The Rajarajeshvara Temple or Brihadesvara temple as know by many, is a Hindu temple located at Thanjavur (Tanjore) India which was created for the Hindu deity Shiva around 1000 CE. This magnificient structure was created during the Chola dynasty which at that time was under the rule of Rajaraja I, who ruled c. 985-1014 and was known as the "king of kings." The political conditions of this rule are evident throughout the fortifications surrounding the temple including a moat that encompasses the temple as well as Rajaraja's capital city Thanjavur.
During the Chola dynasty the Rajarajeshvara temple was known to house many scultures of bronz and copper which were to be used during ritual processions. One of this temples many memorable features is the steep thirteen-leveled pyramidal vimana which is topped with a gold-pleated finial. Local legend says that a massive 4.5 mile long ramp was created to roll the top piece into place. This temple is said to represent one of the high points of the southern Indian style with its temple construction.
Image courtesy of Ryan (ryPix) from www.Flickr.com
Source of factual information found from Art Beyond the West Second Edition by Micheal Kampen O'Riley