Massive towers or vimanas were the main features of the Chola architecture. The best example of such temples was the Brihadeshwara or the Shiva temple at Thanjavur.
The Chola Architecture
- The Chola rulers built several temples, canals, roads, cities, and palaces. They built most temples in the Dravidian style.
- Earlier they built simple structures, but later, temples began to be constructed on a magnificent and grand scale.
- While the gateway of the temple was known as gopuram, the main shrine of the temple was known as garbhagriha. The images of gods and goddesses were kept in the garbhagriha.
- Massive towers or vimanas were the main features of the Chola architecture. The best example of such temples was the Brihadeshwara or the Shiva temple at Thanjavur.
- The temples built in the capital Gangaikonda Cholapuram were magnificent and are fine examples of Chola architecture.
- The Cholas seemed perfect in making the images of gods and goddesses. Many bronze images were made during this period.
- The bronze image of Lord Shiva as Natraja or the Lord of Dance is an excellent work of art. The image of Natraja has been described as the cultural epitome of the Chola Period.
The Temples and Society
- The temple in the Chola kingdom was the main centre of social activity. It was not only a place of worship but also a place where people gathered.
- The wealthy and richer section of society gave donations to the temples.
- Some temples also owned lands and participated in inland and overseas trade. Sometimes, instead of giving land grants, land revenues of certain villages were assigned to the temples and the villagers had to pay the revenue to the temples.
- The temples employed people in large numbers and were the biggest employer after the state. The temple authorities also looked after the necessities of the people and arranged education for children and built hospitals.
Also, Read Medieval India – South India and Cholas