Posted on: 15 April 2017

Brihadishvara Temple complex in Thanjavur - The pyramidal gateway at entrance - 1868

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 that this photograph was an enlarged view of the Pyramidal Tower that stands over the entrance and was taken from outside the fort.

Text and image credit:
Copyright The British Library Board


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