The Brihadisvara temple (also spelled Brahadeeswarar temple) is an ancient Hindu temple located at Thanjavur in the state of Tamil Nadu, South India. This 10th century CE temple, Seeing its incredible beauty UNESCO’s has declared it as a World Heritage Sites, is a brilliant example of the Dravidian style of temple architecture. The central temple known as the Periya Koil (Big Temple) stands within a fort, whose walls are later additions built during the 16th century. The vimana (main tower) of the temple is about 70 m high and is the tallest in the world. You must visit to this ancient famous Hindu Temple to see the passion of the Cholas for art and architecture. The Chola dynasty made a significant contribution to India by erecting several famous temples. They spent lavishly on the constructions of these structures. Shiv Lingam in the shrine houses which was scooped from a single stone. Its height is 8.7 meters and devotees make offerings at it. During the times of the Cholas (900-1155 A.D.) temple arcitecture in the South reached its climax. The famous Chola temple built at Tanjavur (Tanjore) is known as the Brihadeshvara temple. It is also called the Rajarajeshwara temple after the name of king Rajaraja who built it in honour of Lord Shiva in about 1009 A.D. The Temple stands in the middle of a rectangular enclosure entered from the east through a gateway, now dilapidated. The Double pilastered walls of the sanctuary are elevated on a moulded basement with lions. Those on the central niches, on both storeys depict – Dakshinamurti(south) ,Vishnu(west) and Brahma(north).
The tourists flocking to the temple are bound to be astonished at the sight of its beautiful Gopuram(200 ft. high) and top cupola(weighing 81 tons). The gopuram was constructed in such a manner that its shadow never falls on the floor. Not only this as the temple itself never cast a shadow in the afternoon. How brilliant its designing is! The most conspicuous feature of the temple is its height. The credit for its international fame of being the tallest temple in the world goes to its height which is 215 feet.
On entering the temple you will come face to face with two giant towers built in the shape of a pyramid. They are called gopuras and are festooned with amazing carvings of Lord Shiva. At the corner of these gopuras stand two guarding stone statues. The engravings of the heads of the sea monsters encircle the temple which is actually located inside the second gopuram. Vimana, the main building of the temple is done up by golden finial which is called ‘Kalasam’. The dance lovers can have a look at the 108 dance poses of Nataraja, the cosmic dancer on the walls of Brihadeshwar Temple. Rajagopuram (main tower) of the templeThe shikaram (crown), an octagonal, carved cupola, itself is very large and heavy (81.25 tonnes) and (until a few years back) was thought to be carved out of a single stone. However during one of the cleaning efforts, it was found to be in two pieces. The task of carrying this huge crown to a height of 70 m is another feat worth mentioning. In order to do this, an inclined plane of sand was built from a distance of nearly 11 km. The place where this scaffold began is called the Sarap pallam (“Scaffold Pit”). The remarkable feature of the temple is the great Nandi (stone bull). The Nandi that figures at the entrance is immense in size (a popular belief is that it is growing by the day), and the ceiling of its enclosure is decorated with frescoes in the typical painting style of Thanjavur. The Nandi weighs 27 tonnes and is the second largest in the world.The temple, especially its tower, is the finest example of Dravidian art. The Chola architecture is so executed that it is said that the Cholas conceived like giants and finished like jewelers. The Brihadeshwara temple combines the best in the tradition of temple building – architecture, sculpture, painting and other great things.