From Tigers to Tombs

and all things heritage…..a trip covering the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

Thanjavur treats

7th march,2011:It was 4 AM as we reached thanjavur and we zeroed in on hotel karuna opposite the new bus stand. With three chola temples to complete in a span of 3 days, we boarded a 2 hour bus to kumbakonam which was followed by a 1 hour bus to Gangakondacholapuram to view the first of the three temples.

Set in the midst of thatched hut villages, this temple must have once been the royal attraction to the chola kingdom that spread far and wide. The poverty that exists outside the temple is totally hidden once you enter the gigantic gateway. Well manicured lawns and perfectly trimmed bushes provided a wonderful contrast to red and brown sandstone that was used to build this magnificent shiva temple. This temple built by Rajendra I(son of Rajaraja chola I,the builder of brihadishwara temple) is only slight smaller than the temple his father built in thanjavur.

The Airavateswara temple in darasuram can be seen while on the way back to thanjavur,near kumbakonam. One temple built for shiva,while the other for parvathi are again built with an intricate attention to detail.

The brihadishwara temple in thanjavur clearly steals the show. A visit at sunset is highly recommended to capture the different colours the sandstone assumes in the dying rays of the sun. 2011 marked the 1000th year of it’s existence and one just cannot see it’s age due to the superior quality of the craftsmanship and materials that were used by the cholas in their prime.


A leisurely walk around the magnificent main structure which holds a giant shivalingam that faces one of the biggest Nandi statues in India made us think how grand this place must have been a 1000 years ago. As we boarded the bus to chennai at night, the bus drove past an illuminated Brihadishwara temple almost as if to ask us to appreciate it’s beauty once more.

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9 thoughts on “Thanjavur treats

  1. great to see the blog up and running, post more pics bro!

  2. Aparna on said:

    Loved the pictures you’ve put up. Very tempted to head there now.

  3. Priya on said:

    WoW! love the writing style…inspires me to hop by soon!

  4. Sharan Ramesh on said:

    I didn’t know it was the largest temple complex in India. I’ve heard that at the brihadishwara temple there is a large library of palm leaf manuscripts which hold the future predictions of every person in the world. Not sure whether that is true or how that is even possible, but it just sounds interesting ….

    • From Tigers to Tombs on said:

      Hi sharan. The thanjavur temple was indeed very fascinating. We dint really see any manuscripts in the temple,but we did see some in the royal palace museum. Some of these manuscripts written in the old Tamil were more than 400 years old.

  5. Sulatha88 on said:

    It gives us great pride to know about the magnificance of our ancient structures …. the writing and the pics make it come alive all over again …. great work !

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