Bhavishyotharapurana is the principal source that embodies a great deal of literature connected
with the origin, growth, patronage and administration of this temple, deemed to be possessing the
grandest pagoda among the temples of India. Brihadeswara Mahatya, in a series of interesting
legends throws adequate light on this great temple. Rajeswaranataka - a play in Tamil also helps to
reconstruct the greatness of the builder and his patronage to the temple.
There are hundreds of
inscriptions, besides abundant devotional literature that testifies to the magnanimity of the rulers
associated with this temple.
Moreover, the travelers accounts and the critical works of the art critics are available in plenty and
they help to arrive at the, unbiased estimation of this great work of art. First let us turn to antiquity.