Brihadishwara Temple in Thanjavur

Finally woke up feeling like a human again today. We were leaving Trichy today and we were both glad to get out of our hotel room that we had been holed up in for the last 3 days.

We only were going about 45kms as the crow flies to Thanjavur via train. So we headed out and purchased our tickets. We were assured by the ticket seller that we would get a seat so didn’t bother reserving one. We were still both a bit gun shy with food at the moment but desperately needed the energy so found some muffins at one of the stalls which turned out to be some of the best muffins ever. 

We headed out early to the train and found it parked ready and waiting. Unfortunately out of the 22 carriages only 2 were for unreserved tickets and already full. Stupid ticket man. So we spent the next hour and a half standing in the door way. Well Tim was standing, I ended up sitting down on the floor. It wasn’t the nicest of train trips we ever had. The scenery was pretty bleak along the way, so so dry. We also saw some people living a pretty bleak existence in some very poor towns populated with mud huts. It was dusty and about 40 degrees with not a lot of trees for shade. 

We finally arrived and even though it was a short trip it had completely sapped our energy and we were hot and bothered and feeling a little sorry for ourselves. We caught a tuk tuk to our hotel which Tim had booked and as he was paying the driver I walked into utopia. A man came running to take my backpack, air conditioning cooled my neck and a lovely lady welcomed me with a necklace and a cool towel. I filled out the paperwork and after being handed a welcome drink we were escorted to our room which was lovely and overlooked a giant pool!!!!! Tim my wonderful husband you really outdid yourself this time. 

After a dip in the pool and a relax we waited until the intense heat subsided and headed out to see the World Heritage Temple. We had to walk past the hospital and can I just say that if the outside was anything to go by there was no way you would get me to set foot in the place.

We entered the temple complex and were standing under something that was out of an Indiana Jones movie. The Gopurams were similar to Maduaris but without the colour and obviously a lot older being built around 1000BC by Rajaraja I (king of kings). I think I liked this colourless style more than the brightly coloured temples we have seen previously. It somehow makes it more impressive to be able to study the statues and realize the detail without the colour showing you the contrasts. Needless to say we were amazed and I think it was one of our most awe inspired moments so far in India. 

This was also because the whole complex was open so you could get a view of quite a lot of the site all in one. You could go into the temples but they were quite small, it was easy to wander in and out and walk around each temple and view the carvings on the outside of the buildings. We also were allowed into the inner sanctum of all of these temples which was nice to see. You entered and there would be one or a group of pujari (Hindu priests) near the shrine of that particular God or goddess. For a small fee he would bless you and mark your forehead (called a tilaka). In comparison to the outside the inside of the temples were very basic and almost austere. 

We found a shady bench and sat down and admired the sun setting on the horizon which made the stone turn an amazing red colour. Quite the site. A memorable stop at Thanjavor. S

One of the train stops along the way. Not the best of platforms! 

The entrance.


An alcove inside one of the temples.


Looking out from the temple towards the outer wall of the complex.

The main temple dedicated to Shiva.

The pictures speak for themselves really.


One of the smaller temples placed throughout the complex.

The colours of the stone with the sunset were amazing.

These guys wanted a shot with us so after Tim got one for us.

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