There are beautiful sculptures of 81 of the 108 karanas inside the chamber of the first tier of the vimana (tower) above the sanctum in the Brihadeeswara temple at Thanjavur. Siva, Lord of dance, is portrayed as performing these karanas. Dancing Siva is portrayed in these reliefs with four arms. Padma Subrahmanyam called the karana sculptures Raja Raja Chola's “documentation of the frozen moments of the movements.” She marvelled at how Raja Raja Chola, who built the Raja Rajesvaram temple, received the idea to sculpt the karanas. “Perhaps, he got the idea from the temple at Prambanan in Indonesia, which had karana sculptures.”
(‘How karana sculptures in Big Temple were discovered’ by TS Subramanian, The Hindu, Sept 24, 2010)
While not all karanas have been sculpturally represented in the Big Temple (Thanjavur), panels have been provided for the unrepresented ones too, indicating Raja Raja's desire to complete the project. The frescoes in the Sandhara passage also affirm Raja Raja's fondness for dance. In one painting, we see Sundarar being welcomed by celestials singing and dancing. In another painting Sundarar, Cheraman Perumal Nayanar, and Lord Siva are seen watching a dance performance.
(Dr. R Nagaswamy, former director, Department of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu, in a lecture on ‘Rajaraja's Inscriptional Document on his Endowment for 400 Dancers at the Thanjavur Temple.' In ‘Legal document in stone’ by Suganthy Krishnamachari, The Hindu Friday Review, Sept 17, 2010).

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