Konerirajapuram - World's Tallest Bronze Nataraja
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Nataraja "Worlds Tallest Nataraja"
"Sembiyan Mahadevi" "Chola temple" Nataraja
Konerirajapuram is a sleepy village in Mayiladuthurai taluka of Nagapattinam district, about 20km from Kumbakonam. To get here you can take bus no. A22 from Kumbakonam, or by car or auto take the Thirunageswaram Karaikal road upto S. Pudur, take a right turn here on a tranquil country road flanked by lush fields and duck filled canals of the delta. There is a distinct left turn a couple of kilometres down this road. This road leads to Konerirajapuram or Thirunallam of yore.
The Chola temple here is of Lord Siva as Uma Maheswarar. The unpretentious facade
Gnanaskandan is the genial priest in charge here. He remembered us from our previous visit two years ago and welcomed us with a booming "Bombay !!!"
The Konerirajapuram temple was generously endowed by the Chola queen Sembiyan Mahadevi [Chembiyan Maadevi]
and also boasts a priceless collection of smaller bronzes
and ancient frescoes
One such fresco from the Nayaka period records the offering made by British officials in gratitude for being healed at the Vaidyanathar temple within the main temple.
Priest Gnanaskandan runs a daily Annadanam or "feeding of the poor" within the main temple hall
This was our second visit. We first learnt about Konerirajapuram quite by chance, through a random perusal of the book Temples of Tamil Nadu by AV Shankaranarayana Rao. This is just an ordinary Vasan Publication paperback, but with a wealth of information in it. Anyway, having read about the "Colossal Nataraja" as it is described in the book, we just had to see it, taking considerable pains to find the sleepy hamlet on our last visit in 2008. It was well worth the visit, and oh, so enchanting.
This time, we knew the way and reached in no time at all. I do not know what drew us there in the first place, nor what drew us back again but we just had to return. Priest Gnanaskandan was firmly of the opinion that we must have lived here in the Chola era, albeit in another incarnation. Hmm ............... We will certainly be back, for Konerirajapuram beckons, a call that just cannot be ignored.
Some of my Konerirajapuram photos posted on Flickr have been embedded in a well written article on the Natarajar Temple here: