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Published: December 26th 2019
21st Dec 2019
I am staying at Tanjore. You can not get a direct bus to Gangai Konda Cholapuram bus from Tanjore directly. Need to go to Kumbakonam first
Boarded the bus to Kumbakonam at 7.50 am paid Rs 30. Reached Kumbakonam by 9 am. From Kumbakonam boarded the bus to Jayakundam bus at 9.15 am paid rs 22, reached Jayakundam at 10.15 am. Got the bus to Anakal BY 10.20 am which goes via Gangaikonda Cholapuram . Reached Gangaikonda Cholapuramby 10.50 am Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Gangaikonda Cholapuram is a Village located near to Jayankondam, Tamil Nadu, India. It became the capital of the Chola dynasty in AD 1025 during the reign of Rajendra Chola I, and served as the Chola capital for around 250 years.
The town is about approximately 125 kilometers northeast of Tiruchirapalli international airport. As of 2014, the ancient city exists as a heritage town in the Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu, India. The great temple of Brihadeeswarar Temple at this place is next only to the Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur in its monumental nature and surpasses it in sculptural quality. It has been recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO
The city was founded by Rajendra Chola I to commemorate his victory over the Pala Dynasty. The name means The town of the Chola who took over Ganga (water from Ganga) or who defeated (the kings near), Ganga. It is now a small village, its past eminence only remembered by the existence of the great Lord Maha Shiva Temple. The Chola empire included the whole of southern India to the river Thungabadhra in the north. For administrative and strategic purposes they built another capital and named it Gangaikondacholapuram.
The surviving temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram was completed in 1035 AD. Rajendra emulated the temple built by his father after his victory in a campaign across India that Chola era texts state covered Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Bengal. After his victory, he demanded that the defeated kingdoms send pots of Ganges River water and pour it into the well of this temple.
Rajendra I, states the Tamil tradition, thereafter assumed the name of Gangaikonda Cholan, meaning the one who conquered the Ganges. He established Gangaikonda Cholapuram as his capital from the medieval Chola capital of Thanjavur, which would go on to become the capital for the next 250 years.
Rajendra I built the entire capital with several temples using plans and infrastructure recommended in Tamil Vastu and Agama sastra texts. These included a Dharma Sasta, Vishnu and other temples. However, all of these were destroyed in the late 13th and 14th centuries except the Brihadishvara temple. The other Chola landmarks are evidenced by soil covered mounds and excavated broken pillar stumps and brick walls found over an area of several kilometers from the surviving temple.
The reasons for the city's destruction are unclear. According to Vansanthi, the Pandyas who defeated the Cholas during the later part of the 13th century "may have razed the city to the ground" to avenge their previous defeats. However, it is unclear why other temples were destroyed and this temple was spared, as well as why there are around 20 inscriptions from later Cholas, Pandyas and Vijayanagar Empire indicting various gifts and grants to this temple. An alternate theory links the destruction to the raids and wars, particularly with the invasion of the capital city and the territories that were earlier a part by the Chola Empire along with Madurai by the armies of Delhi Sultanate led by the Muslim commander Malik Kafur
in 1311, followed by Khusrau Khan in 1314 and Muhammad bin Tughlaq in 1327. The period that followed saw wars between the Hindu kings and the Muslim Sultans who seceded the Delhi Sultanate and carved out new polity such as the nearby Madurai Sultanate (1335–1378). The Vijayanagara Empire defeated the Madurai Sultanate in 1378 and this temple along with other Chola era temples thereafter came under Hindu kings again who repaired and restored many of them. The temple has been re-consecrated in 2017 with the installation of a dwajasthambam and performing maha kumbhabhishekam
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