HSAI tours Brihadeshwara Temple, the great Shiva Temple located in Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the largest temples in India. Built by emperor Raja Raja Chola I of the Chola Dynasty and completed in 1010 AD, the temple turned 1000 years old in 2010. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”, with the other two being the Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavatesvara temple. The Brihadiswarar Temple is one of the rare temples which has idols for the “Ashta-dikpaalakas” (Guardians of the directions) – Indra (East), Agni (Southeast), Yama (South), Nirṛti (Southwest), Varuṇa (West), Vāyu (Northwest), Kubera (North), Īśāna (Northeast) – each of whom was originally represented by a life-sized statue, approximately 6 feet tall, enshrined in a separate temple located in the respective direction. Only Agni, Varuṇa, Vāyu and Īśāna are preserved. The temple has Chola frescoes on the walls around the sanctum sanctorum portraying Shiva in action, destroying demonic forts, dancing and sending a white elephant to transport a devotee to heaven. Pictures of tour below.