Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 1.5 - Karuvurar, Rajaraja Cholan, Panchavanma Devi, Kundhavai Nachiyaar, Vallavarayan Vandhiyathevan and Rajendra Cholan

Day 1 - rather Day.5 as the entire trip was planed for 2.5 days only, referring to day 1 as day.5

After picking up Vijay from his residence, we hit the NH45  from and our journey starts officially from here.

The first break we took was after crossing Vandalur for Lunch, normally if am travelling in the NH45, would adjust my timing so as i reach Hotel Santhi for food, this is a small - de-glamorized road side eat out which can be reached once you cross Chengalpet bye pass and the over bridge across the River Palar - yes you are right,  you need to cross the BEER FACTORY :) . This joint would be on your right near the HP petrrol bunk where the road splits into 2 - one-way.

2 cooks, one from Devakottai and another from Kottaiyur near Karaikudi give their best. But this time, it was home made lunch for us cooked by Suresh's mother - Puliyodharai or Puliyogare - in which ever way you want to call it, but it was heavenly food.. Thanks Suresh.

Then to further appetite ourself, we stopped at one of the Kumbakonam Coffee outlet, don't know which one is original as all are calling themselves as "Original Kumbakonam Degree Coffee" had Coffee with Ooty Varki and then back again to the highway.

Raja sir and A.R. Rahman were with us throughout the journey in the form of CD and Pen drive.

We reached Perambalur and took the left diversion to Ariyalur for our night's stay. We reached Ariyalur by around 8:30 pm and straight went to the "Kothandaramaswamy Temple" for a nice darshan and then to Yathin's home for a superb coffee and a meemorable Bonda.. Superb Bonda by Yathin's mom, that taste is still lingering in my mouth.

Had our lunch at Hotel Maruti and then reached our Hotel A.S. Comforts for the night's stay. Decent place but with road side car park only.

Day 1 :
Kothandaramaswamy Temple - Sundar woke at 5 in the morning - Yes - 5 in the midnight to visit the temple and i had no other choice but to wake up ad reach the temple, so, after diwali, this is the second time in the same year, i woke at 5:30 in the morning, had my bath and hit the temple. Details about this temple is available here but the very important thing is the 10 pillars which has the Dasavatharam sculpted in it and specifically the Narasimha Avathar with Hiranyakashipu in his lap. Fingers are made visible from beneath the skin.. This is a WOW scripture and a miniature is of this is also available in the same temple, just opposite to this pillar. DON'T miss the finer details.

Outside the Famous Kothandaramaswamy Temple at Ariyalur

That's Yathin in Red, Me in Blue

Coffee with Yathin at his residence along with Sundar

After having a  superb coffee at Yathin's place, we started of from Ariyalur to Gangaikonda Cholapuram, but Yathin and Sundar had different plans and officially kidnapped me, Suresh and Vijay to one another temple in the pretext of directing me to Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

When i had an inkling of doubt on the direction, Yathin with a broad smile told me yes, we are slightly diverting to another near by temple by name Kaliyughavaradharaja Perumal at Kallangkurichi. This place is exactly 5 kms from Ariyalur Bus Stand and you would cross the TANCEM - Tamilnadu Cements factory. This temple has its own history and the same is shared in the form of paintings. Samples below :

There is also a deer park and a peacock cage available there :

After spending sometime here, we then headed out to Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

From here the trip changes course to HISTORY.

Click here for Day .5

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Karuvurar, Rajaraja Cholan, Panchavanma Devi, Kundhavai Nachiyaar, Vallavarayan Vandhiyathevan and Rajendra Cholan

It all started on a Thunderstorm day - officially known as "Review Day" - we were in the fag end of the review and at around 07:30 in the evening, hope i can say 7:30 as evening and not night, Karthik (Our Boss), suddenly and out of the blue, asked me and Yathin : -

 " Sriram - Yathin, you guys are regularly discussing about Thanjavur and Cholas, why don't you guys initiate a trip down the memory lane, revisiting those places and if possible, let's combine certain history related temples as well".

Myself and Yathin were perplexed as to whether he is pulling a fast one on us or is he serious and knowing Karthik, we decided it should be the latter and certainly not the former.

Yathin's response was - "Sure Karthik" and he brought in the SME on this (Subject Matter Expert) Sundararaman. (one by one characters would get introduced in the flow).

A few words about Sundar, a colleague who had become a good friend of mine by now, is solely responsible for kindling my interest towards Tamilnadu's history and specifically on the Cholas.

If am able to talk and discuss now, with confident about the Chola empire, credit to Sundar only. He introduced me to the magical world of Kalki and Writer Balakumar through Pooniyin Selavan and Udayar.

A small self advertisement is - Had completed reading Pooniyin Selvan and Udayar and would be starting Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Thanks Sundar. :)

Sundar was pulled in and our requirement was put across enabling him to create a plan for 2.5 days -  We would leave a Friday evening and would reach Chennai by Sunday night.

Sundar went back to his table and jotted out the plan as below.

Sl No     Places to Visit
1 Veera Narayana Eri
2 Ariyalur
3 Gangai Konda Cholapuram
4 Rajendra Cholan Palace
5 Ammangudi
6 Pazhaiyarai Palace
7 Udaiyalur
8 Patteswaram
9 Thiruvaiyaru
10 Nisumbasoodhani Temple
11 Brahadeeshwara Temple
12 Tanjore Palace
13 Sarswathi Mahal
14 Tanjore

Members, dates and vehicles got finalized but because of some or the other reasons this plan did not get materialized and was continuously pushed to various other weekends.

In the meanwhile i got married and was blessed with a baby girl, just kidding, the plan did not get pushed for so much time but by 3 to 4 months because of various but genuine reasons.

On 2nd Jan 2014, Sundar came to me and asked " Indha week polama saar" - (Saar is the Tamil pronunciation for "SIR"). By the way would like to make one point clear that, normally we address each other strictly by name only, but if the situation demands attention or someone wants to make a point then we would address each other by "Saar or Sir" - to make a point.

Helplessly i looked at Yathin asking him to come for my rescue, promptly he came in and said "Wokay Saar, polam" - (English Translation is "Okay sir, let's go).

Then we went back to Karthik to confirm whether would he be able to join us, but unfortunately he was tied up and hence we planned this trip without him.

Then we decided that the team should be a max of 5 only, the rocket science for arriving at the critical number of 5 is - My car can accommodate five only - SIMPLE.

So the dates were finalized from Jan 3rd noon to Jan 5th night and  the members who would be part of this historical journey would be :

1) Sundararaman
2) Sasidharan
3) Sureshbabu
4) Sriram
5) Syathin ( as all the names are starting with "S", in the flow, wrote Yathin as Syathin - Sorry Saar)

The places of visits were modified slightly as per our requirement but no major changes and struck to our original plan.

But on 4th night Sasi had other plans, he went his way with another set of friends and history enthusiasts but with a promise to join us at Tanjore.

So the team became 4 and how it again became 5 by including Vijay is another short story in itself.

As Yathin and Vijay commute by train from Chrompet to Egmore, on 5th Jan morning, as usual, they were travelling together and Yathin told Vijay on this plan and one drop out in Sasi. Vijay,it seems, immediately jumped and in turn hit the top of the compartment with his head and said, Haa its's paining and scratching his head announced that-  "AM IN".

So the journey started with
1) Sundararaman
2) Vijayabalan
3) Sureshbabu
4) Sriram
5) Syathin

To cut the long story short, on our way, we went to Vijay's place in Chrompet, gave him 7 minutes to pack his bags and hop back into the car.

Our journey started - Will continue.. keep reading..   Click for Day 1.5 here