Brihadeshwara Temple

an 11th century Chola Hindu temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site

Brihadeshwara Temple (Tamil:Peruvudaiyar Kovil) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, also called Rajarajesvaram or Peruvudaiyār Kōvil temple. It is located on the south side of Kaveri river in Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as Periya Kovil, RajaRajeswara Temple and Rajarajeswaram.[1][2] It is one of the largest temples in India. Peruvudaiyaar Kovil is an example of Tamil architecture from the Chola period.[3] It was built by Tamil King Raja Raja Chola I and completed in 1010 AD.[4] The temple turned 1000 years old in 2010.[4] The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Great Living Chola Temples", along with Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavatesvara temple.[5]

Brihadeeswarar Temple from the right side.

The temple has fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th century. The vimanam (temple tower) is 216 ft (66 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.[6] 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. The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.[7]the temple consists of nandi mandapa , a pillared potico and an assembly hall , all interconnected.


  1. "Tamil Nadu – Thanjavur Periya Kovil – 1000 Years, Six Earthquakes, Still Standing Strong". 27 January 2014.
  2. South Indian Inscriptions – Vol II, Part I & II
  3. John, Keay (2000). India, a History. New York, United States: Harper Collins Publishers. pp. xix. ISBN 978-0-00-638784-8.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Endowments to the Temple". Archaeological Survey of India.
  5. "Tanjavur Periya Kovil Tamil Nadu". 5 December 2012.
  6. "The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)".
  7. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 185.