By Swami Harshananda
Gaṅgaikoṇḍa-cola-puram is the place near the famous place of pilgrimage, Cidambaram (Chidambaram) in Tamil Nadu. It was once the capital of the King Rājendra I (A. D. 1012-1044) of the Cola dynasty. It is now a deserted village.
King Rājendra I had conquered a large part of the peninsular India including Ceylon (now Śrī Laṅkā). His father had built the renowned Bṛhadīśvara temple at Tañjāvur (Tanjore). To commemorate his own victories and also as his offering to his God, he built another, very similar, Śiva temple at his new capital.
Except for the vimāna and the maṇṭapa the rest of the temple is in ruins. Compared to the Tañjāvur temple the sculptures and carvings of this temple are of greater excellence. Another interesting feature is that there is a separate shrine for Amman or the Divine Mother, called ‘Tirukkāma-kotṭam.’
- Vimāna is the tower over the sanctum.
- Maṇṭapa is a large open hall.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore