The Chola rulers used stones and rocks in place of bricks under the Dravidian style to build such temples, which were followed by neighboring states and countries.
In the first phase of Chola history (from Vijayalaya to Uttam Chola), the Sundeshwara Temple at Tirukattalai, the Balasubrahmanyam Temple at Kannur, the Vijayalaya Temple at Narthamalai, the Nageswara Temple at Kumbakonam and the Kadambara-Malai Temple were built.
In the era of the great Cholas (from Rajaraja-Kulotung-III), the Brihadeeswarar Temple at Thanjavur and the Shiva Temple at Gangaikond Cholapuram (of Rajendra I) are well-known.
Looking at these two temples, it was said that “they conceived like demons and fulfilled them like jewelers” (They concept like Giants and they Finished Like Jewelers).
Apart from these two, Airavateshwara of Darasuram and Kamphareshwar Temple of Tribhuvanam are also beautiful and grand.
The greatest feature of Chola architecture is that they also made a unique confluence of sculpture and painting in architecture.
The bronze statue of Nataraja is the quintessential among the Cholayugi sculptures. It has been called the cultural niches (criterion) of Chola art.