Great Living Chola Temples

by Wojciech Fedoruk - 3 years ago

Temple complex in Thanjavur, UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in the city centre, not so far from the train station. There are signs leading to the temple, which can be easily reached on foot in less than half an hour (the main tower is visible from quite a big distance so it is easy to find the right direction). If you are short in time and travel by train, it may be enough to designate 3 to 4 hours for the whole stay in Thanjavur.

I was surprised at the entrance, as this is one of few places in Southern India where the entrance fee is not imposed. You should only pay a small fee for shoe deposit (in most of Hindu temples shoes should be removed). I suggest visiting the temple in the morning, noon hours can be too hot. And in the morning the place is less crowded.

The whole complex comprises of the Big Temple, several smaller ones and the ‘gallery’ surrounding the whole place. In front of the main temple there is a big statue of Nandi, Shiva sacred bull. The place is very well designed so it is a real pleasure to sit in the shadow and admire the beauty of the temples. All temples are full of sculptures, although, as usual in Indian temples, they are not so impressive inside. There were religious ceremonies in the Big Temple and it was even allowed for non-Hindu to participate and take blessing (for a small donation). Do not omit nice and well preserved (although partially requiring renovation) frescoes in the gallery.

After visiting the temples in Thanjavur, I took the night train to Madurai, to admire another beautiful temple, devoted to Meenakshi.

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