World Heritage Sites of Tamilnadu
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites are the worlds most popular places which are selected by UNESCO in the aim for protecting and preserving those sites which stands as an remarkable and excellent example of culture and tradition. It may be buildings, architectural temples, cities, deserts, forests, mountains, monuments, lakes, etc. Tamilnadu has got a significant recognition from UNESCO because of its architectural buildings built by the kings in their time period. There are four sites of which three are in Thanjavur and one in Chennai. The Brihadeeswarar Temple at Thanjavur, the Temple of Gangaikonda Cholesvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram stands as an example of the best architectural style of the Great Living Cholas and are thus called as the Chola temples. Temples. Though the Cholas are not there in the world their temples reveals the power, wealth and the true belief they had on the Lord the Almighty.
Natural and Cultural criterias for a site to become UNESCO World Heritage Site
• The place must be outstanding and should have a universal value.
• It should be excellent and should stand as an example of human creative genius.
• The place must depict the culture prevailing in that area or should exhilbit human values.
• It should portray on monumental arts, town-planning, or landscape design.
• It must be a unique testimony of any tradition or any civilization which has prevailed in the past or in present
• The place should illustrate the ancient peoples style of architecture which should depict the complete artistic skills.
• It should act as an example depicting traditional human settlement, the usage of land or sea which may portray the culture or man-environment interaction.
• Must have a direct association either with living traditions and beliefs or with artistic and literary works which has got an universal significance
• Must portray and stand as an example depicting the beauty of the nature.
• Must act as an example for explaining the stages of Earth's history, geological processes which as occurred in the development of landforms.
• Must act as an example which represents ecological and biological processes in the evolution of various species in the world.
• Must contain the natural habitats for in-situ conservation and the place must have a universal value portraying the conservation of environment.
UNESCO sites in Tamilnadu
UNESCO has a list of 29 World Heritage sites in India out of which four of them are in Tamil Nadu. They are as follows:
1. Airavateswara Temple near Kumbakonam.
2. Brihadeeswarar Temple (Big Temple) at Thanjavur
3. Monuments at Mahabalipuram near Chennai
4. Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple at Jayakondam.
Airavateswara Temple near Kumbakonam
Airavateswara Temple referred as the Great Living Chola Temple by UNESCO and was declared as the UNESCO heritage site in the year 2004. This is a Hindu Saivaite temple built in the 12th century by Rajaraja Chola II. Airavateswara Temple is located in a place called Darasuram near Kumbakonam.
This main deity of the Airavateswara temple is Lord Shiva, who is named as Airavateshwara. The story behind this Airavateshwara temple is Indra's white elephant "Airavata" who suffered from color change because of a curse from Durvasa Munnivar. Airvata worshipped Lord Shiva and had a bath in the temple tank which restored its color. Thus the lord was named as Airavateshwara and the temple as Airavateshwara temple.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple at Jayakondam
Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the capital of the Cholas was built by Rajendra Chola I who is the son of Great Rajaraja Chola. This temple was built after he captured the Ganga dynasty. The Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple is one of the famous temple of Lord Siva which stands as a remarkable example of the architectural skills of the Cholas. The place was well-planned and structured in accordance to stand as the headquarters of the Cholas.
Brihadeeswarar Temple (Big Temple) at Thanjavur
Thanjavur is a place well-known for its art and architecture. The
Brihadeeswarar Temple was recognized as UNESCO's World Heritage Site in the year 1987. The Big Temple or Brihadeeswarar Temple stands in the center place of Thanjavur. This is the world's first granite temple which portrays the temple architecture of the Cholas. The temple was built by RajaRaja Chola I and it took about 6 years for completion. The temple was name as Rajarajesvaram and the main deity Lord Shiva is known as "Peruvudaiyar". The temple has got a very big Nandi or the bull which weighs 25 tons. This temple is a very important tourist place where we can see tourists from all over the world admiring the beauty of the sculpture in the Big temple.
Monuments at Mahabalipuram near Chennai
Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram is located about 60 km from Chennai city. It is one of the beautiful tourist places of South India. It acted as a port city of the Pallava dynasty in Tamil Nadu in the 7th century. Mahabalipuram's archaeological remains stands as a very good example of the Dravidian architecture. The Pallavas constructed seven granite temples called as The Seven Pagodas. Six temples were washed off by the sea and now only one temple remains. The place is amallapuram. The name Mamallapuram was derived from the Great Pallava King Narasimhavarman I, who was popularly called as Mamallan. Some of the important structures in Mahabalipuram are as follows:
• Descent of the Ganges
• Arjuna's Penance
• Varaha Cave Temple
• The Shore Temple
• Pancha Rathas
Visit all these four places and feel proud to have these UNESCO Heritage Sites in Tamilnadu
Hi Mangala mam,
An astonishing article. I haven't heard about this before. It makes me happy that Tamilnadu has got four UNESCO heritage site. I had already visited Brihadeeswarar Temple when I was small but I dont that it is UNESCO heritage site.