It was day 2 of our 3 days trip to Thanjavur, Kumbakonam and Chidambaram. Kumbakonam is a temple town, almost every street has a temple. There are quite a few famous temples but we planned to visit only the architectural sites.
After visiting Thanjavur temple, we chose to visit rest of the 3 complex Chola structures near by. We started from Thanjavur in the morning, stopped at Darasuram Airavatesvara temple. Airavatesvara temple built by Raja Raja Chola is about few kilometres from the Kumbakonam town and 40 kilometres from Thanjavur.
This was the most peaceful place as the crowd was less and the sanctity was retained. I think because there are already lot of temples around the town, this one is not of the top list from religious per say.
Outer structure was half done and locals version, the construction was stopped in the middle due to Raja Raja’s death. But some where read that only the core structure remains are seen now, rest of the layers including the outer most structure was destroyed for reasons not clearly known. Most probable reason invasion.
Inside the temple was full of carvings of Parvathi, Rishi’s and other gods. Between here and Thanjavur temple, one can notice the difference of wall sculptures.
The Yali sculptures fill the borders, gaps, steps and all over the temple
One of the local silk weavers took us to the near by agaraharam street to show their weaving and the silk sarees, materials. It’s the street of Saurashtrians whose older generation is still in to silk weaving but the younger ones moved to cities for better living.
Reading some where, was checking if they are skilled sword artisans too, but they are infamous silk weaving community in South India. May be the demand supply made them change their skill over the period.
Next stop was at Gangai Konda Solapuram, half an hour drive from Kumbakonam towards Chidambaram. This is one another Stone temple built by Raja Raja family, his son Rajendra built it as replica of Thanjavur temple. It was too crowded on the day we went and did not go inside the temple. But outer walls had similar carvings and sculptures as the other temple.
From there went to Thirubuvanam Kampaheswarar temple in the evnening. Though could not get a full view of the temple as the outer walls were not well lit. Pillars of these temples had complex smaller cravings than the other 3 temples.
We ended the day with Coffee and Dinner at Mangalambiga Coffee and Tiffin Center. Coffee here was the best coffee in recent days and the real degree coffee.