Brihadeeswarar temple was built to grace the throne of the Chola empire by the Tamil emperor Arulmozhivarman, popularly called Rajaraja Chola I, in compliance to a command given to him in a dream.One of the first great Tamil Chola building projects, the temple’s foundations were laid out in 1002 CE.An axial and symmetrical geometry rules the temple layout.Temples from this period and the following two centuries are an expression of the Tamilars (Chola) wealth, power and artistic expertise. The emergence of such features as the multifaceted columns with projecting square capitals signal the arrival of the new Chola style.
Intended to display the emperor’s vision of his power and his relationship to the universal order, the temple was the site of the major royal ceremonies such as anointing the emperor and linking him with its deity, Shiva, and the daily rituals of the deities were mirrored by those of the king. It is an architectural example showcasing the pure form of the Dravida type of temple architecture and representative of the Chola Empire ideology and the Tamil civilisation in Southern India. The temple “testifies the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting.”
A widely held belief is that the shadow of the Vimana never falls on the ground. However, several photographs exist showing the shadow on the ground.The temple is said to be made up of about 60,000 tons of granite. The capstone itself is made of four pieces of granite and weighs about 20 tons.on top of the main gopuram is believed to have been taken to the top by creating an inclined slope to the height of 66m to the top of the gopuram.