The Brihadeeswarar Temple
Thanjavur Travel Blog› entry 7 of 37 › view all entries
Our next stop of the day is in the town of Thanjavur, where we visit the Brihadeeswarar Temple. I have already read on the bus that the first foundations of this construction were laid down in around the year 1002 AD, making this the world’s first complete granite temple. After visiting the Chidambaram Temple in the morning, I’m expecting another explosion of colour. The Brihadeeswarar Temple doesn’t have any paint at all though. The entire complex still has its natural granite colour.
It was built to be the royal temple to display emperor’s Rajaraja Chola I power and his relationship to the universal order. The temple was the site of the major royal ceremonies such as the anointment of the emperor and linking him with its deity Shiva, and the daily rituals of the deities were mirrored by those of the king.
The temple maintained a staff of 600 people.
Just beyond the fortified walls that surround the temple, an elephant is present to give blessings to visitors, but inside the temple you can also get a blessing in the form of a swipe of chalk on your forehead. We quickly found out that neither the elephant, nor the priest inside the temple, like coins as an offering for the blessing.
We also have to conclude that, to local visitors, we are more interesting than the temple. They all keep asking us to take their picture together with one of us. I suppose this is how Madonna must feel when going out the door.
After enough time to explore the temple and smoke two cigarettes, our bus moves on to Trichy, where we arrive in the early evening.
After circling the centre of Trichy a couple of times, Lomash gets of the bus and flags down a rickshaw. Within minutes it’s clear what his idea is. He gets into the rickshaw, who drives to the hotel. All Ajit has to do, is follow the rickshaw and we’ll get there.
We’re exhausted, we’re starving, but we have reached our hotel, thanks to nobody else but Lomash!