Here is the some interesting facts of Tanjore Big temple:
* Raja Raja Chola was constantly engaged in battle with Chalukyas in the north, Pandyas in the South and Sinhalese across the shore. One day while he was engaging in the battle in Sri Lanka, he saw huge statues of Buddha. He was inspired by this beautiful statue to dedicate theBrideshwarTempleto his family deity Shiva at Thanjavur. He commissioned the construction of the huge temple in 1004 AD. Since the scale of construction was unparalleled in the history of temple construction, it took almost 3 decades and it was completed by his Son Rajendra Chola in the year 1034 AD. Rajendra chola ( 1014 – 1044 AD ) credited the construction in his dads name even though majority of the construction was undertaken by his patronage.
* Not only the temple and the "moolavar", (prime deity, Shiva) but all other deities (Koshta Moorthigal) like Dakshinamurthy, Suriyan (Sun), Chandran (Moon) are very huge sized. Especially, Brahadeeswar temple is one of the rare temples which has statues for "Ashta dik paalakas" (Lords of all Eight Directions) — Indra, Varuna, Agni, Eesana, Vayu, Niruthi, Yama, Kubera — each of which is a life-like status, i.e., approximately 6 feet tall.
* The great Vimana is of the Dravidian style of architecture. It rises to a height of abut 216 feet, a tower of fourteen stories, finely decorated with pilasters, niches and images of gods of the Hindu. The sikhara or cupolic dome is octagonal in shape and crowns the Vimana. The gilded Kalasa or finial, over it is 12.5 feet high.
* The biggest mystery of all the other mystery in Tanjore big temple is the huge cap stone in the top of the Tanjore big temple. The weight of the cap stone at the top of Tanjore big temple weighs 80 tons. The main exclamation about the cap stone is that how come the builders of Tanjore big temple were able to place the cap stone at the top of the Gopuram in Tanjore big temple. There were no cranes or any high end equipments used in those days to do these works. The only thing that can help is the elephants. The huge cap of Tanjore big temple is constructed in such a way that the shadow of the Tanjore big temple Gopuram will not fall on the ground. It will just fall on itself. This particular planning and type of construction is not an easy task to go with.
* The Tanjore big temple contains more than 100 underground passages to various places. The underground passages also contain some secret passage that leads to various places like the Palace of Raja Raja chola and also to other important places. The underground passages lead to the other temples and also to the other places in and around Tanjore. Most of the underground passages were sealed and if the people choose the wrong passage then there are possibilities that the path may also lead to the dangers. This can also be a trap for the kingdom safety of Raja Raja Chola.
* There are lots of high quality paintings in the Tanjore big temple that explain many things about the kingdom of Raja Raja Chola and also the greatness of the Raja Raja Chola. Some paintings also explain about the Raja Raja Chola's favorite God Shiva. There were also some stories present in the painting present in Tanjore big temple. In the secret passage from Tanjore big temple there were great paintings present that explain about many great things. The most admiring part of the painting in Tanjore big temple is the painting of Raja Raja Chola offering his respect to his Guru. The colors chosen for the painting are great such that the paintings are still good and healthy to see.
* The granite stones are one of the strongest stones in the world. With the strength of the granite stone the stone is also equally heavy enough that it cannot be carried from one place to other place in the easy way. The stones that are used in Tanjore big temple were brought from a place that is 50 miles away from the Tanjore big temple. Without elephants the work might not be possible for the transportation of the rocks from that place. It is said that more than 1000 elephants were used for the construction of the Tanjore big temple. The ancestors of Chola kingdom were good enough to build temples with the granite stones.
* The cutting and carving of the granite stone is not an easy task even today. We can't even imagine how this would have made possible in those days without any special equipment. The Granites are the strongest stones in the world and it is definitely not an easy task to cut and carve the granite stones. When compared to carving cutting and shaping is the definitely difficult task. Those days the rocks were made small holes as a like and the holes were filled with the water and after a long period of time the rocks will automatically break. This was how the rocks were broken. But even today the cutting of a granite rocks take more than one hour and several gallons of water for the cutting with the help of the advanced equipments.
* Unlike the other temples, this temple is one of the few worship places maintained by the Archaeological Society of India (ASI) and is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Source: MYSTERY: Mysteries of Tanjore big temple