“You should go to Tanjore on your way to Ponducherry, there is an amazing beautiful temple from 11th century, more beautiful than The Temple of Sri Meenakshi” Zoe said.
“Ok” I responded. Practicing yes, and to life.
When I found out that it will take me two different trains to get there, my enthusiasm sort of disappeared and my mind start thinking that may be it is not worth spending so much on the road for one temple and going somewhere unknown.
I am glad I went.
And matter of fact I loved traveling by train, it was something romantic about it, it is out of time experience, it reminds me the times of Soviet Union and my childhood. Open windows and fresh air from fields makes it even better. Only one pitfall about traveling on trains people staring at me especially men. I get a lot of attention :).
The solution is to sit with woman. I feel sisterhood here 100 %.
I made a strategic decision to stay at the hotel by bus station , yes it was a bit crazy and loud, by now I could handle it, the most importantly I could walk to the both destinations I came to see. Plus my hotel had a shower, big deal, even I appreciate the shower from a bucket – very green of me and cold water in the morning is good for you. Regardless, I took probably around 6 showers within 24 hours compensating for the past week and upcoming 5 :).
I was really hungry as I am not allowed to eat train food or from the stations, I was quite hungry by the time I arrived and had no energy to look around for places to eat. When I went to the restaurant by the hotel (it looks more like a dinner in Bronx :)) I was really surprised by the service I got at my new location. My waiter brought me a SPOON without me asking, I do not mind eating with my hands, but if I have the spoon 🙂 I will eat with the spoon and then he surprised me with napkins.
The view from my Tanjore favorite food joint.
Ok let’s talk about more important matters, why I came to Tanjore – The great temple of Tanjore – The great temple of Sri Brihadisvara. This pagoda is “by far the grandest in India” Encyclopaedia Brittanica said and I agree. Little bit more history and photos will speak for themselves.
“In the twenty-fifth year of Rajaraja (A.D. 1009 – 10) on the 257th day of the year the king handed over the cooper pot for the finial at the top of the Vimana” – It weighted 235 lbs, and was overlaid with gold plate of the weight of 2926 ½ kalanju or nearly 35 lbs. Troy.
It is really majestic and beautiful. It makes you speechless.
I spent a lot of time at the temple, it was a perfect time to contemplate and at some point I was sitting at the stairs of Ganesha Temple and very sweet lady greeted me with namaste and replied back and then she started talking to me and I thought she is asking me for money and I really liked her so I started searching for my purse and she actually wanted to give money to me……..I was surprised and shocked. I just smiled back with gratitude and that is what India is about for me….it keeps surprising me, making me open and letting go of this attitude that I know it all. Humbling. Here is the lady in yellow sari with a lots of money :).
I kept on moving from one temple to another to sit more and watch people, here some more. The man and boy, it was so much love between them, which you do not see here a lot. At least I do not see it.
Jasmine stands and cows are everywhere. It makes the streets of South India special.
I was back to the temple next morning. I meditated, walked around, observed people and got asked to be in the photo :).