Apart from its religious and cultural significance, the temple also merits a visit for its architectural glory. The world’s largest functioning Hindu temple, the complex is designed in the quintessential Dravidian architecture style.
Spread over 155 acres, it welcomes guests with seven prakarams or compounds, representing the seven chakras related to our body and soul. Inside the compound area stand 81 shrines, 21 stunning gopurams and 39 grand pavilions. Built in stone with elaborate carvings, the complex has over 800 inscriptions that offer insights into religious and social influences during the medieval era. The complex is also home to frescoes depicting scenes from Hindu scriptures and legends as well as those from the life of religious scholars.
A noteworthy architectural element within the temple complex is the Hall of 1000 Pillars. Built between the 13th and 15th centuries, this granite structure features a mandapam (hall) as well as water tanks in the centre. Guests should especially look out for the eight monolithic pillars that feature marvelous sculptures of warriors in action.