A head-on view of the Brihadiswara Temple. The monolithic nandi can be seen in front. It is popularly believed that the dome on top of the temple tower is carved from a single stone. But no, say recent studies. Devamani Rafael, author of `Thamizhnattu-k Kalai Kovilgal' (Artistic temples of Tamil Nadu) says in that book that experts have observed that it is actually made of several stones but the pieces are fused so well together to seem like a single piece.