My train reached Thanjavur in morning around 6:30. After getting down I followed other passengers from platform to get out of the station. At the station I stopped; some shops had started opening. I wanted to have a hot cup of coffee before I start hotel hunting.
I looked around, no such shop was open. Then I approached a book stall and asked for a good map of the town so that I can navigate easily through its roads and landmarks. That’s the first thing I do when I reach a new place. Strange enough, the shop had all newspapers, film magazines, some novels but no map of the town !
I came out of the station. The morning chill and the fresh air was very welcoming. The chores of daily life had started to begin. I had checked in the internet and had a fair idea as which direction to take for hotel hunting. I started walking slowly enjoying the surroundings. Lone woman and you become a subject of awe. Some auto-rickshaw walas wanted to oblige me with their expertise but I declined their offers. 😀
After about 100 yards I could see some hotels on either side of the road. After enquiring with two, I checked into one.
After freshening up & breakfast I was ready to explore the town. I could see Bragatheeswara Temple from my hotel window. So engaged an auto for fixed rate of Rs 40 to Bragatheeswara Temple, my first stop.
Bragatheeswara Temple or Big temple, as the name suggests, is an example for the Indian sculptural architecture greatness. The first impression of this temple is entirely dominated by its three gopuras or towers.
As in most south Indian temples, the temple complex is very big with 10 feet high outer wall.
Compared to the main tower, the not so tall entrance of the temple is embellished with Hindu gods.
To me the temple has more monumental value than a place of worship. It is maintained by the Archeological Society of India.
Seeing me alone, a few guides approached me with an intention to earn a few bucks but their rates were so exorbitant that I had to tell them I had already gathered information about the temple from internet. When I told them so, they were disappointed and started cursing the internet for ruining their business ! 😀
I marveled at the high rise of the temple and the enormous effort that would have been spent to build it.
There is a giant Nandi guarding the shrine, said to be the third largest Nandi statue in the country. The ceiling of this Nandi Mantapa is adorned by brightly colored floral patterns.
The inner walls and pillars of temple are full of paintings which are now in various stages of decay with plaster coming off from most of them.
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