Trip Start May 31, 2008
Trip End Jun 01, 2009

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Flag of India  , Tamil Nadu,
Saturday, November 8, 2008

We had planned to spend a full day in Thanjavur but with the extra day spent in Chidambaram it was a quick look a the "Big Temple" then onwards.  The highlight of the city is the Bhihadishwara temple and fort.  Built in 1010 AD and a World Heritage site is was a must see.  The red colour of the temple stone was stunning in the bright sun, and it was nice to take our time walking the temple grounds.  We had to walk around in shifts (one person stays with our bags while the other two visit the temple).  We were hungry and getting a bit cranky (the grueling four hour bus ride to Thanjavur was not fun) by the time we stopped for a bite to eat.  The restaurant was actually closed, but the owners seemed to sense our situation, and made us a great meal.

We arrived in Trichy after a two hour train ride from Thanjavur (definitely the preferred way to travel).  Here we visited Latha's Mom's Uncle (our Iya - which means Grandpa).  In order to put the next couple of days in perspective I think I should say a little about this Iya.  He is quite high strung and a little like what I would expect Virgina to be when she is his age (sorry Virg).  We had two days to spend here in Trichy and his goal was to see as many temples as is humanly possible in that amount of time.  We ran through 8 temple in 2 days and these are not small temples but some of the largest and most significant ones in South India.  A couple were a little out of the city and I don't think many, if any, travelers ever go there.  A few had huge lines to get to the front but we made it through.

The Rock Fort temple was neat to see - perched up on the rock on top of the whole city.  The Samaiaparam Amman Temple was quite crowded since it was a Friday and filled with people who had just gotten their heads shaved (motais).

The next morning, we joined Iya on his usual morning routine.  We walked a few miles to the Iyyapan temple around 7:00am, and saw what a quiet, serene, temple is like.  There were lots of quotes and sayings regarding Hindu philosophy and spirituality which I really enjoyed.  (For example, Deserve before Desire).
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