Entrance to the temple of Kumbakonam

Kumbakonam, a temple town in Tanjore district of Tamil Nadu, was an important centre in the Chola kingdom from the 9th through 13th centuries. It is home to twelve major temples dedicated to various Hindu deities, each functioning as a primary centre of ritual throughout the year. Many of the early Chola temples here are… Read more »

Age of Empires – Reading List

Understand Indian empires through their temples, art and even hairstyles in this reading list drawn from the Sarmaya library

“You can’t visit Hampi in a day”

Respected art historian of the Vijayanagara empire, Dr (Sr) Anila Verghese illustrates what makes the art and architecture of the era unique. Through objects from the Sarmaya collection, she points us in the direction of secrets and stories hidden in plain sight at Hampi

Great Pagoda of the Brihadishwara Temple, Tanjore

The Brihadishwara Temple at Thanjavur marks the acme of the Southern Temple Architecture, in magnitude, design, technique, and art. This Great Temple, built between AD 1003 to 1010, is also called the Rajarajeshvara after its builder Rajaraja I, the great Chola Ruler. The Temple complex consists of various subsidiary shrines of different deities, and an… Read more »

Thanjavur; Sculpture of the Great Stone Bull

This is a photograph of the bull pavilion at the Brihadeshwara Temple in Tanjore, taken by Samuel Bourne in 1869. The pavilion stands to the east of the main temple shrine housing the 13 feet high monotlithic structure of Nandi – the white bull associated with Shiva (to whom the temple is dedicated).

Raja Raja Chola I, Silver Fanam

Raja Raja Chola I was a renowned king who ruled over the Chola kingdom in southern India from 985 to 1014 CE. Regarded by many as one of the greatest kings in Indian history, he was a celebrated conqueror and an efficient administrator. It was during his reign that the Cholas were able to subdue… Read more »

Map of India in 1022

This map depicts geographical features and the distribution of various Hindu dynasties in India in 1022. In the north-west, the Ghaznavid Empire was at its zenith under Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (971 – 1030), who crossed the river Indus and plundered India seventeen times during the course of his reign. The map was published in… Read more »