Runner-up in the essay competition 2022 is "Dream Big Achieve Bigger" written by Avni Singh
As a family from Thanjavur, the Chola Empire is our pride, joy, and inspiration.
One prominent king of the Chola dynasty was Rajaraja Chola. He was the youngest son of Sundara Chola and dearest to the people. They were enthralled by their charming prince. After Sundara Chola’s reign, Rajaraja and his father’s cousin, Uttama Chola, were rightful heirs to the throne. A controversy on who was to be the king divided the people. Rajaraja, for the peace of the kingdom, gave up his right as the crown prince and let his uncle rule the land after his father. When Rajaraja Chola became the king, he made sure that their legacy was carved in rock, literally!
Standing in front of the majestic gates of the Brihadishwara temple, with a massive moat extending right and left, can make you feel like an atom. I’ve been there several times when I was young.
You can’t just go to Brihadishwara temple and forget all about it! After all, it covers 44.7 acres and is one of the tallest temples in India. I remember looking up and seeing the unbelievable height of the building and a lovely blue sky. I remember walking along the wide pathways between the walls. They were huge, perfect for a pleasant game of tag! My mother told me that I kept running around, looking at everything, and wouldn’t listen.
I was drawn to a particular horse sculpture that had fallen from its pedestal. It would have been surprising to not marvel at it. The eyes, nostrils, ears, and every feature was carved beautifully. I even remember seeing each engraved fiber of the horse’s reins. Such was the expertise of the sculptors. I still wonder whether they were sculptors or magicians!
Carving the temple’s features was a feat but setting it up was another. No mortar was used; all the bricks are interlocked, and most of them haven’t fallen apart even after more than 1,000 years! Rajaraja’s engineers accomplished a near-impossible feat by having elephants drag the vimana (the top-most part of the temple) up a long ramp. Rajaraja was a devotee of Lord Shiva and wanted to let people know the might of Shiva. He made larger-than-life sculptures of Shiva and Nandi to instill the strength of God in the hearts of people.
The temple was not only a place of worship but also a venue to practice art, politics, and philanthropy. Also, the king desired the whole world to remember the grandeur of the Cholas. But he wouldn’t have even dreamt in his wildest dreams that his temple would still be standing after ten centuries. It continues to stand and inspire us to create big dreams and fulfill them.
The Brihadishwara temple is not just a world heritage site; it is also a grand remnant of the past, reminding us to move on with life, impress our worth on the planet and its people, and see how beautiful it becomes.
In the Age category 12 - 15 years, Avni's essay "Dream Big Achieve Bigger" was chosen as a runner-up.
Well done, Avni! You are an excellent storyteller! Thank u very much for another of your fabulous stories and this time also reflections on cultural history! Congratulations!
Avni Singh is a student at Podar World School Sama Vadodara in India. Home languages are Hindi and Tamil, English is the second language.
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