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UNESCO’s World Heritage sites in Tamilnadu


U – United

N – Nations

E – Scientific

C – Cultural

O – Organisation

UNESCO is an organization that ensures our rich social and recorded heredity and spreading harmony throughout the world. This specific association takes enormous measures in ensuring the absolute most important man-made fortunes across the world. Furthermore, in India UNESCO had recorded 29 world Heritage locales, in which four are from Tamilnadu.

Tamil Nadu is well eminent for its temple towns and heritage sites. The state boasts the most important tourism industry in India and hottest tourist destination within the country with highest number of foreign arrivals.

The state is additionally home to an outsized number of historic buildings, religious sites and heritage monuments, designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO’s Sites of Tamilnadu
  • Airavateswara Temple near Kumbakonam
  • Brihadishvara Temple at Thanjavur
  • Gangaikanda Cholapuram Temple at Jayankondam
  • Monuments at Mahabalipuram near Chennai

Generally the above Four sites are categorised in to two groups. The First three all together known as Great Living Chola Temples and remaining one is the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram.

Incredible Living Chola Temples 

 The Great Living Chola Temples were built by kings of the Chola Empire, which stretched over all of south India and the adjoining islands. The site incorporates three extraordinary eleventh and twelfth century Temples: the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. The Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram, built by Rajendra I, was finished in 1035. Its 53-m vimana (sanctum tower) has recessed corners and an effortless vertical bending development, diverging from the straight and extreme pinnacle at Thanjavur. The Airavatesvara sanctuary unpredictable, worked by Rajaraja II, at Darasuram highlights a 24-m vimana and a stone picture of Shiva. The sanctuaries vouch for the splendid accomplishments of the Chola in design, figure, painting and bronze projecting.

Criteria for Great Living Chola Temples 

Criterion (i): The three Chola temples of Southern India represent an impressive creative achievement within the architectural conception of the pure sort of the dravida sort of temple.


Criterion (ii): The Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur became the primary great example of the Chola temples, followed by a development of which the opposite two properties also bear witness.


Criterion (iii): The three Great Chola Temples are an exceptional therefore the refore the greatest testimony to the event of the architecture of the Chola Empire and the Tamil civilisation in Southern India.


Criterion (iv): The Great Chola temples at Thanjavur, at Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram are outstanding samples of the architecture and therefore the representation of the Chola ideology.

Generally the above Four sites are categorized in to two groups. The First three all together known as Great Living Chola Temples and remaining one is the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram.

Airavatesvara Temple near Kumbakonam

Airavatheeswara Temple at Darasuram

                                 Airavatesvara Temple

A ways off of 8 km from Kumbakonam, and 34 km from Thanjavur, Darasuram Airavathesvara Temple is an ancient Hindu temple situated at Darasuram town close to Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu.

It is one of the famous spots of heritage in Tamilnadu, and among the best places to visit as a feature of Kumbakonam visit.

Airavatesvara Temple in Darasuram is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

An UNESCO world heritage site, it’s anything but a piece of the mainstream triplet known as the Great Living Chola Temple alongside Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur and the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

Airavatesvara Temple was built by the Chola King Rajaraja Chola II in the twelfth century CE. It is among the eighteen middle age period Hindu sanctuaries in the Kumbakonam region.

The altar shows the Vaishnavism and Shaktism legs of Hinduism, and the customary Nayanars-the Bhakti holy people of Shaivism.

As per the Hindu Mythology Airavateswara Temple is Indra’s vagan white elephant “Airavata” who suffered from color change because of a curse from Durvasa Munnivar. Airavata worshipped Lord Shiva and had a bath in the temple tank which restored its color. Thus the lord was named as Airavateshwarar and the temple as Airavatesvara Temple.

This story is additionally cut in stone in the inward offices of the hallowed place.

Airavatesvara Temple is one of the four sanctuaries worked by the Cholas altogether on stone Vimana’s.

Despite the fact that a lot more modest in size when contrasted with the Brihadishvara temple at Thanjavur and Gangaikondacholapuram.

This temple is diverse as it is profoundly elaborate in execution. The temple comprises of a sanctum and pivotal mandapas.

The front mandapa referred to in the engravings as Rajagambhiran Tirumandapam is extraordinary as it was conceptualized as a chariot with wheels.

The mainstays of this mandapa are profoundly fancy.

This chariot corridor has complicatedly cut advances going from east to west.

 It is accepted that when one strolls on them they produce charming music. They are accordingly, known as ‘singing advances’.

The principle divinity’s associate Periya Nayaki Amman sanctuary is arranged adjoining Airavateshwarar sanctuary.

The temple has more modest sanctuaries committed to a few Vedic and Puranic gods including Indra, Agni, Varuna, Vayu, Brahma, Surya, Vishnu, Saptamtrikas, Durga, Saraswati, Sri Devi (Lakshmi), Ganga, Yamuna, Subrahmanya, Ganesha, Kama, Rati, and others.

Numerous models from this sanctuary like the full arrangement of Bhikshatana with rishi patnis in different temperaments are presently protected in the Thanjavur Art Gallery.

Airavatesvara Temple referred to as the Great Living Chola Temple by UNESCO and was declared as the UNESCO heritage site in the year 2004.

Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur

Brihadeeshwarar Temple at Thanjavur 1 1

                                           Brihadisvara Temple

Brihadishvara temple also known as Rajarajeswaram or Peruvudaiyār Kōvil.

The original name of the deity was Rajarajeshwar and the main deity Lord Shiva is known as Peruvudaiyar.

The Marathas who gave it the name Brihadeeshwara or the Great Ishwara

This is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in South bank of Cauvery River in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.

This temple was built by Raja Raja Cholan and his sister Kundavai, both Passionate enthusiast of Lord Shiva.

It is one of the largest South Indian temples and a model illustration of a completely Tamil architecture.

The temple wall Inscriptions point that Kunjara Mallan Raja Raja Perunthachan as the chief architect of the temple

The temple built In between 1003 and 1010 AD it took 6 years .

The main Vimanam, which is at about 200 feet, is often called Dakshin Meru or Southern Meru

The top most part of the Raja Gopuram of Brihadisvara temple is a single stone, weighing 80 tons

The Lingam inside the sanctorum weighs around 20 tons

81 stances of Bharatanatiyam were cut external the sanctuary

No limiting specialists like concrete were utilised, the sanctuary was simply work by interlocking the stones, and the entire sanctuary is developed with rock stones, such a designing wonder

The colouring agents utilised for the never-ending works of art inside the sanctuary was extricated from nature like blossoms, rocks, tree trunk

The temple tower height is 216 feet and the Tamil combining letters is 216

The height of Lingam is 12 feet and the Tamil vowel letters is 12

The distance between Lingama and Nandhi is 247 and the total Tamil letters is 247

The temple lingam pidam is 18 feet and the Tamil consonants letters is 18

The main temple is entirely built of Granite more than 1,30,000 tons of Granite uses to built it.

The cutting and carving of Granite stone is not an easy task even today we can’t even imagine how this could be possible in those days. The most important thing there is no Granite Quarry in about 100 Kms radius of the temple. This means that transportation these stones would have been a difficult task.

The Brihadisvara Temple was recognized as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in the year 1987

Gangaikanda Cholapuram Temple at Jayankondam

Gangai Konda Cholapuram Temple

                      Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple

Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva in Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Jayankondam, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu

The temple was constructed in 1035 AD by Rajendra Chola I (1014-44 CE), the son of the famous Chola king Raja Raja Chola I

Gangaikonda Cholapuram Brihadeeswara Temple is just a replica of the masterpiece Thanjavur Big temple

After the victory over the Ganga dynasty, Rajendra Cholan built this incredible piece of art at his headquarters Gangaikonda Cholapuram

The grand colossal Nandhi is carved out and positioned in the same way as in Brahadeeswarar temple.

One can track down the five sanctums in this sanctuary and a lion well, which is supposed to be added during the nineteenth century.

The symbol of Nandi is etched so that it mirrors the daylight to the sanctum.

The Nandi is etched in plaster and fallen stones, a stone known as Chandrakanta is said to have been laid in the sanctum, which assists the region with staying cool during summers and warms the region up throughout the colder time of year season

It is based on a raised design with a rectangular patio. The sanctum is drawn closer through an ordered mukha mandapa which filled in as the supplication corridor and an ardha mandapa

The sanctum is worked by 6 feet high dwarapalaka, the gatekeeper divinities. The vimana over the place of worship is 180 feet high just marginally more modest than that of thanjavur sanctuary.

The well carvings of the sanctum deficiency gods, for example, Nataraja, Saraswati and shiva garlanding a fan noticeably among numerous others.

Monuments at Mahabalipuram near Chennai

Mahabalipuram 1

                  Seashore Temple Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram otherwise called as Mamallapuram is known for its charming seashore and incredible rock sculptures.

The Name Mamallapuram was gotten from the Great Pallava King Narasimhavarman I who was popularly called as Mamallan.

It is on the Coromandel Coast of the Inlet of Bengal, about 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu

The town has a assortment of 7th- and 8th-century Hindu religious monuments that has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It acts as a Port City of Pallava dynasty in Tamilnadu in 7th Century

The Pallava built 7 Granite temples called as Seven Pagodas.

In reality six sanctuaries were built on those days were washed off by the ocean and now staying just a single sanctuary as of now.

The cavern sanctuaries and solid sanctuaries were worked during the Pallava Time frame

The site has 40 antiquated landmarks and Hindu sanctuaries including Plummet of the Ganges or Arjuna’s Atonement – one of the biggest outdoors rock help on the planet


The site incorporates a few classes of landmarks

Ratha sanctuaries with a design of stone monument processional chariots worked somewhere in the range of 630 and 668 CE

The mandapa viharas with lobbies and stone rooftops with accounts from the Mahabharata, Shaktism and Vaishnavism

Rock reliefs especially bas-reliefs of Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism;

Stone slice sanctuaries especially those committed to Shiva that likewise respectfully shows Vishnu and others, worked somewhere in the range of 695 and 722 CE


Some significant constructions incorporate


Plummet of the Ganges or Arjuna’s Repentance – a goliath outdoors rock help

Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots) – five solid pyramidal constructions named after the Pandavas (Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishtra, Nakula and Sahadeva) and Draupadi. Each of these is cut from one single separate enormous piece of stone

Cavern Sanctuaries – more than ten stone slice sanctuaries tracing all the way back to the seventh century. These incorporate the Varaha, Adi Varaha, Krishna, Mahishasuramardini (Durga), Ramanuja, Dharmaraja, Koneri, Kotikal, Panchapandava and others


The Shore Sanctuary – an underlying sanctuary along the Narrows of Bengal with the passageway from the western side away from the ocean. Late unearthings have uncovered new constructions here.

Other primary sanctuaries including the Olakkanesvara sanctuary and the beacon, alongside rock-cut highlights like the Draupadi’s tank and Krishna’s tubby

Thirukadalmallai, the sanctuary devoted to Ruler Vishnu.

The impact of the figure of mahabalipuram portrayed by delicateness and flexible mass of their displaying, spread generally Combodia, Java and Annam – Vietnam


On 12 October 2019, Indian Executive Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a casual meet at Mahabalipuram. Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping visited places like Arjuna’s Repentance, Pancha Rathas and Shore Sanctuary and later clarified about the figures and works of art to the Chinese president. Later both gave a posture before Krishna’s Butter Ball.

The above article Source http://whc.unesco.org