The Brihadeeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. The temple was built in 1010AD, in dedication to the god Shiva, and is still the largest temple in India. The entire temple is made out of granite stones, with the giant bull Nandi carved from a huge single granite stone standing at 13 feet high and 16 feet long. The outside of the temple is also decorated with hundreds of painted sculptures, all contained within its vast complex.
Temples in this period were built to reflect power, wealth and artistic expertise. As granite was not readily available in the area at the time of fabrication, the temple is a show of the wealth and power of Chola, the ruling emperor of the time.
The size of the temple is also a display of the emperor’s supremacy. Brihadeeswarar temple is also popularly referred to as ‘the big temple’ with its tower rising 216 feet high, one of the tallest in the world. This height is some feat, given that the dome at the top of the temple weighs over 81 tons.