The temple of Gangailkondacholishvara, dedicated to Shiva, is a temple created under the dynasty of the Chola (11th and 12th centuries), included in the World Heritage List. At the heart of the ramparts the entrance is majestic and opens on to a big garden that hosts the stone temple. The setting sun gives it an ochre colour. The decoration is sumptuous. Several groups are seated on the grass. Here, people come to pray and to relax, as explained by a young couple who have just got married.
This temple is very important to the Indians, its name means «gangai»: gange, «konda»: to bring back, «chola»: a chola king «puram»: city. This refers to the visit of King Rajendra the 1st (11th century) in Benares, from where he brought back water from the Ganges to mix it to that of the well which he had dug.
When you enter the sanctuary of the temple, you discover a huge bull named Nandi which represents Shiva. In this temple, the Sacred among the Sacred, the Lingam, this U shape stone representing Shiva, represents three things (the Indians like to have several meanings for things): God's abstract form, the phallic shape or the universe's supreme energy where everything begins and ends.
© Photography: Virginie Lebrun
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