Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Taste of History

This Summer vacation did not have any major trips, but it was dotted with short and interesting trips around Tamilnadu. It started with, visit to Madurai, followed by Nagarkoil, Thirupurankundram and culminating in Kanyakumari. It was a pleasant trip, and Nagarcoil being a relatively new place to us, was exciting to get acquainted with the little town, which seemed to be an interesting fusion of Kerala and Tamilnadu! Kanyakumari as always was awe-inspiring, and a sense of calm and peace descends, while you are there. 

Another mini trip was made to Tanjore, which is hardly an hour's drive from Trichy. The highlight was, our visit to Saraswati Mahal Library and another museum nearby. The Library is a very old one, dating back to 16th century, started by the Nayak kings; but it was Serofji II, a Maratha king who out of his sheer passion for language and books, collected a huge collection (60,000 volumes), of old and rare books, in French, Dutch, Russian, Tamil and Marathi tooIt was truly amazing to see the collection of old palm-leaf manuscripts, illustrated medical books, detailed maps of old cities, (London, Moscow, Tanjore - how they had such clear aerial perspective was beyond comprehension), caricatures of rulers, common man, historic monuments, all preserved for posterity. 

The neighbouring museum was very interesting too, filled with works of art, on stone and metal. The exquisite skill was amply evident, and we were almost carried back into the world of the ancient dynasties. The mueseum was housed in an old structure as you can see here, which was used by kings or maybe noblemen as abode of residence, we presume. It was fun climbing our way up along the dark, narrow staircases, on either sides, all the way  to the top floor. A multi-storeyed building with perfect architectural symmetry, and provisions for numerous carved windows and niches, which opened out to the lushy green fields of the Chola land. Could almost imagine the pretty princesses and maidens peeping out, and chasing each other down the stairs! 

By evening, reached the Periya koil (Big Temple), or the Bragatheeshwar Temple, a renown structure in South India, built by Raja Raja Cholan in the 11th century. The vimana of this temple is very special, as the structure does not cast a shadow at any point of time! 
The huge Nandhi idol found outside, is made from a single stone, which is said to weigh more than 25 tons.The place was teeming with tourists and local visitors, and as the sun went down,  everyone seemed to be filled with a sense of being a part of history. And me for one, was glad, my children, were there with me to partake in this special moment! 



Dee said...

Thanks for posting again!!! We also visited Kanya Kumari and it was breathtakingly beautiful!!! Zipped through Nagercoil as well! High five Vaidegi! Wud love to visit Tanjore some day , but got to see the temples of Tiruchendur and Tuticorin !!!

vaidegi j said...

@ Dee

see i told you we had a similar tale! ;)

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Kalyan said...

Simply beautifully captured shots...lovely!

vaidegi j said...

@ kalyan

Thanks a lot! your pictures are so vibrant and beautiful too!

Mathai said...

Good stuff! I enjoyed reading it.