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Day 23 – Q 4. Examine the contribution of Cholas in the development of temple architecture in India.

4. Examine the contribution of Cholas in the development of temple architecture in India.

भारत में मंदिर वास्तुकला के विकास में चोलों के योगदान की जांच करें।


The Chola period saw the culmination of Dravida temple art resulting in the most sophisticated buildings of medieval India.  The Tamil Nadu temples were fully evolved in their style and design by the 8th century.


Special features of Chola architecture:

  • The dvarapalas, or guardian figures, at the entrance to the mandapa, or hall which started from the Pallava period became a unique feature of the Chola temples
  • The Dravidian Style got fully developed after a transition from the rock cut structures of the Pallava Period.
  • Early Chola temples at the Bank of river Kaveri were smaller and brick made, in comparison to the colossus buildings of the Imperial Cholas.
  • The temples of the Imperial Cholas are covered with exquisite well composed sculptures and frescoes.
  • Largest and tallest of all Indian temples i.e. Siva Temple of Thanjore was built in Chola Period.
  • Ganas, among the sculptures at the temple, are the most memorable figures made in Chola temples.
  • Chola temples are noted for the sculptures and ornamental works. Gopurams of these temples were meaningful. 
  • Sanctum of the Chola temples is both circular and square in size. Inner side of the external walls and the sanctum were beautified.
  • On the upper side of the sanctum special vimanas are built. Dome shaped sikhara and kalasa were also there on the top of Gopurams.
  • Many temples are having pillared mandapams namely arthamandapa, mahamandapa and nandi mandapa. Sculptures and inscriptions are also fixed on the walls of these temples.


  1. Vijayalaya Cholisvara Temple, Thanjore

The earliest Chola Temple we find at Narthamalai, where Vijayalaya Chola commissioned a temple named “Vijayalaya Cholisvara” temple, dedicated to lord Shiva

  1. Koranganatha Temple, Srinivasanallur Koranganatha Temple is located at Srinivasanallur, in Tiruchirapalli District, on the banks of river Cauvery. This temple was built by Parantaka Chola -I . The base of this temple has the sculpted mythical animals  ‘Yazhi’ . Yazhi is a recurring pattern and unique feature of Chola architecture.
  2. Brihadeswarar Temple of Tanjore: Brihadeswarar Temple or Peruvudaiyar Kovil or Rajrajeshwaram temple at Thanjavur is the world’s first complete “granite” temple. It was built by Rajraja Chola-I and is a part of UNESCO’s world Heritage sites. The Vimana or the temple tower (known as Raja Gopuram)  is 216 Feet in height and is one of the tallest buildings of its kind. The Nandi is carved out of a single rock.
  3. Brihadisvara temple, Gangaikondacholapuram Brihadisvara temple at Gangaikondacholapuram was made by King Rajaraja’s son Rajendra I, who assumed the title “Gangaikonda”


Thus Cholas contributed extensively to temple architecture and their  rule is often referred to golden era of temple construction in Tamil Nadu.

Best  Answer: Dazyrani

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