The temple was built by Chola king Rajaraja Chola I. Construction was completed in 1009-10 CE.
his temple is a prime example of the Dravidian style of temple architecture The central temple known as the Periya Kovil (Big Temple) stands within a fort, whose walls were later additions built during the 16th century. The name thanjai periya kovil came from its original name "thanjai periya aavudayar kovil" (aavudayar being a local name of Lord Shiva). The vimana (main tower) of the temple is approximately 65 m (215 ft) high and is the tallest in the world. It was so designed that the vimana never casts a shadow at noon during any period of the year and also the tower of this temple is build by single rock