Friday, June 19, 2009

Thanjavur-Kumbakonam Trip!




The trip to Thanjavur and to several towns in its vicinity opened my eyes to a world different to that of Coimbatore - I had thought previously,before the trip,that not much would be different there in terms of lifestyle of the people, the city , or the way in which normal everyday people talk and behave towards others - turned out that i was wrong.

And i liked only one thing in the city - the ancient temples.

Not the dirty streets , not the half cooked idly , not the disrespectful tone of the hotel servers and the auto n taxi drivers , not the graffiti on the heritage sites , not the over crowded buses , not the garbage strewn bus stand with people affected with leprosy or elephantiasis lying around, not the suffocatingly hot weather , and not the transport facilities (the bus took two and half hours to travel 55 kms), not the bumpy roads.

Another thing which was so depressing to notice was that flooring in the inner areas of the 2000-yr old temples have now been overlaid with mosaic or marbles! The sanctity seems lost, with something so misfitting to be seen at such places..disgrace to the temple architecture..upon the name of renovation i'd say they are spoiling the beauty of the temple.They ought to have stuck with the tradition and used the black stones. I asked the priests there why such a measure has been taken ,and they blame the government for it. One can take a little heart seeing that the inner sanctum sanctorium has been left untouched.

Some photographs.

The Thanjore Palace.


Thanjore Skyline- View from the palace tower.

WatchTower

Ithu Namma Ooru- Makkal Thirunthave maataangala - God save us-Inside the palace.


Shiva's Cosmic Dance - Surrounded by a ring of flame,killing the demon of ignorance and darkness - 10th century Bronze statuette - Each civilization has its own version of depicting God,here the Cholas chose the image of Shiva's dance - now become the symbol of south indian culture - Majestic isnt!

Brihadeeshwar Temple Elephant


The Idly at gowri shankar where the rice batter was gouged out.


The little molluscan takin a stroll on the karaikal beach.


An image unique to India.

No sun shades at the bus stop.

A Poignant Picture - there s something in this picture that moves me..



A little bit of history.

Thanjavur,or Tanjore, is one of the ancient cities in India with a history of 2500 years - now known by repute as the 'Rice Bowl of TamilNadu' , for its vast cultivation of rice as the area is best suited for it,being near the Cauvery deltaic region,one of the most fertile lands in India.It is also famous for its numerous temples , most importantly the Brihadeeshwar Temple (Thanjai Peria Kovil,built 985 A.D),a world heritage site.Thanjavur,once the seat of Tamil tradition and culture , the place where literture, music, dance,sculpting and painting flourished under the Chola rule.

Just as the age of the Guptas shaped the Indian Civilization in the north in the middle ages, in the south another great civilization arose to prominence ,and created an empire that would rule across southern India and the islands of the indian ocean- The Cholas (300 BC-1300 AD) -who ruled from their capital city of Thanjavur,the city which still stands.

The Cholas were at the height of their power from the later half of the 9th century till the beginning of the 13th centuries.Under Rajendra Chola I and his son Rajendra Chola I, the dynasty became a military, economic and cultural power in Asia,with Chola territories stretching from the islands of the Maldives in the south to as far north as the banks of the Godavari river in the north. Rajaraja Chola conquered peninsular South India, annexed parts of SriLanka (Ilam) ,occupied the islands of the Maldives. Chola sent a victorious expedition to North India that touched the river Ganges defeated the ruler of Pataliputra. He also successfully invaded kingdoms of the Malay Archipelago.Click here to read more on the Chola dynasty.

Present Thajavur can be a lot better than how it is now. How nice it would be to see a city flooded with the classical arts ,followed by the comman people , cutting across all classes , a city filled with educated people who, least of all , know how to keep their rich city clean!

1 comment:

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