Well, i am back after a short gap 🙂 Did u miss me ?? 😛 never mind … even i was too busy to log into WordPress .This has to be one of the best trips out of the very few trips i have ever gone to 😉 .
Kumbakonam is located around 280 km south of chennai . If u are curious about the geographical details , Help urself and find a map 😉 .
So my journey started from kanchipuram after a short stay with my college friends in the hostel .Got a bus at 9 Pm sunday night , narrow aisle , no push back seats , the journey was quite forgetful , to make things worse the roads were in a pretty bad state 😦 . I was hardly able to sleep during the whole journey .It was almost 530 when we reached kumbakonam bus stand and i was the happiest person to get down from the bus which looked more or like a vehicle made out of junkyard wars.
kumbakonam is rightly called the temple ciy . Almost every street u step in has a temple and mind it that almost 70 percent of them are huge .The complex architectural structures, intricate sculptures and inscriptions would just amaze you. Sometimes i wonder why did they built so many temples so close to each other .Not to forget that there are countelss number of temples surrounding kumbakonam.
I am not a religious person and i normally elude visiting temples but this trip has changed my perception totally. Well ,all thanks to my freind yuvanash for helping me to do so. I have learned that temples are more than just a place of worship . Temples can be a great source of information in understanding our rich culture and heritage .
Some of the places that i realy enjoyed visited are mentioned below ..
DARASURAM temple is located just outside the kumbakonam town about 4 km away and was built in 12 century AD by the cholas . The temple has been declared as a world heritage center by UNESCO and has been maintained by the archeological department of India very well.
The temple is preceded by a huge lawn with lush green grass which adds to the beauty of the temple .The pic on the right is the entrance of the temple .Just before the entrance there is small mandapa which has steps made up of special types of rocks . The steps give sound of seven swaras when beaten with a another rock.Unfortunatly the place was sealed as the people were almost destroying it in the name of chekcing the sounds 😛 .The temple is an excellant example of the artistic excellence , the people had those days. The sculpture below depicts one of the scenes from ramayana .
This pic above as u can see has two animals with one face .If u see from the left u can see a bull and if u see from right u can see an elephant.Well ,the reason behind this sculpture is still a mystery to me. I might need to google it to know the story behind it.
This one has a dancer with one face but three pairs of legs which clearly shows the imaginative skills of the artist those days .there was a sculpture which depicted two men holding each others legs and forming a circle like a wheel . unfortunately i dont have any pic of that :(. The temple is full of pillars which has inscriptions of varopus dance poses probably bharatnatyam and each pillar is unique by its style of design.IT would probably take a whole day if u want to have a close look at each and every sculpture present in this temple .
Bhragadeeswarar temple in tanjore is again a world heritage center maintained by indian archeological department .The temple is completely constructed out of granite stones . The temple was built by one of the chola kings at around 1000 AD . The temple is located inside a fortress which ofcourse is not in perfect shape now . Its one of the tallest temples with the tower reaching a height of 70 metres . thats quite tall isn’t it .Local people say the that the tower shadow never falls on the ground. unfortunately i was in the temple at about 12 so couldn’t observe the shadow .
The top dome of the temple gopuram is believed to be made up of a single stone which measures about 80 tonnes . The nandi statue on the right pic is the biggest nandi according to sources.It is about 12 feet high sitting on an elevated platform.The shiv lingam inside the main shrine is also the biggest i have seen .
The whole atmosphere inside the temple campus would transport you thousand years back. I felt like stepping inside a time machine to go back and look how these huge and marvalous structures were created .The more you look at these majestic creations 1000 years old more you get obsessed with them.
KALLANAI is another magnificent example of the grandeur and excellance of ancient architecture .Kallanai also called as Grand annaicut is a dam built across river cauvery around 2000 years around , yes thats about the time the (A.D) era started and it still stands as the major source of irrigation down south for many villages .
This was the only tourist place in my whole trip whihc is not a temple 😛 . The place is really awesome .I couldn’t resist but to remove my clothes and have a plunge into the river and try my swimming skills 😆 . thankfully It was not that deep .
The nearest town to kallanai is Trichy about 25 km far .
Sarangapani Temple is one the main temples devoted to lord vishnu . The temple is located within the kumbakonam town so we just had to walk for about 10 mintues from my freinds house to reach It .The temple’s gopuram is again huge which is full of breathtaking sculptures .The fact that each and every part of the gopuram has been painted makes it much more imposing and magnificent.
The temple is about 2000 years old however the painting works on the temple tower wont give u minute impression of the temple’s age.
The main shrine has been desinged in the form of chariot which was visible in many other small temples too .The chariots were shown being pulled by elephants and horses on either side.
The Temple gopuram’s first row has been filled with sculptures with erotic poses that too on both sides . I wonder what was in the architects mind when he ordered poses like this to be sculpted on the temples main gopuram .
Some of the other places i enjoyed visiting were Tanjore Palace built arounf 1500 AD and Poondi Matha Basilica which was visited by john pope paul II . Then there was swamimalai temple , ramasamy temple , thirunageshwaram temple and uppali appan temple .
There are loads of temples in and around kumbakonam that i visited which are unique in their own way .Obviously i cant write about each and everyone of them . So i guess i should stop here after all u must be getting bored of reading it for so long .I am sure many of them would have said ” i quit” midway and closed this site 😛 .
A big thanks to the very few people who have come reading this far 😉 .I wont take any more of ur time .