A Soulful Solo – Travel to The Chola Kingdom

Remembering my very first solo trip to The Siamese Kingdom – Ayutthaya, Thailand which increased my love to explore the world while exploring the nooks and crannies of my soul. Traveling solo is one of The Best things everyone should experience in their lifetime. Traveling by myself gave me quality time and to absorb a culture in a new way.

Revisiting the History and connecting with the past is an incredible experience – I am fortunate to visit such beautiful places in Thanjavur / Tanjore, INDIA and in its surroundings which was ruled by The Cholas starting in the 9th century. I visited two of magnificent temples built by The Cholas, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Brihadishwara Temple at Tanjore and Airavateshwara Temple at Darasuram, Kumbakonam. These two temples are the best classic examples of the brilliant art and architecture by The Cholas. I highly appreciate and thank the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for maintaining the sanctity of these living temples.

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The places I visited were in the outskirts of Tanjore and Kumbakonam except the Brihadishwara Temple and the Palace. I used public transportation (Bus) to visit all the places since it is the safest mode of transport when we travel alone and also to enjoy traveling like a local. I was able to enjoy my bus rides in spite of continuous rains and the festive crowd – “Getting out of the comfort zone is the key thing that differentiates A TRAVELLER from a tourist”.

Places that interested me to visit during my 2 days trip:

 *Brihadishwara Temple, Tanjore – This temple was built 1000+ years ago. The grand entrance of the temple welcomes with the flock of beautiful birds. I was astonished by seeing the creative, outstanding and detailed architecture of the temple. The tower of the temple is 216 feet and it is one of the tallest in the world.

*Tanjore Palace – A good place for art and history lovers. The palace has different halls – Durbar Hall, Sangeetha Mahal, The Art Gallery, Saraswathi Mahal Library and Bell Tower. The parts of the palace are ruined and some are under renovation.

*Panchatheeshwar Temple, Thiruvayaru – This is one of beautiful Shiva temples near Tanjore. The temple has a beautiful pond with a bevy of swans and also there is an elephant name “KARUNAMBAL”.

*Sri Thyagaraja Bhagavathar Grave, Thiruvayaru – Sri Thyagaraja was one of the greatest composers of Carnatic music. Thiruvaiyaru Tyagaraja Aradhana is held annually at this place to pay homage for the great composer of Indian Classic Music.

*Cauvery River at Thiruvayaru – Thiruvaiyaru is situated on the banks of the River Cauvery.

*Moon temple at Thingalur – This temple is located in a small village near Thiruvayaru. It is one of the Navagraha temples and the deity is Moon.

*Kalyana Sundarar Temple, Thirumanancheri – An interesting belief about this temple is that the unmarried male / female who visits this temple and praise the lord will get married soon.

*Vaitheeshwarar Temple near Chidambaram – It is one of the Navagraha temples and the deities are Lord Shiva and planet Mars. The temple has a temple tree at the entrance and a beautiful pond inside.

*Airavateshwara Temple, Darasuram, Kumbakonam – This is one of the amazing and gorgeous temples I have visited so far. This temple has brilliant stone carvings that includes the conjoined heads of Bull and Elephant and also a very small carving of the dancing Lord Ganesha.

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Stuffs to buy:

*Tanjore Painting, Tanjore Art plates and Tanjore dancing dolls at Sangeetha Mahal in the Tanjore Palace Complex / at the Government Arts store

*Ashoka Halwa (A popular dessert made with moong dhal as its key ingredient) from Andavar sweet shop, Thiruvaiyaru

INCREDIBLE ART and ARCHITECTURE of INDIA!

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