I have heard that the Tanjore Brihadeeswarar Temple or Periya Kovil has more stones than the Giza Pyramid.

Upon performing a Google search on this, I found a website and a blog stating that Brihadeeswarar Temple has more number of stones. But I could not find any valid reference (sch as references to books,journals, etc..) on this point.

Is it true that Tanjore Brihadeeswarar Temple has more number of stones than Giza pyramid?

  • 2
    Is this really relevant, without considering the size of the stones? After all, any sizeable structure made of concrete aggregate probably has far more, but much smaller, stones than either of those.
    – jamesqf
    Mar 4, 2016 at 18:44
  • @jamesqf Yes, it is. I have learned that the average size of a stone in Giza pyramid is of dimension (average of 127 x 127 x 71cm). And the they range from 0.6m to 1.3m. I have seen Tanjore temple for myself and the stones are of comparable size. Ref : cheops-pyramide.ch/khufu-pyramid/khufu-numbers.html
    – Kols
    Mar 5, 2016 at 6:08

1 Answer 1


The statement that the Tanjore Brihadeeswarar Temple or Periya Kovil has more stones than the Giza pyramid is highly doubtful.

Here is why:

First let us set out some assumptions so as to help us calculate the size of both monuments, otherwise the only way to settle the question is to go and count every block which would be rather tedious. The assumptions I have made are as follows:

  • We do not take into account internal spaces within both complexes and treat them as being a whole structure made up of blocks.
  • The metric for measuring the number of stone blocks used is as mentioned in your comment: blocks of 1.27m x 1.27m x 0.71m.
  • The formula for calculating the volume of a pyramid is: Volume = Area of Base x Height / 3.
  • The Tanjore Brihadeeswarar Temple will be treated as two geometric entities which will be added together to obtain the total volume. The first entity is a rectangular based pyramid. The second entity is a rectangular prism, which we will assume has a constant height from its' highest point, the gopuram.

Now, to calculate the volume and the number of blocks in the Great pyramid of Giza: The base measures 230,4 m by 230,4 m and when constructed had a height of 146,5 m. The volume of the Great pyramid is thus:

V = 230,4² * 146,5/3

V = 2592276,48 m³

The volume of an agreed block is :

V = 1,27 * 1,27 * 0,71

V = 1,145 m³

The number of blocks in the Great pyramid is then:

Nb. Blocks = 2592276,48 / 1,145

Nb. Blocks = 2263996,93 Blocks.

Let's turn to the Tanjore Brihadeeswarar Temple now, the first entity is a rectangular based pyramid. The dimensions of this pyramid are 27,095 m by 36,226 m and a height of 66 m. The second entity is a rectangular prism of 48,805 m by 66,772 m and 30 m high. The dimensions for the footprint of the monument have been estimated from Google maps and the provided scale.

V = 27,095 * 36,226 * 66 / 3 + 30 * 48,805 * 66,772

V = 119358,18 m³

Nb. Blocks = 104242,95 Blocks.

Now, to compare:

2263996,93 Blocks for the Great pyramid of Giza.

104242,95 Blocks for the Tanjore Brihadeeswarar Temple.

I think we can agree that the Great pyramid contains more stone than the Tanjore Brihadeeswarar Temple and by a factor of roughly 21.

  • Nice work, and in addition the assumption of internal solidity is pretty much true for the Pyramid at Gizeh aside from a few small chambers, while it looks like the Tanjore temple complex is more or less hollow, as you would expect from a temple you want people to go into.
    – Oldcat
    Mar 9, 2016 at 18:10

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