Blogs from Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India, Asia

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Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Thanjavur December 19th 2016

We picked up a car and a driver for the next 4 days to explore some the remanants of the Chola Dynasty. Established around 300AD it grew to rule vast tracks of Southern India and parts of countries around the Bay of Bengal ( Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand) plus established trade routes with China and Iran reaching its peak around 1300AD. The remanants of its capital are now just a few temples in rural areas of Tamil Nadu. As you see from these photos it must have been a huge place in its day. The scale of these temples is hard to show. The towers on the two largest are around 50 metres high.... read more
Intricate detail
The small temple
Cute statues at hotel

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Thanjavur February 19th 2015

When kings set out to impress, they usually do it well. Rajaraja Chola I was no exception. Instead of having the highest cathedral with the best vaulting, he opted for a massive temple in his capital Thanjavur, to celebrate his conquests in south India and the consolidation of his reign. Completed in 1010 it vies with and probably beats most of the great churches in Europe, certainly at that early date. Mr Hussain tells us it will take two hours to visit. We are sceptical, no temple having taken us that long. When we cannot find a guide, we are sure we will be round within the hour. But as ever, he is right. The main Shiva shrine sits under a 200ft high vimana covered in carvings, and is the middle of a huge courtyard surrounded ... read more
Brihadishwara temple, vimana over the Shiva shrine
Exiting the shrine
Tanjore palace, Maratha durbar hall

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Thanjavur January 12th 2013

I'm writing this entry as the sun slowly sets over Thanjavur on our last night in India. The locals are all engaged in a frantic rush of activity in anticipation for the upcoming three day harvest festival known as Pongol. People are stocking up on vast swathes of sugar cane and rice, paints are being bought to decorate one's doorstep and cows are being washed down and having their horns painted in all sorts of vibrant colours. Having been on the move and engaging in various activities pretty well non-stop up until now, we were all quite looking forward to the opportunity of doing very little and recharging the proverbial batteries. Thus, we slowly made our way south from Cochi to spend a couple of relaxing days cruising the backwater canals of Kerala and doing exactly ... read more
Barges on the backwaters
The familymooners on the boat
Details on the gopuram

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Thanjavur August 20th 2012

Standing right in front of the Great Temple of the Empire Chola, I could see this is very old; it has the rustic ancient architectural design, high walls on both sides, with the only huge high entrance I know just below the Gopuram. The Gopuram has got nine layers of magnificent carvings of Great Gods of Hindus. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, The Destroyer. This temple is named Brihadeeswarar Temple or is also known as Rajarajeswaram Temple, The Imperial Chola Temple built by Raja Raja Chola I in the 11th century, 1010 CE. It is situated on the south end of the Kaveri River in Tamil Nadu. It was the Vijayalaya (850-871 CE) who had defeated the Pallavas, Pandyas and the Muttaraiyas that paved the way for the Cholas to rule this Uraiyur region. ... read more
Brihadeeswarar 2
Brihadeeswarar 3
Brihadeeswarar 4

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Thanjavur September 20th 2011

This Summer vacation did not have any major trips, but it was dotted with short and interesting trips around Tamilnadu. It started with, visit to Madurai, followed by Nagarkoil, Thirupurankundram and culminating in Kanyakumari. It was a pleasant trip, and Nagarcoil being a relatively new place to us, was exciting to get acquainted with the little town, which seemed to be an interesting fusion of Kerala and Tamilnadu! Kanyakumari as always was awe-inspiring, and a sense of calm and peace descends, while you are there. Another mini trip was made to Tanjore, which is hardly an hour's drive from Trichy. The highlight was, our visit to Saraswati Mahal Library and another museum nearby. The Library is a very old one, dating back to 16th century, started by the Nayak kings; but it was Serofji II, a ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Thanjavur May 24th 2011

The main reason I came to India was to travel to Tamil Nadu, India’s southernmost state, to see its temples. I’ve enjoyed the three temple towns I’ve visited – Madurai, Trichy, and Thanjavur – more than Bangalore and Mysore. Partly it’s me; I have adjusted to India. But partly the towns are more manageable and the sights are better. Tamil Nadu is a great place to visit. Tamil Nadu was never conquered by Muslims, in contrast to most of India. It therefore maintained a uniquely vibrant Hindu culture. My guidebook says that Tamil Nadu is one of the few places on earth where a classical culture has survived into the present. Ancient Greek chroniclers wrote about Tamil towns and temples, and their descriptions of religious life largely ring true today. While that may be guidebook hyperbole, ... read more
Closeup of Gopuram
Gopuram Sculpture Details
View from Bus Window

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Thanjavur December 29th 2010

Meenakshi temple Madurai Chapter three : Madurai/ThanjavurThroughout the journey I was dozing till drizzling opened up my eyelids. By the time i reached madurai,it started raining heavily...madurai is a busy,crowded,dusty down with world famous Meenakshi temple...so without wasting my precious time I hired an auto to the Meenakshi temple....Temple's security is pretty impressive and irritating at the same time...I was carrying my laptop in one hand while offering my prayers to the GODs and Goddesses. ...Meenakshi temple is beyond your imagination when it comes at its internal and external architecture. ..superb and vivid architecture. despite of Meenakshi temple,madurai was unable to stop me for a night stay and rain attributed mor... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Thanjavur May 5th 2010

Après avoir passé quatre heures dans un autobus gouvernementale sans air conditionné… nous étions finalement rendu à Thanjavur. Après s’être trouvé un hôtel à notre goûts, mangé un bon repas et avoir pris une bonne douche froide, nous étions encore une fois parti pour visiter un temple impressionnant qui se nomme Brihadishwara Temple. Ce temple était différent de celui que nous avions visité à Chidambaram. Il n’avait pas quatre entrées principales comme la plupart des autres temples dans le Tamil Nadu, les figurines en pierres n’était pas peinturés mais quand mêmes très belles. Le temple principal qui se trouvait au centre du site, s’élevait jusqu'à 66 mètres. Nous y avons passé toute l’après-midi ainsi que la soirée à examiner les temples, les sculptures et les gens qui s’y promenaient. Nous avons eu la chance de voir ... read more
The main temple at sunrise
Tour d'observatoire a proximite du palais
Nice statue

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Thanjavur March 12th 2010

Thanjavur - Ancient Temple Town A few more hours on a bus took us to Thanjavur, with a completely different kind of temple. Brihadishvara Temple is made entirely of natural stone, laid out over large walled gardens, with two star attractions: a 217ft gopura (again with carved 'gargoyle' gods), and a 20ft 25 tonne granite cow (Nandi). Once again we visited twice it was so good, and on the second visit we were fortunate enough to witness the Nandi Ceremony. Washing the cow with gallons and gallons of milk, before drying, and dressing Nandi with garlands of pink and yellow flowers and a sari! (Nandi in this case is a 6m high Granite cow) It was absolutely amazing, practically the whole town had turned out for the occasion, families brought picnics and partied well into the ... read more
Bronze working
Bronze working
Thanjavur Temple 900ad

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Thanjavur February 14th 2010

Over the past 3 days we have travelled through towns and cities of South India and seen the most spectacular Hindu temples. Their age, character and beauty is breathtaking. Hopefully the pictures will give you some idea of their splendour.... read more
Sarangapawi Temple at Kumbakonam
Inspiring tower at Sarangapawi Temple
Brihadish Temple




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