Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Great Engineers – A Thousand Years of Glory

Since I couldn’t reserve train ticket to go to Thanjavur, I decided to visit my uncle.  Since there is only one train that goes to Thanjavur (up to Kumbakonam) all the seats are booked so early and with some politics in reservation, it is very hard to book a ticket in Indian Railways.  You have to go after the agents and pay extra.  But that didn’t disappoint me.  I had another plan.

My uncle is residing in Trichy.  You may ask why I’m going to Trichy instead of Thanjavur?  Thanjavur is no far away from Trichy.  All it will take an hour or so from Trichy to Thanjavur.  Apart from buses there are trains available frequently.  And it is easy to get tickets reserved for Trichy.

I got to get up so early in the morning to catch the train from Trichy Junction to Thanjavur.  I was accompanied by my cousin and we bought the tickets to Thanjavur at Srirangam Railway Station itself.  Trichy Junction is just about ten minutes journey from Srirangam by train.  At 6.10 am, the passenger train arrived at Srirangam and we reached Trichy Junction at 6.30 am.

The Thanjavur passenger train was waiting for us at the 4th platform and we could make sure our seats.  The train departed at 7.15 am instead of 7.10 am usually.  There was not much crowd though many of the passengers were office goers.  It took about 1 ½ hour to reach Thanjavur Railway Station at 8.45 am.

Brahadeeswar Temple

We took a town bus to reach the Big Temple which is just about 2 kilometers from Railway Station.  Some people even walk to the temple.  But we could afford bus tickets at least. Though it was Saturday there were only a few people visited the temple but it could have been different if we’d come on Friday, because it was Prodosham and I saw the crowd in the photo published in a newspaper only in the next day.  I knew it that’s why I planned to visit on Saturday.

As we got down the bus, we were welcomed by the Thanjavur Thalaiyati Bomai (A doll), waving its head.  It is so famous and one of the identity of Thanjavur.  Here it is. The Great Big Temple is glowing in gold colour, flawless, standing firm for more than 1000 years.  The Temple is listed in World Heritage Sites.  Thanjavur was the ancient capital of Chola Kings.  Rajaraja Chola is the king in whose period the temple was built. He wanted to build it as a great temple and not to be competitive by other temples.

The campus is very spacious and it is easily visited by anyone without any restrictions unlike other temples.  There are 250 lingams in different formats placed in the campus.  There are two attractions, one is the Main Gopuram and other is the statue of bull called Nandhi.

The Gopuram itself describes why it is called as the big temple.  The top part of Gopura Kalasam which weighs in tones is the main attraction.  It is still a mystery how come they carried up the Kalasam to the top with no help of any cranes in their periods.  The Lingam inside the temple is about 4 meter height and when you see it you’ll feel the real experience of devotion.

Bell tower

The Bell Tower is one of the different experience, situated about 2 kilometers from the big temple along with Thanjavur Palace.  Try your best to climb the narrow steps to reach the top of the bell tower and have a good view.  But be watchful, you may be lost sight of the steps in that dark place.

Thanjavur Palace has many ancient stones and sculptures which is regularly visited by many tourists including foreigners.  

Note: For more photos click the flickr your left side.
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