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Secrets up inside the Tanjore Big Temple

The 216 feet Vimana

The 216 feet Vimana

Magnificence of GOD over mortals - Size compared

Magnificence of GOD over mortals - Size compared



Side View

Side View

From the entrance

From the entrance

The other Mandapams

The other Mandapams

Complete VIew

Complete VIew



Intricate architecture

Intricate architecture

Stone Horse

Stone Horse



From the front outside!

From the front outside!

Inside View of the hollow structure - the only one I could find on the internet

Inside View of the hollow structure - the only one I could find on the internet

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


Groovyraj@hotmail.com on May 29, 2017:

Deepika is right.

I had a similar experience by accident.

I live in Bangalore & was attending a wedding in Tanjore.

Was 10 years old (1975)

A relative an IAS officer happed to visit the Big temple & tagged along.

I remember going up the gopuram by very very narrow steps.

About 3 adults & my self .. stopped at a room as small as a elevator & also saw some very very old murals painted on the walls & was as old as the temple.

Now it's impossible to go there..

All sorts of restrictions.

I love the Big temple.

balaji on April 08, 2017:


Shaloo Walia from India on October 08, 2015:

informative hub with beautiful pictures!

nandhini on October 11, 2014:

I want to know about how the topmost kept in vimanam and did the shiva lingam grows? how?

sakthi sha on July 19, 2014:

It was amazing ..about our temples ...

Kuppuraj on July 19, 2014:

I am a great fan of Big Temple.. YOUR interest in history is indeed great.

Let us all make it as one of the wonders of the world.

Deepika Arun (author) from Chennai, India on July 11, 2014:

Hi Vinoth,

I don't have e-book link for Udayar. I read the physical book and I prefer reading that way. It's available in almost all book stores!



Vinothkannan on July 10, 2014:

Its amazing , can you able to share the book which your are telling about that Udayar which deals in detail about the various social, economic and political factors that played roles in constructing this phenomenal structure,

If you can kindly mail that link or pdf to my

email id : niet.vinoth@gmail.com

Deepika Arun (author) from Chennai, India on May 17, 2014:

Thanks Madhumita! :)

madhumita patra on May 17, 2014:

Nice! I liked it.

Deepika Arun (author) from Chennai, India on April 02, 2014:

I don't have the number unfortunately. But, last time I visited the guide shifted to another temple. He is no longer there.

Deepika Arun (author) from Chennai, India on April 02, 2014:

There is no special procedure as such. From what I heard, nowadays they aren't allowing anyone and it has become stricter. You can try your luck visiting the temple and asking the guide there.

Bharani on March 31, 2014:

Hi, is it possible for you to share the phone number of the Guide?


akilashanmugaraj on February 08, 2014:

hi I'm akila from chennai.A fourth year architecture student.im greatly interested inthis article and im eager to experience what u did.may i kno the procedure

k.priyanka on December 04, 2013:

i luv history very much so i will search about the temple i want to know more about the temple

Deepika Arun (author) from Chennai, India on June 05, 2012:

Thanka Uncle OT! I shared this link to you for the photographs only as you had commented on my photographs taken on Diwali!

Uncle OT on June 05, 2012:

And your interest in photography shows in your composition.

Uncle OT on June 05, 2012:

Your experience of GOD reminded me of this post: http://ulaavarum.blogspot.in/2007/10/god-of-all-th...

S.Venkatesan on May 05, 2012:

Deepi Good Start. I liked the expression of your feelings when you experienced the bliss. Continue your work.

Archana on May 04, 2012:

Well written Deepika. A creation to marvel at.

Disillusioned from Kerala, India on May 04, 2012:

Good one. I wish you write a book review of Udayar of Balakumaran.

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