|Architecture of Brihadisvara Temple|
The temple was located at the center of the Gangaikondacholapuram city and occupies around 6 acres of land. There seems to be 2 Praharams surrounding the Srivimana, most of the wall is destructed and the Granite rocks where used to construct the Lower Anicut during the British rule. The remains of these outer wall is very less and one can judge the actual size of the temple if it had remained, whereas the second wall has the gopuram completely destructed and from the height of the entrance one could estimate the height of the second gopuram. Archeological Survey of India has renovated the Srivimana and painted it beautifully after the chemical cleaning. The sight of the Srivimana from this second entrance is magnificent and beautiful. A western historian who studied Gangaikondacholesvaram compared the structural difference of this Srivimana with that of Rajaraja-I's Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur and mentioned that this Srivimana is of feminine structure and the Tanjore Srivimana as masculine in nature. The main difference that is obvious is this Srivimana has 8 sided (Octagonal) in structure and Thanjavur Srivimana has 4 sided (Quadragonal) in structure.
The basement of Srivimana is 100 feet by 100 feet and the foundation is square in structure and raises 20 feet above the ground level. The 3 lower stages houses many beautiful masterpiece sculptures of chola period including the Laxmi (goddess of wealth), Gana Saraswathi (goddess of knowledge), Ardhanareeswarar ( Shiva and Sakthi in equal but in one form), Shiva blessing Chandigeswarar with along Parvathi. One has to enjoy the beauty and the elegance and these fine masterpieces by visiting Gangaikondacholesvaram no words or even the photographs that we have taken are only our attempt to bring this 1000 year old art and architecture near to the readers.
There are many shrines inside this temple found on the 2nd praharam (circumventing path), Mahisasuramardhini shrine, Amman shrine, Chandigeswarar shrine, Ganapathy shrine etc., There was Nataraja Mandapam now totally destroyed and only the remains were found. There were special Poojas for Mahisasuramardhini every month.