Brihadeesvara temple (also known asRajarajeswaram or Peruvudaiyār Kōvil) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, located in Tanjore (Thanjavur), in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
It is one of the biggest temples in South India and a great example of Tamil (Dravidian) architecture.This temple is also known to be the first all-granite temple in the world.
The temple was built almost thousand years ago, by a king of the then-ruling Chola empire in the form of a fortress on the southern bank of the famous Cauvery River.
It took a total of seven years to be built.
The temple is a stunning manifestation of the famous Dravidian architecture of southern India (specifically Tamil Nadu). It hasamain sanctum (sacred place or centre) and above it, a 216-feet-tall tower by which it can be identified; this tower can be seen from afar, and people can also locate the temple through it.
The temple also consists of a magnificent Nandi (sacred bull) statue which is two meters in height, six meters in length and two-and-half meters in width, and weighs around 20 tons! Apart from these, the temple’s complex also consists of statues and carvings depictingvarious postures of the famous classical dance, Bharatanatyam (local to Tamil Nadu, and popular all over India) on its exteriors.
Brihadeesvara temple is open to visitors between 6 AM and 12.30 PM, and between 4 PM and 8.30 PM every day, on all days of the week. No entry fee is applicable to enter. However, costs may apply to things like footwear charges (places outside temples where people have to deposit their footwear), prasadam (divine offerings like sweets or some rice items prepared in the temple kitchens to be offered to the deity), etc.
Tanjore city (also known as Thanjavur), where the temple is situated,can be reached by air, rail or road.