Brihadishwara Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva which is located in Thanjavur, the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as Periya Kovil or RajaRajeswara Temple. It is one of the largest temples in India and is an example of Dravidian architecture during the Chola period. Built for Raja Raja Chola I and completed in 1010 AD, the temple turned 1000 years old in 2010.
The temple stands amidst fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th century. The vimanam (temple tower) is 100 ft (30 m) high and is the tallest in the world. The Kumbam (the apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is carved out of a single rock and weighs around 80 tons. There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock measuring about 16 ft (4.9 m) long and 13 ft (4.0 m) high at the entrance. The entire temple structure is made out of granite, the nearest sources of which are about 60 km to the west of temple. It is the world’s 1st complete “granite” temple which testify to the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting.
The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”.