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Gangaikondacholapuram is an ancient site and a large temple located in Tamil Nadu, India. Built in the 11th century by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, it has great historical significance. The name "Gangai Kondacholapuram" refers to the arrival of the Chola empire which spans the river Ganga, making it the capital of the Chola Empire.
Gangai Konda Cholapuram was constructed as the Chola capital after Rajendra Chola I's victorious military campaign in the Ganges region.
The place is known for its architectural glory and masterpiece. The grandeur of the temple is a testament to the architectural and technological prowess of the Chola empire.
The main attraction in Gangai Kondacholpur is the Brihadishwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is reminiscent of the Brihadishwara Temple at Thanjavur, built by Rajendra Chola, father of Rajendra Chola.
The vimana of the Brihadeeswarar Temple is not as tall as its counterpart in Thanjavur but is notable for its unique design. The kalasha (crowning ornament) on top is made of a single granite block, known as Ekashila Kalasha.
Adjacent to the Brihadeeswarar Temple is the Periya Nayaki Amman Temple, dedicated to Goddess Parvati. This temple is smaller but equally rich in artistic detailing.
There is a site museum near the temple that displays artifacts and sculptures from the Chola period, providing additional insights into the history and art of the region.
Gangai Konda Cholapuram is located near Jayankondam in the Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu, approximately 70 kilometers northeast of Thanjavur.
Gangai Konda Cholapuram, along with the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur and the Airavatesvara Temple in Darasuram, collectively form the "Great Living Chola Temples," which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Gangai Konda Cholapuram stands as a significant historical and architectural marvel, providing a glimpse into the cultural and artistic achievements of the Chola dynasty during the medieval period in South India.