We had to go to the Big temple by 5 am the next day… The alarm gave a loud screech making us hard to open our heavy eyelids (as the sleep was not enough for us to regain our drained energy) We rushed ourselves to join the group.. We decided to walk towards the temple as it is near our hotel. The sky was still dark as it was 5 am. We walked through road which was slowly becoming busy. There was only a few vehicles there.. The newspaper and milkman passed faster along my side waving a smile at me.. The city had a different shade of beauty even in that silence 😊😊.
The temple can be easily seen within couple of minutes as we took a U-turn.. By the time the sky began appearing orange in colour making the temple more beautiful. We reached the brick coloured temple gate which looked beautiful in the delicate architecture. I walked inside the temple courtyard with a huge amount of surprise and respect by it’s architecture and more than that by it’s spiritual atmosphere which made me more and more calm as I began exploring each and every structures 😇😇.
The Big temple is one of the biggest temples in South India built in Dravidian architecture at Thanjavore dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is also known as Dakshina Meru. The temple is a part of the UNESCO World heritage site built by Raja Raja Chola I. The 44 acres consists of the ‘Sri Vimana’ (the main inside part which consists of one of the biggest Shivalinga), the Nandimandapam (which has a statue of Nandi in black colour), the Mahamandapam and the Ardhamandapam. A beautiful verandha surrounded the main structures.
The head of the group told us we have enough freedom to go anywhere around the temple and explore ourselves 😊 (we had to reach a particular point at sharp 10 am). So I have time from 5.30 am to 10 am 😅😅. The morning rays of the sun reached the Vimana (the highest dome of the main structures). It made the the structure look more beautiful.. The orange sky, the light sunrays and the delicate architecture gave a good feast to my eyes 😊. I spend sometime admiring the beautiful atmosphere while others began splitting into different directions. After sometime I decided to go inside the Vimana of the temple. There was less space inside and the biggest Shivalinga appeared more bigger to me. The priest inside gave me some Vibhuti and I walked outside through the other door. I walked through the verandha for sometime observing various carved pictures, Latin and Sanskrit writings on the walls. A group of people chanted Tamil bhajans in a corner.. More people began entering the temple as the day became more brighter.. The temple soon turned out in a festive mood as another group of villagers entered with drums and dances. They danced gracefully on the Mahamandapam as I captured them dancing on my phone. Amidst all these noises a dog was still sleeping peacefully on the ground where the people had to cross him without disturbing him (I felt the dog is a male one 😁).
I saw some small small brick structures on one side of the temple.. Just as me make blocks with some playing bricks (I don’t know what it is for although I asked many ; maybe any belief!!).. Later me along with my sister tried to find miserably an ‘Ardhanari’ picture on the wall of the temple which we found on a magazine.. But later found out that the picture was taken from the Big temple in Gangaikonda cholapuram (there is another Big temple in Gangaikonda cholapuram). The temple has a coexistence of nature and man made beauty.. Yes there is a beautiful garden with different trees and a sacred ‘kaavu’ (a sacred groove worshiping Nagas) along with the traditional temple. By the time it was 10 am. We all gathered from various corners and the return journey seemed more difficult as I developed a great attachment with the temple. Somewhere in those structures I left a small piece of my soul there..!!! 😇😇