Tamil Nadu: The Magnificent Chola Temples

Tamil Nadu: The Magnificent Chola Temples
Photo Credit: Gopinath S

Soaring vimanas, sophisticated Dravidian architecture and splendid sculptures - The Chola temples of Tamil Nadu are an unforgettable experience

Nayantara Patel
October 15 , 2014
01 Min Read

I’d gone down these dusty roads in my childish imagination so often that, when I actually made it there as a fussy adult I should have been deeply emotional. Well, there’s no way to be ironic about it; I was. This was the trip of a lifetime — eight days visiting Tamil Nadu’s Chola-temple towns — the consummation of a romantic dream for a covertly parochial, Bharatanatyam-trained, MS-adoring, filter-coffee-drinking, Delhi-based travel journalist. Three years later, I’m even more unabashedly nostalgic. For the soaring vimanas of the Nataraja temple in Chidambaram, the bucktoothed women in nine-yard saris and malligai-sellers listening to a veena recital. The late-afternoon sunlight gilding the waters of the Mahamagam tank in Kumbakonam. The small, stunning Airavatesvara temple in Dharasuram. The sari-weaver’s tiny home next door, babies crawling between the looms. Early morning sighting of the subtle, graceful Brihadisvara in Gangaikondacholapuram. Midday at its magnificent namesake in Thanjavur. Hunting for beef fry and failing. It’s all still delicious.

The information

The circuit
Chennai-Chidambaram-Kumbakonam-Gangaikondacholapuram-Dharasuram-Thanjavur. Best done as a round-trip in a car from Chennai.

Where to stay
In Chidambaram, Hotel Saradharam (04144-222656). In Kumbakonam, Raya’s (0435-22545) or Sterling Swamimalai, 4km away (0435-2480385). In Thanjavur, TTDC’s Hotel Tamilnadu (04362-2331325)

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