any binding material! Seeing the hollow structure in the neon light showed me GOD!
Then the guide asked us to say "OHM", when all of us uttered the mantra - the effect was scintillating. The vibrations created by the echo was definitely an immortal experience.
This experience of mine made me realize that without some blessing from GOD, such views cannot be witnessed. I consider myself extremely blessed to have had this Darshan!
All photos except the last one were taken by me during my visit.
* Vimana - Tower
* Darshan - View
* lingam - representation of Lord Shiva in temples for worship
* garbagriha - place inside the temple where the deity is placed
- Raja Raja Chola I - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Man, the King, the Great Soul who made the temple possible!
Udayar - the book which gives a lot of information about the construction
- Brihadeeswarar Temple - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
To know more about the temple :)