Brihadishvara temple at Thanjavur is a splendorous jewel of Indian temple art and architecture, and crowning glory of the Chola empire. In the course of time (17th to 19th centuries) the territory came under the rule of the Maratha Nayakas.
The Archaeological Survey of India, in a world first, used its unique de-stucco process to restore 16 Nayaka paintings, which were superimposed on 1000-year-old Chola frescoes!
The Thanjavur frescoes are a masterpiece of Chola art, distinguished by power, grandeur, rhythm and composition, and unparalleled by any other contemporary painting in history.
One notices great emotion in all the faces, whether it is the compassion of the guru counselling Rajaraja, or a contemplative rishi, a devout queen, an animated dancer or an angry Shiva. If expression is how great art has to be judged, it is here in abundance in these Chola paintings.