Thanjavur, the center of architecture art and religion of South India is also home to the grand Brihadeeswarar Temple. The temple, which is also called as Brihadeshwara Temple and RajaRajeswara Temple Rajarajeswaram, is among the largest temples of the country. The Brihadeeswarar temple along with Airavatesvara temple and Gangaikonda Cholapuram is known as the ‘Great Living Chola Temple’ and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Brihadeeswarar temple is one of the few temples that has Ashta-dikpaalakas (Guardians of the directions) idols. Chola frescoes adorn the wall of the temple and these frescoes depict Shiva in different poses. Brihadeeswarar temple is the first complete granite temple in the world. Around 60,000 tons of granite is said to be used to build the temple.