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Old 15th October 2009, 19:43   #61
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Amazing travelog Hotstuff. Really enjoyed it.

We generally don't hear about Andaman & Nicobar either on TV or News papers. It was like some foreign country to me. I had absolutely no idea whats it like in these islands. Thank you for bringing this up on the forum. Would like to visit these places sometime.

Wonder how you guys manage to get so many holidays. Never mind, myself just envious

Carry on with great stuff !
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Old 15th October 2009, 23:05   #62
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Smile Thank you!

@raju2512;
@sushrutha;
@rajeevn;
@MX6;
@B.R.S.Rao;
@sammyboy;
@BomBatt;

- Thanks a lot for your comments! and wishing everyone a very Happy & Prosperous Diwali.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raju2512 View Post
...Can I add a few details about the temples you visited which may be of interest , as you write about them
- Sure, please feel free to add in any details / comments / pics about these places or monuments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
...Is there a way to take your car over to Andaman? Say by some ship or something?
- There are ships which ply to the Andamans from Chennai & from Calcutta. I understand that it is a 60+ hour trip, one-way. And yes, cars can be transported to the Andamans. Since central government employees and folks from the armed forces can get posted there, some of them do get their cars and bikes shipped. Not sure about the charges and there might be some permits required prior to shipping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
...I yearn to do a trip around the famous temples of Tamil nadu again!
- If you do a trip now, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the road network in TN. I am really impressed by the roads in TN. Yes, there are a few occasional hiccups, but we found mostly good or great roads all through our drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BomBatt View Post
...We generally don't hear about Andaman & Nicobar either on TV or News papers. It was like some foreign country to me...
- True, till I landed there, I too had a very different mental picture of the Andamans... but Port Blair is no different than say a Goa or a Mangalore. Similar greenery, the smell of fish in some areas, roads that go up and down the hillsides... lots of greenery and as I mentioned, there is a touch of Bangalore too... with Autos who refuse to go where you want them to...
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Old 15th October 2009, 23:42   #63
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Lightbulb 25th Sep 2009 - Chidambaram, GangaikondaCholapuram, Darasuram, Kumbakonam, Tanjore.

We were up and out by 7.00am on the 25th and proceeded towards the Chidambaram temple.

If you are wondering whatever happened to the Trekkers what were manufactured by Hindustan Motors, looks like most of them wound up in Tamilnadu; and were mostly bought by driving schools. We came across a number of these vehicles in good running condition around TN, mostly with 'L' boards stuck to them.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-001.jpg


The temple entrance gopuram in daylight...

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More pics from outside the temple complex. Each temple in TN has its own rule book when it comes to photography. In some places they'll allow you unfettered access to take pics anywhere (Except the main deity.) In other places the totally prohibit carrying cameras into the temples. In a few other places you need to buy a camera ticket...

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After spending some time in Chidambaram, we headed off towards Gangaikonda cholapuram. A lot of info about this place is available here: Gangaikonda Cholapuram - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-005.jpg


Pics from the temple; which does bear a strong resemblance to the Tanjore Brihadeshwara temple. This temple was once surrounded by a massive fortification wall, which was dismantled by the British, who used the stones for constructing a Anaicut (Dam) across a river nearby.

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Next we headed towards Kumbakonam. A small town that literally has a temple in every other street. We had listed down a few temples which are architecturally and artistically significant and planned our visit around them.

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Drove through Kumbakonam to visit Darasuram first and then spend the rest of the day in Kumbakonam.

Darasuram is famous for the 'Airavteshwara temple' which features in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. More info here: Darasuram - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A very beautiful temple, with intricate carvings...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-012.jpg


And remnants of ancient paintings; created using natural colors and pigments...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-013.jpg


Some more pics from in and around the temple...

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There are also quite a few handloom silk units in and around Darasuram. We walked around a little into the streets around the temple and found one. The folks were sweet enough to take a few minutes off to explain 'how things work!'

I had always assumed that a handloom is a relatively simple machine. But in reality, it is extremely complex. The loom is actually a programmable device, with the design inputs being fed in via punched cards.

There are cards which specify the design of the top and bottom borders of the saree, cards which generate the main section design and another set of complex cards for the pallu.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-024.jpg


Depending on the complexity of the design, a single silk saree takes anywhere between 5 to 20 days to weave...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-025.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-026.jpg


We were back in Kumbakonam by lunch time. Had plate meals in a small hotel and worked out a plan of action. We realized that the places we wanted to see were located with a few square Kms of the town. Since finding our way around + finding a parking place after we reached the places was going to be a pain, we just parked the car near the first place we wanted to see and hired an auto.

Caught hold of an auto guy, told him about the list of places we wanted to see, asked him how much time it would take to cover all of these and the best order to follow... and then asked him how much would he charge if he were to take us around to all of these places.Started with 200/- and negotiated it down to 175/- and we were all set. He would take us to a temple and wait for us.

For extensive details about Kumbakonam + a listing of the important temples etc. Please check this link: Kumbakonam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Many of the temples in Kumbakonam are spread over a large area. So the corridors in some of the temple complexes are used as markets. And the temple compound is used as a thoroughfare... if you want to go to the other street, just hold your slippers in your hand and walk through the temple compound instead of the longer route around it.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-027.jpg


Dolls; which are quite popular in Karnataka & Tamilnadu, displayed as part of Dussehra festivities...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-028.jpg


Just a random pic...

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In most places in the interiors of Tamilnadu, everything and everybody shuts down at around 12.30pm; and it is siesta time till around 4.00pm. So plan your trip taking this into consideration...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-030.jpg


Contd...
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Old 15th October 2009, 23:52   #64
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As always, enjoying your travelogue thoroughly.

As far as I remember, Tanjore-Darasuram-Gonagaikondacholapuram temples are all from Chola dynasty and together forms a UNESCO heritage site
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Old 16th October 2009, 00:01   #65
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Lightbulb 25th Sep 09-Chidambaram, GangaikondaCholapuram, Darasuram, Kumbakonam, Tanjore Contd.

More pics from Kumbakonam...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-031.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-032.jpg


The 'Mahamaham tank'. Which literally comes alive with people during the Mahamaham festival, known as the Kumbamela of South India. It occurs once every 12 years...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-033.jpg


The B&W pic below from the year 1900 (?) illustrates what I mean.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-033a.jpg


Taking the auto was a very prudent decision indeed. He whizzed us through the narrow alleys and took us from place to place...

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More pics...

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The Ramappa temple, which features some exquisite stone work...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-041.jpg


And a pictorial depiction of the Ramayana...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-042.jpg


Kumbakonam also has quite a few brass workshops. Walk a little into some of the alleys around the temples and you can watch the artisans going about their work...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-043.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-044.jpg


The temple compound turns into a place for an evening outing with the family. With small shops, merry-go-round and rides for kids, snack shops and the picture is completed by a 'blessing' elephant.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-045.jpg


After Kumbakonam our next destination was Tanjore or Thanjavur. Which is famous for the Brihadeshwara temple and also the ubiquitous Tanjore paintings.

We started from Kumbakonam at around 6.30pm, the distance between Kumbakonam is around 40kms and the roads are quite good. We could cover the distance in around an hour.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-046.jpg


Entering Tanjore, we headed straight towards the Brihadeshwara temple. Saw that the monument was still lit up at around 8.00pm. On enquiring at the entrance we found that the temple was open till around 10pm that night due to the festivities.

Drove around a little and found a place called 'Pandiyar Residency'. The hotel + rooms were clean and we checked in; and headed back to the temple.

A quick note about the hotel: This is the only hotel from our entire trip that I would rate as 'Please Avoid'. Non-responsive staff, towels and soaps that never arrived till we chased them several times, chai that never arrived in spite of repeated reminders, parking problems thanks to the movie theatre adjacent to the hotel.

Coming back to the temple, Wikipedia says: "The Brihadeshwara Temple at Thanjavur, is the world's first complete granite temple and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas in temple architecture. It is a tribute and a reflection of the power of its patron RajaRaja Chola I. It remains as one of the greatest glories of Indian architecture.

The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Great Living Chola Temples"...

"... The 'Vimana' - or the temple tower - is 216 ft (66 m) high and is among the tallest of its kind in the world. There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock, at the entrance measuring about 16 feet long and 13 feet high..."

The temple is capped by a monolithic 'shikhara' made of a single granite block weighing around 80 tons; which was probably pulled up using an inclined ramp that was around 4 to 6 kms long!

There was not much of a crowd at that time and we spent more than an hour walking around the temple...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-047.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-048.jpg


The smaller temple adjacent to the main temple...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-049.jpg


More pics...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-050.jpg


The monolithic Nandi, which is the second biggest in the country.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-051.jpg


By 10.30pm the temple was shut and we were among the last few to walk out of the complex...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-052.jpg


Headed back to the hotel and logged off for the night. Tomorrow was going to be a long day!
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Old 16th October 2009, 00:50   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
As always, enjoying your travelogue thoroughly.

As far as I remember, Tanjore-Darasuram-Gonagaikondacholapuram temples are all from Chola dynasty and together forms a UNESCO heritage site
Hey Arindam, thanks!.

Yes, you are right on both counts... though they are three temples in three different towns, they have been grouped together by UNESCO as the "Great Living Chola Temples"
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Old 16th October 2009, 01:07   #67
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Lightbulb 26th Sep 09 - Tanjore, Trichy, Srirangam.

Our best friend on the road, Google! I used Airtel GPRS quite extensively during the trip. Be it for reading up about the places to see or looking up the route options on Gmaps...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-001.jpg


Next morning we headed towards the temple by around 7.30am. Found a good restaurant nearby for breakfast and walked back into the complex...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-002.jpg

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Carved; and painted...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-006.jpg


The smaller temple in the complex...

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The walls of the passages along the outer perimeter are covered with paintings. Looks like there have been some restoration attempts in the past...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-016.jpg


Next we drove off towards the Tanjore palace, which is a couple of kilometers from the temple.

The Palace, on the east main street is a complex of structures, built partly by the Nayaks around 1550 AD, and additions were made by the Marathas.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-018.jpg


The Nataraja hall in the temple museum...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-019.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-020.jpg


The palace has a huge whale skeleton, from a carcass that washed ashore and was donated to the museum by the fisheries department...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-021.jpg


More pics..

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-022.jpg


You can climb up the narrow staircase up to the 3rd floor of the tower...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-023.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-024.jpg


The palace compound seems to have been encroached upon and there are quite a few houses and even a basketball court in the area behind the palace...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-025.jpg


The palace complex...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-026.jpg


The halls in the palace feature some very elaborate examples of stucco-work...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-027.jpg


The Brihadeshwara temple dominates the skyline of Tanjore...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-028.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-029.jpg


Contd...
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Old 16th October 2009, 01:30   #68
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Lightbulb 26th Sep 09 - Tanjore, Trichy, Srirangam. Contd..

"Theese is bell tower of paalace. You know bell? ding-ding , ding-ding?" - A guide was explaining to a foreign tourist...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-030.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-031.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-032.jpg


The 'durbar hall' of the palace. As you can make out, the lack of maintenance is evident in the fading paint all around...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-033.jpg


This would have been a really bright and colorful place in its hey-day...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-034.jpg

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'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-036.jpg


Another section of the palace which houses a museum...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-037.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-038.jpg


There is also a Government handicrafts showroom in the palace complex, which has a very good collection of curios and artifacts...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-039.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-040.jpg


They also have a good collection of Tanjore paintings, which are made with semi-precious gemstones and gold foil...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-041.jpg


After spending a few hours in Tanjore, we drove on to our next destination; Trichy or Tiruchirapalli. Our first stop was at the 'Rock fort' temple. The old-city in which the Rock-fort is located is a little messy with lots of traffic going in all directions!

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-042.jpg


We kept asking for directions till we finally reached a road from where we could see the Rock-fort and headed straight towards it.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-043.jpg


Found parking near a museum building and walked towards the stairs leading up to the top...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-044.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-046.jpg


It is quite amazing how such a big complex of temples has been built on top of the rock...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-045.jpg


There is also a cave temple on top; which reminded us of the temples we had seen in Badami. ( http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ighways-2.html )

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-047.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-048.jpg


The Ganesha temple which is the top most point of the Rock-fort hill...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-049.jpg


Trichy from the top...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-050.jpg


We could also see Srirangam across the river, where we were heading to next...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-051.jpg


A poster featuring views of the Rock-fort from the four directions; sponsored by Ambica Sarees, who deal in 'Excessive' fancy sarees... whatever that means.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-052.jpg


Visited the other temples on the hill and walked down...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-053.jpg


For 2 rupees, I too got blessed... with elephant snot. (Cheeee!... where are the tissues)

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-054.jpg


It was around 7.15pm when we started off from Trichy to Srirangam, which is just across the river...

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Some images from Trichy...

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Reached Srirangam, parked the car and walked into the temple. We had planned to finish darshan and find a hotel later.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-059.jpg


We were walking through the crowd when someone called out my name "Sanjay"... I turned around to see an old colleague and team-mate of mine who was also in Srirangam with his family. This is surely a small world!
Finished darshan and found a hotel right next to the temple and settled down for the night.

Srirangam is apparently the largest functioning Hindu temple complex in the world and the second largest temple complex in terms of area. Second only to the Angkor-Wat temple complex.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-srirangamariel.jpg


By the time we finished darshan, it was around 10.00pm; and by the time we retuned back to the room, it was around 11.00pm... Set the alarm for 6.00am and lights out.
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Old 16th October 2009, 08:35   #69
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Exclamation Small correction...

Sangeetha just pointed out a typo in my post...

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/attach...ilnadu-041.jpg

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/attach...ilnadu-042.jpg

These are not from 'Ramappa' temple, but from the 'Ramaswamy' temple in Kumbakonam. [Ramappa temple is in Warangal, AP].
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Old 16th October 2009, 10:30   #70
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Chidambaram Temple: Don't miss the following when in Chidambaram

1. In the morning by around 10 am , you can have a darshan of the "Ratna sabapathy" - a small idol of Nataraja made of red stone. After the abishekas, the screens will be closed and they will perform a harathy to the idol from the front and the rear and the glow of the red stone is something to be seen.

2. The arthajama pooja or the last of pooja of the day is very famous in Chidambaram. It is believed at all the Devatahas will be present in the temple during that time and is usually done late in the night by 10.30 pm where as other temples normally close by 9 pm.

Pitchavaram lake is very close to Chidambaram is a must visit for nature lovers
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Old 16th October 2009, 10:59   #71
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Glorious photo's
And ofcourse very nice narration - feel like that we are seeing everything lively.
Cheers
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Old 16th October 2009, 12:31   #72
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Hotsuff, was just waiting for your return from Andamans, nice narrations and beautiful photos, it was really worth spending all the morning reading the travelogue to Andaman, i hope that you would still put in the spirited narration throughout the trip of Tamil Nadu also!
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Old 16th October 2009, 14:51   #73
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In the main vimana of the Thanjavur temple, on the left side of vimana towards to the middle , there is statue of a chinese man, as a reminder of the link between southern India and China.

While in Thanjavur, don't miss a visit to the Sarawati Mahal library, supposed to be one of the best and oldest library in the country.

Last edited by raju2512 : 16th October 2009 at 14:55.
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Old 16th October 2009, 14:55   #74
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Hotstuff

One temple which you would have loved to visit is the Tiruvarur temple. This temple rivals both Chidambaram and Srirangam in terms of size, history and religious importance. There is a full fledged mini temple which is a scale model (although a real temple) of the Thanjavur temple inside Tiruvarur temple complex. Locals say the Rajaraja built this model first to study before building the temple in Thanjavur
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Old 16th October 2009, 15:23   #75
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@hotstuff

Pity you missed the Pitchavaram mangrove forests, second only to the Sunderbans. Very close to Chidambaram.

Excellent stuff so far. I hail from a nearby town (Sirkazhi) and your photos bring back fond memories! Hope you visited the Grand Anicut while you were at Trichy.
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'Xing'ing around ! - HAL Aerospace Museum & Heritage Center. Bangalore. hotstuff Travelogues 18 25th November 2010 10:55
'Xing'ing around ! - Kukke Subramanya & Kumara Parvatha; a drive and trek... hotstuff Travelogues 22 4th August 2010 18:21
'Xing'ing around ! - Angsana Oasis Spa & resort. hotstuff Travelogues 8 11th March 2009 23:44


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