June 9th, 2017 by admin

Planning for trip to Tanjavur was quite a few years in making. Finally that trip happened in September, 2015. For travel, I decided on our reliable KSRTC bus. On KSRTC.in, I booked tickets for Airavat class AC Volvo. Then came search for hotel in Thanjavur. Searched through Makemytrip.com, goibibo.com and cleartrip.com. If I liked a hotel then I tried to cross check reviews on Tripadvisor.com. Based on the review and amenities, I booked Hotel Raks through Cleartrip.com for Rs 1444. It is located very near to the Thanjavur new bus stand.

Address of Hotel Raks:

8 & 9, Kalanchiyam garden, Near New Bus Stand, Trichy road, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613007
Ph: 04362 – 227 806

As all Tamil Nadu bus, it left from Shantinagar bus stand. Scheduled departure was 9.17 AM and reached Tanjavur in the morning around 6 AM. We took a small walk looking for Meenakshi hospital as landmark and found Hotel Raks just before it. The hotel looked clean and cozy at the onset. We had booked a standard AC double bed room. The reception staff was friendly and the formalities was done in few minutes. For online bookings either a hard copy of the booking confirmation email or showing the email through your cell phone will do. We were pretty pleased with the room.

At reception I asked for a car to go around. I negotiated it to whole day – 200 KM – Rs 2000. After taking bath and having a complementary breakfast at the hotel restaurant, we went our to explore. Our first destination was Gangaikonda Cholapuram in Kumbakunom. As we headed out of Tanjavur, we saw the first glimpses of Brihadeshwara temple. We kept it for the evening. Thanjavur is also know as the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu. Here the lands are fertile. We saw paddy fields, sugarcane cultivation, water canals while traveling through the winding roads of Thanjavur to Kumbakonam. The temple is open from 6 AM to 12 non and from 4 PM to 8 PM. After exploring and appreciating the architectural beauty of the temple we left for Suryanar temple.

Suryanar temple is dedicated to the Sun god. It is located at Thirumangalakudi P.O on Kumbakonam – Mayiladuthurai road. It was a quite a rush on that Saturday. Nothing significant in terms of architecture here but I must say it is a good place to observe human behavior when they come calling on God.

Next stop was Oppiliappan Koil (temple in temple).

It was around 2 PM, we decided to head back to Tanjavur have lunch and head to Brihadeshwara temple, an UNESCO world heritage site. For food we went Sathars restaurant at 167, Gandhiji road, Thanjavur – 613001. Phone – 04362 – 231041, 314151. They have a AC section as well and ambiance is comfortable.We had ordered for chicken 65 and what we received was something we had ever seen as chicken 65. They actually brought fried red chicken!! Nevermind it was eatable. We ordered for chilly chicken, chicken 65, roti and coke (pax 2) which cost us Rs 506.

From there we headed straight to Brihadeshwara temple. After delightful tour of the big temple, we were back to comfort of our AC hotel room at around 7.30 pm.

On day 2, we had bus for Bangalore at 9.45 PM. So we planned to checkout of hotel in the morning as we would be traveling for sightseeing whole day. As planned we left little early in the morning (8 AM) as we wanted to visit few temples at Kumbakonam. After traveling about 2 hours, we reached Thirumanancheri temple. This temple is full of legends of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati’s marriage. It is said that anyone who prays here for marriage, their wish is fulfilled. Temple timings are: 6.00 am – 12.00 noon & 3.00 pm – 8.00 pm. For performing puja, you will have to pay a puja fees of Rs 100 and buy earthen lamps. Earthen lamps will cost you Rs 30. During our stay there, we noticed newly married couples coming there for blessings. Beware of vendors outside the temple, who might ask you overprice.

Then we went to two other temples. The Srirangapani temple and Chakrapani temple. They are located besides a large tank called Mahamaham tank. Some festival was going on there. Saw traditional musicians were playing. The temples are dedicated to lord Vishnu. Kumbakonam is a busy and densely populated town. It has a large flow of religious people through out the year. If you would like to avoid heavy rush avoid travelling to Kumbakonam during festivals. The two has two rivers – Kaveri and Arsalar. By afternoon we started from Kumbakonam to Tanjavur. In Tanjavur we again visited the Brihadeshwara temple and spent some time there. Then we went to our hotel for dinner. Here, we left the cab we hired. After dinner, we hired an auto and went to Tanjavur bus stand. We had already booked bus for Bangalore on KSRTC. It took some time for the bus to arrive. As I sat on the bus I remembering the various temple architectures. Splendid!

October 19th, 2015 by admin

The royal palace in Thanjavur, also called the Maratha palace as the then Maratha rulers used to stay here. The Bhonsle family ruled this part of Tamil Nadu from 1674 to 1855. The last Maratha king did not had any heir and the British took over the kingdom by coercive means.

Address:

E Main St, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613001

I visited the palace recently. We reached there in the afternoon.

There is an entry frees for some sections of the palace. If you want to shoot, pay for camera fees as well.

Entry fees: Rs 10 for Adult (Indian), Rs 5 for children (Indian), Rs 50 for foreigners

Camera fees: Rs 30

Car parking: Rs 10

We can divide the palace into the following sections for easy exploration:

1. Art Gallery
2. Bell Tower
3. Saraswati Mahal Library
4. Maratha Darbar
5. Sangeetha Mahal

I suggest you start with the Art Gallery. At the gate, your tickets will be checked. Keep your tickets properly as you will be asked to show it different sections. First you will be able to see a huge collection stone sculpture starting from as old as 8th century AD to as recent as 17 / 18th century. Go little further you can see the Nayak Durbar hall, where a huge cache of antique coins from various periods and countries are kept. Also, you should be able to see antique bronze statues from various ruling periods of Tamil Nadu. This hall also has a statue of King Serfoji II. Nearby, there is another newly built hall containing artifacts. Pass this art gallery halls, you will enter a staircase, the right hand side corridor lead to a hall which has miniatures of the Brihadeeshwara temple, the palace and some more bronze statues. Also, you should be a able to see a big golden colour statue of King Raja Raja Chola.

Follow the path of the staircase to go to the first floor. The first floor opens to terrace on both sides. The staircase further leads to the top of the gopuram like structure. But the staircase from the first floor is locked from both sides. So looks like entry is restricted. At the first floor, staircase leads to a place, where most probably the king or royals used to sit.

From the terrace on the right hand side, one can see Sangeetha Mahal and the Bell tower. It also has a few solar panels, showing the palace is keeping parleys with modern times by harnessing solar power. On the left hand side terrace, one can see some elevated cement tables. Looks like used for sitting. If not, what could be they used for? Also, you can see a big skeleton of a whale.

I also felt sad here by seeing the walls being desecrated by people. When people, do not understand its their cultural hetitage, authorities need to be more watchful.

The next stop was Bell tower. It seems to be a 5 story building, which has a bell on its top floor. It was under renovation during my visit and the staircase was closed.

Then went to Saraswati Mahal Library. King Serfoji II was very interested in Books and created this place of learning. The library is only for research scholars and the timings are as follows:

Timing: 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. & 1.30 pm. to 5.30

However, you can visit the library museum. The official Tamil Nadu tourism website shows, admission is free here, but our tickets were checked which we bought. It also looks like, some offices are housed here.

Then on the left hand side a small lane led us to the Maratha durbar. Here, the Maratha rulers used to give audience. From what is remaining, it looked a very beautiful and grand durbar hall in its heydays. But it is also desecrated.

For more pictures visit, Travelingbeats Photo Gallery.

October 6th, 2015 by admin

The royal palace at Thanjavur has a good collection of antique stone sculpture collection from various parts of Tamil Nadu. The oldest I saw was from around 8th century AD. Take a look at few of the sculptures there.

October 2nd, 2015 by admin

The Maratha royal palace in Thanjavur is just not about seeing how the Maratha kings (who ruled this part of the country then) lived here. It is also a powerhouse of collection of centuries old artifacts and antiques. Check few images of the collection of bronze statues I clicked there.

September 28th, 2015 by admin

The seat of the Maratha rulers at Thanjavur has a good collection of items from history. At the palace, saw a diverse collection of coins from various periods of the past. Take a look:

September 25th, 2015 by admin

Brihadeeshwara temple, also know as the Big temple is probably one of the best temples in the world. No wonder, it is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Address:

Membalam Rd, Balaganapathy Nagar, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

Timings:

6:00 am – 12:30 pm and 4:00 – 8:30 pm

Entry fees: Free

Note: Parking available on the opposite side of the temple (on the other side of the road)

We planned to see the temple in the late afternoon as that would allow us to see it in both daylight and night. As we proceeded towards the temple, we were welcomed by a huge arch. From the second arch onwards on has to walk barefoot, so either leave your shoes in your personal vehicle or at the shoe stand available at the temple for Rs 2. If you have any bag, there will be a checking at the second arch. Entry to the temple is free. Once we crossed the second arch, we could see the full view of the temple and its splendor. The arches were positioned such that one can see the Nandi sitting on a platform facing Lord Shiva. From here one has to climb a small platform on which the Nandi sat. From here some steps straight took us to the main sanctum. The elevated platform of the main temple and Nandi forms the center of the rectangle.

During day its hot but as the sun was setting the weather started to cool down. A gentle breeze started to blow all over the temple. We took a walk around the main temple exploring it. At dark a different view of the temple came alive and was a treat to the eyes. We sat on the nicely maintained grass lawn to enjoy the view around and thinking about the temple.

The construction of the temple was started by great Chola emperor Rajaraja I in 1003 AD and was completed in 1010 AD. The design of the temple is an engineering marvel and whoever has designed it was an architect per excellence. The temple was designed to represent a cosmic structure called the Mahameru. The temple is dedicated to lord Shiva represented by a 3.66 meter high linga. The area of the temple is a rectangle in shape. The vimana soars to a height of 60.96 meters and the stone Shikara (8 pieces) at the top weighs 81.284 tonnes. The inner scantum is a square and there is a circumambulatory passage around it like most south Indian temples. Along with the main temple, the complex has 5 sub shrines for Chandikeshava, Amman, Subhramanya, Ganesha and Karuvur devar – the royal priest. There are two mandapas for Nataraj and Nandi. The beautiful Nandi has been chessiled for a single granite rock. Two gopuras Rajarajan thiruvasal and Keralantaka are of the same period as the main temple and the arch is of the Maratha period. The walls have numerous inscriptions from the period of Chola, Pandaya, Vijaynagar, Nayaka and Maratha rulers. From the writings it can be seen that the temple was patronized by various rulers and received generous donations.

If anyone ask me to describe this temple, I would say – “It is a poetry written in stones”. Go there in leisure and you wont complain.

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