Brihadeshwara temple at Thanjavur is a monumental architectural achievement. There is a beautiful 3.7 metre-high stone Nandi that looks faithfully out of its mandap at the temple.
The Mandap, an elegant sixteenth-century structure, leads the way into the main building. In the sanctum stands a 3.6-metre-high linga of Shiva. The sanctum is in two storeys and is decorated with sculptures and myriad manifestations of Shiva. On the southern wall is a figure of Natraj, the dancing Shiva. On the west wall is the amalgamated symbol of creation and preservation and on the northern side is the unified figure of Shiva and Parvati.
The temple tower rises to an incredible height of 66 metres. On the square base of 29 metres stands a thirteen-tiered pyramid of stone, where an enormous dome-like crown is placed. The crown is 7.8 metres high and weighs over 81 tonnes. This temple marks a turning point in South Indian architecture.