As we are much familiar with the big temple of Thanjavur, there’s another identical temple at the Chola capital 280 km away, built by Rajendra Chola, the son of Raja Raja Chola. The Temple has a wonderful significance that here Shiva is glorified as a woman. The Brihadeshwara temple at Thanjavur has a larger vimana, but, this temple has a smaller one, but was intentionally done as the King chose not to disrespect the earlier monument.

The Temple also has wonderful architecture and was built in the style of stone interlocking without using any gluing material. Here Shiva is seen as descending on earth on a pod. The linga measures thirteen feet tall, being the biggest Linga in south India. This temple, along with the Big Temple and Airavatesvara temple are in the UNESCO world heritage sites. Here there’s a vivid image that shows Shiva and Lady Parvati crowning the prince, which symbolises that he’s getting crowned by the divine within.

King Rajendra Chola played a key role in India history that he patronaged art and culture and he’s the father-in-law to Eastern Chalukya King Raja Raja Narendra, the establisher of Rajamahendravaram city. The Temple of Gangaikonda also bears the similar characteristics of the Big Temple that the shadow of the Vimana can be seen during noon as it will be absorbed by the tower itself. The tower was built in square in the base, octagon in the middle and cylindrical in the upper portion and bears the huge capstone as the Brihadishwara temple, but smaller. The temple preserved many inscriptions intact till today.

-Viswanath Venkat Dasari.