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Old 19th August 2010, 15:31   #31
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Amazing man. Kumbakonam must have atleast a 1000 temples. And many of those temples are HUGE. And when I say HUGE, they are really HUGE. One has to see it to believe it!
Not only at Kumbakonam, but at most places of the erstwhile Chola country the temples are huge. If you look closely, it will occur that these places can easily become a fortress - the entire population of the village/town can enter during times of adversity/natural calamity, the huge doors will be closed and the place can be defended easily! Everyone will be fed from the temple kitchen (Madapalli). And of course, the population of the place would not have been huge in those days!

My great grandmother once told me that during those days, agriculture was possible only during six months in a year. So during the rest of the period when the population was idle, the kings will commission these huge temple building projects to keep them occupied. When no invasions on neighboring / overseas countries were in the offing, that is! And a lot of plunder brought back from such invasions went in to these projects as well.

@Raj
Thanks for the Gangaikonda Cholapuram pictures. I am seeing this for the first time, and feel the urge to visit asap.

Last edited by Gansan : 19th August 2010 at 15:50.
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Old 19th August 2010, 17:44   #32
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@KRRaj: The name Oppiliappan or uppiliappan or uppilla appan (the third one is what translates to "He with out Salt") are all derivatives from the original name "thannoppaarillappan" which translates to "One without comparison". The story behind the saltless prasadams (offerings) is different - let me find the details and share it.
The legend goes like this:

Goddess Lakshmi was born on earth and was growing up in sage Markandeya's ashram. When she was 12, Vishnu approached Markandeya Rishi and asked for her hand. Markandeya said that she is too young to get married - so young that she doesn't even know which dish needs how much salt. To this Vishnu replied that he would still marry her even if he had to eat saltless food. This is the reason why slatless offerings are made in this temple.
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Old 19th August 2010, 18:40   #33
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Originally Posted by cnaganathan View Post
The legend goes like this:

Goddess Lakshmi was born on earth and was growing up in sage Markandeya's ashram. When she was 12, Vishnu approached Markandeya Rishi and asked for her hand. Markandeya said that she is too young to get married - so young that she doesn't even know which dish needs how much salt. To this Vishnu replied that he would still marry her even if he had to eat saltless food. This is the reason why slatless offerings are made in this temple.
Thanks. This was the same story which My Mom told me also regarding the Saltless practice followed there. I believe the Sage and the young Lakshmi are also there next to the main idol in this temple.
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Old 20th August 2010, 10:40   #34
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@Ampere. You should have Kumbakonam as your base. The 9 graha temples are all around it.
KRRaj. We are waiting dude. Please continue with the story before the 9 grahas change houses.
Sorry I did not see this post. MX the idea was to go to Tranquebar. Since I dont want to do Mahabalipuram, you can go via Thirukoillur and Panruti. As Raj mentioned, since the road is freshly done, that would make a very good route.

On the way back, if I plan to take the temple route (Kumbakonam/Trichy/Salem) what you say makes sense.

Last edited by ampere : 20th August 2010 at 10:41.
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Old 20th August 2010, 12:36   #35
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I've been reading on the snake incident. Snakes have their fangs curved inside. So I'm still trying to find out how the Snake in picture managed to pluck the leaves (with it's mouth), carry it to the Shiva Lingam. Guess, I will have to visit Agumbe with these pics for clarifications. Romulus Whitaker's institute might throw some light on it.
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Old 23rd August 2010, 20:10   #36
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Sorry for the Delay Guys.

After finishing the Kumbakonam temples, we decided to check out and see if there were any more places to see. We found one more and this was just outside Kumbakonam, the suburbs so to say. This was the 2nd of the 3 World Heritage sites we visited.

This was constructed by Raja Raja Chola II and very similar Architecture. This temple is a storehouse of art and architecture. The vimana is 85 feet high. The front mandapam itself is in the form of a huge chariot drawn by horses. The temple has some exquisite stone carvings.

You dont realise that this place is even there unless you already know and are looking for it. Not a single sign-board anywhere. Anyway, here I present Darasuram for you.

Typical wall you find there - look at the many nandis on the top.

The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250070.jpg

The Entrance Gopuram.

The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250072.jpg

Pictures of the Courtyard

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The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250080.jpg

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Old 23rd August 2010, 20:27   #37
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Had a gut feeling that this would come up. One can't ignore darasuram after dropping by Gangaikondachozhapuram and Periyakovil. But what impresses me is the lovely grass that I can see now, along with the lighting. Would have loved to see some night shots of this temple!
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Old 23rd August 2010, 21:25   #38
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Beautiful "temple campus" I must say. Temples were the places of social networking in those times!
The great sprawling courtyards are a testimony to this.
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Old 23rd August 2010, 22:19   #39
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The Main temple is the Airavateshwarar temple. The front mandapam itself is in the form of a huge chariot drawn by horses.

The Chariot Carvings.

The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250081.jpg

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The Heavily Ornamented Pillars have some exquisite carving. A glimpse.

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In front of the temple, there is a small mandapa, which can be reached by three steps in the form of a ladder. The steps are stones, which give different musical sounds when tapped. All the seven swaras can be had at different points. It is feared that if proper care is not taken soon, village children will damage the stones. Now these stone steps have been completely covered with metal grills to save them from deterioration

The Mantapa with the grill to safeguard it

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Old 23rd August 2010, 23:11   #40
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The Gopuram. As you can see with GangaiKonda Chozhapuram, even here they are working and doing restoration work.

The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250088.jpg

The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250093.jpg

Below picture, you can see circular depressions. These were used as sources of light during evenings and night. How, you may ask? These used to be filled with oil and then lit with wicks. . And if you look closely, you can see some small broken structures on the small boundary wall in front of them. Those are nandis placed similar to those on the walls, but broken by the rulers from north.

The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250092.jpg

The below carving portrays a significant happenings of that time. That is a lion attacking an elephant. Hinduism is the lion which is attacking Buddhism portrayed by the elephant. During that time, everyone was converting to Buddhism and the rulers alarmed by that started to counter it.

The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250094.jpg

A weird creature. Elephant's trunk, lion's head, horse's body etc.

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Each window of a different design. There were quite a few.

The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250095.jpg

The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250096.jpg
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Old 23rd August 2010, 23:50   #41
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Thay mythical creature is called Yaazhi in tamil. You'd find that in many temples. I'm not exactly sure of what animals comprise the Yaazhi. But this is what I guess makes it Elephant’s tusk and trunk, Lion’s body, Goat’s horns, Pig’s ears and the tail of a cow.
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Old 24th August 2010, 21:49   #42
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There were a lot of carvings and each had a story behind it. In fact you can spend a better part of the day just looking at the carvings. Here are a few

The Vali Vadham - Ram killing Vali when he and Sugreeva were fighting

The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250098.jpg

In the below Snap, the left most is a dance performance being done. Dancers performing Rock and Roll, a guy with mridangam etc. The 3rd carving from left is a well known one. It is a carving showing the village womenfolk helping in the delivery of another female, who has both her hands on the shoulders of the two ladies, who are pressing their hands and the abdomen of the lady to help her deliver.
The one to it's right is another dance performance.

The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250099.jpg

In the one below, on the left you can see a dancing Ganesha. But the interesting one is the one on its right. Look closely, it is 2 females fighting with one pulling the other with her hair

The Dark Knight goes Temple Tripping-p7250105.jpg
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