UNESCO world Heritage Sites - Tamil Nadu
United Nation Education Scientific and Cultural organization (UNESCO) has stated following World Heritage Sites in Tamil Nadu in different location such as Darasuram, Chola Temple, Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), Thanjavur Big Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Nilgiri’s Mountain Train.
Darasuram – Tamil Nadu
Darasuram is 4 Kms from Kumbakonam. This temple built by Raja Chola dedicated to Lord Siva, is either called as Darasuram temple or Airavateswara Temple. This is well preserved temple of the 12th century Chola Kingdom. The columns of the temple have unique and excellent miniature sculptures. This is termed as one of the Great Living Chola Temples along with Big Temple and the Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple.
During the 14th century the large stone statues surrounding the temple was replaced with brick and mortar statues similar to that of Big Temple at Thanjavur. Archaeological Survey of India has restored the temple. UNESCO declared it as World Heritage Monumentin its 2004 list.
Chola Temple – Tamil Nadu
Chola dynasty is the pride of the Tamils. They is also the longest ruling dynasties in Southern India. Cholas are very well known for their arts and crafts.This cultural heritage site includes three great temples of 11th and 12th centuries namely, the Brahadeshwarar at Thanjavur.
The Brahadeshwarar temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavateswara temple at Darasuram.
Thanjavur Big Temple
Sri Brahadeeswara Temple is also called as Big Temple or Thanjai “Periya Koil”. Raja Raja Cholan I [985-1012] and Big Temple cannot be separated from each other. Hence this was called as Rajarajeswaram too. This temple was built in 1010 A.D and celebrated its Millennium year of existence in 2010. It’s Unique Architectural Excellence prompted UNESCO to declare this temple as World Heritage Monument in 1987.It is located amidst fortified walls added during 16th century. The beautiful Chola Fresco Paintings on the inner walls are often matched with those of Ajanta Caves.
The 14 tiered Pyramid Shaped Tower above the sanctum Sanctorum, is 216 feet tall. This tower is one of the tallest of its kind. Kumbamor Sikarama bulbous structure above the tower cut out of one rock weighs 80 tons. This 80 ton Cupola or Sikaram was rolled up to pinnacle with the help of Elephants, through an incline, beginning from the Village called Saara Pallamnow called as Vayalur6 Kms from the temple. This process is a testimony to the engineering excellence skill of the Chola Architects. The shadow of the Cupola does not fall on the ground.
The presiding Deity, Lingamis 13 ft. tall with a circumference of 54 ft, chiseled out of single rock. The MonolithicNandi[sacred bull mount] is 12 ½ feet tall, 8 feet long, 5 ft wide and weighs 25 tons. This Nandiis installed outside, in front of the sanctum Sanctorum.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram is 70 kms from Thanjavur and 50 kms from Chidambaram. Rajendra Chola I the mighty king of Chola Dynasty established his new capital and built this magnificent temple for Lord Siva, equaled with that of Big Temple of Thanjavur. Rajendra Chola I during his campaign to the north, fetched water from river Ganga in Golden Pot and sanctified the water body. He was called as 'Gangaikonda' (the one who brought the Ganges). The entire region is filled with refreshing landscapes, River and Green fields for miles around.
The temple is noted for its massive and richly carved sculptures. A big Nandi, a Lion HeadWell with a flight of steps and Gigantic Statues of Dwarapalakas [entrance guards] are other special features of this temple. UNESCO declared Mahabalipuram as World Heritage Site in the year 2004.
Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) – Tamil Nadu
The Monuments at Mahabalipuram, in Tamil Nadu, were built by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. The town is said to have gained prominence under the rule of Mamalla. These monuments have been carved out of rock along the Coromandel Coast. The temple town has approximately forty monuments, including the largest open-air bas-relief in the world.
Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram is 58 Kms South of Chennai. King Mahabali was killed by Lord Vishnu hence it was named Mahabalipuram; The Pallava King Narasimha Varman I , a great wrestler, was called as MAMALLAN, hence it was named MAMALLAPURAM,are the two legends available related to the naming of this town. This has an exotic 20 Km Sea Shore that attracts both local and international Tourists. This was created by the Pallava Dynasty and was the seaport of Pallava Dynasty between 7th and 10th Century. 650 - 750 AD was considered as the Golden Age of Pallava dynasty.
It is known especially for its Temples in the form of Chariots called rathas, Mandapams (cave sanctuaries), and huge open-air reliefs such as the famous and excellent 100 foot long “Descent of the Ganges”/“Arjuna Penance”, and the temple Rivage with innumerable glorious sculptures of Lord Siva. Sculpture and Art College, Sculpture Workshops, Handicrafts, long and beautiful sea shore attracts millions of tourist throughout the year. Mahabalipuram was included in the World Heritage Monuments listof 1984 by UNESCO.
Nilgiri Mountain Train – Tamil Nadu
These trains still move by traditional steam engines.On the mountains of Nilgiris;they are blended to perfection bu the Rack-Pinion Engineering technique. On the high terrains and risky mountains;this got them a place in the UNESCO list.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway was built by the British in 1908. Mountain Train is another showcase of Heritage and India. This rail connects Udhagamandalam and Metupalaiyam . The Journey is the most Picturesque train ride that mesmerizes all age group of travelers. This train travels through 208 serpentine curves, 16 tunnels, 250 bridges, waterfall hood, cliff edges and Tea estates covering a distance of 26 km. The uphill journey takes almost 4 hours. In the year 2005, UNESCO declared the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Vintage Steam Locomotiveis still relished as an excellent attraction to this train.
It is one of the eight “hottest hotspots” of biological diversity in the world. It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India.
The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain, called Konkan, along the Arabian Sea. Brisk and Breathe taking views of nature