Tanjore Pagoda. The big bull
Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David
Medium: Photographic print
The Brihadishvara Temple was built in the 9th century and is one of the great achievements of the Chola era. This monumental temple stands in the middle of a large rectangular courtyard surrounded by smaller shrines. Its steeply pyramidal tower stands at about 66 m and consists of 13 storeys, each with pilastered walls covered with carved figures of divinities. This photograph is of a close view of the Nandi, sheltered by a 16th century open-sided pavilion. Lyon wrote, '...the Great Bull occupies the place of honour in the centre of the great court. He is chiselled out of a single block of granite, is sixteen feet long, twelve feet two inches high to the top of his head, and seven feet five inches to his back, from the base on which he rests. Repeated coatings of oil have made him so black and shiny, that at first sight he looks as if made of bronze; but the grain of the stone can be detected on close inspection.'