Its been over a year since my visit to Bhimbetaka  near Bhopal – which was no 18 on list of 23 World heritage cultural sites . And this time, I could make it to Thanjavur to see the Chola temples. We took the train to Kumbakonam – a 6 hr journey – and stayed at one of the new eco-resorts in the area. The site includes three great 11th  and 12th century Shiva Temples built by the Cholas: the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram.

On the first evening, we visited Gangaikonda Cholapuram. The temple was  built by Rajendra I (1012 -1044 CE) the son of Raja Raja Chola  following his  great victorious march to river Ganges. He assumed the name of Gangaikonda Cholan (the Chola who had seen the Ganga) and  hence the name. The structure was completed in…

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