Thanjavur’s Brihadisvara Temple is one among the famed Great Living Chola Temples, so known because they continue to be sacred places of worship while treasuring tradition, heritage and a legacy of fine architecture. Built by the Chola kings, they include two other Shiva temples built between the 11th and 12th centuries — the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholapuram and the Airavateswara Temple at Darasuram.
The Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, also known as the Thanjavur Big Temple for the imposing grandeur of its architecture, was built by the Chola emperor Rajaraja and completed in 1009-10, in the 19th year of the emperor’s reign. In his time the Chola empire encompassed the whole of southern India and the regions of Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), the Maldives and the Laccadives (Lakshadweep). Built of granite, it looms large over the flat plain of Thanjavur.
Yahoo India’s Travel team visited the temple during The Great East Coast Road Drive in August 2013. Enjoy this visual tour of the temple precincts with these photographs by Azhar Mohamed Ali.