Temples of Tamilnad
Tanjore: Brihadesvara

Strangely enough, the great Siva temple of Brihadeswara, although a somber artistic beauty sets it apart from other temples of South India, is not considered particularly sacred. The explanation given is that the holy man Appar, who was once refused entry, responded by failing to mention Brihadeswara in any of the thousand psalms or kirtans, to which he devoted his life.

It is a temple of many beauties whose main quality, I believe, derives from its uncluttered aspect -- no torturous roofed corridors, or commercial booths to impede one. And not too many crowds, restraints are first announced as one observes the gopurams: detail has been held in check. The hobgoblin rout of twelve-inch images has been dispersed. Instead there are panels ten-feet square where figures in half-round emerge from the flatness of granite with an imposing sense of style.

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