Timings - Opening & Closing:
Monday - Friday: 6.00 AM - 9.00 PM ,
Saturday: 6.00 AM - 9.00 PM ,
Sunday: 6.00 AM - 9.00 PM ,
Public Holidays: 6.00 AM - 9.00 PM
Brihadeshwar temple or the Big temple is the prime attraction of Thanjavur. Brihadeshwar temple was built in the early 11th century by Rajaraja Chola I. The temple is built in Dravidian style of architecture in granite.
Brihadeshwar temple, known also as Rajarajesvaram, is one of the well preserved Heritage Sites in Tamil Nadu. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva has a 2.7 m high Shivalinga, which is about 7 m in diameter. The construction which encloses sanctum sanctorum is known by the name 'Periya Kovil' or the ‘Big temple’. The 70 m high ‘Vimana’ of the temple is built in such an architectural precision, that its shadow never falls outside itself. The Shikharam, which weighs about81.25 tons, is carved out of a single stone.
Brihadeshwar temple also features a massive idol of Nandi (bull), the mount of Lord Shiva. This idol, which weighs about 25 tons, has a height of about 3.6 m, length of 5.94 m and a width of 5.56 m. This idol is seated in ‘Nayak Mandapam’, which is decorated with intricate carvings. The ceiling of this mandapam is noted for its 1000 year old frescoes. Portraits of Sevappanayakan and his son Achyutappa Nayak (the early Nayak rulers) can also be seen on the front pillars of Nandi Mandapam.