Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Tamil Nadu

Gangaikonda Cholapuram is located in Jayankondam, in the Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu in India. The Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the ancient city was established in 1025 by the great Chola King, Rajendra Chola I to commemorate his victory over the Pala Dynasty. The city consisted of one inner and one outer fortification. The outer part seemed wider from the mound seen running around the old city. The outer fortification had been laid down with burnt bricks. Presently it is a small village. The past grandeur of the capital city of the Chola Dynasty can be witnessed from the great temple of Brihadeeswarar Temple. It is an architectural marvel with beautiful sculptures and intricate designs which suggest that the Chola Kings were patron of art. The temple was completed in 1035. It is also enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Excavation suggested that there was a multi-storeyed Royal Palace which was also built of burnt bricks. The pillars were probably of polished woods. A pillar base made of granite was found under the ruins. Clamps and iron nails have also been recovered from the site. Names of the palace, fort walls and the roads and streets are mentioned in the inscriptions found. Mention of ‘Annaivettuvan’, an irrigation channel bordering the capital is also found in the epigraph. According to inscription, small tanks and ponds were there inside the ancient capital city of Gangaikonda Cholapuram. It is still unknown about the real reason of the destruction of this ancient city. Some believe the Pandyas then destroyed the town after their victory over the Cholas in the 13th century to avenge their defeat in the past. Others recommend that it was the raids and plunders by the Muslim rulers of the Delhi Sultanate which led to the destruction of this ancient city of Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

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