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Monuments in Tamil Nadu
Monuments in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu has many amazing monuments, which attract tourists from all over the world. The southern state of Tamil Nadu is referred to as the cradle of Dravidian culture, an ancient culture distinguished by unique languages and customs. The cultural icons are everywhere - huge temples with their towering gopurams (spires) not seen anywhere else in the country, intricate rock carvings, evocative music and, of course, the complex classical dance. Tamil Nadu is a bastion of Hinduism at its most vigorous, whose past endures into the present.
Arjuna's PenanceArjuna's Penance, perhaps the world's largest bas-relief, is the universe itself in stone, throbbing with a vastness of conception. Legend has it that King Bhagiratha had to bring down to earth the celestial Ganga to sanctify and redeem the cursed souls of his ancestors. But the river in its torrential spree would deluge the earth, and so he had to undergo a penance to propitiate Shiva who finally received the flood in his matted locks and let it flow down. This was a sight for the world's creatures to see and they gathered round. The cleft in the rock depicts the descent of Ganga, a theory supported by the ruins of a stone water tank on the hill. There is a forest with tribal people and all forms of fauna, just as they would appear in their habitat. Women clothed in an aura of amazing grace, a rich inner beauty transfiguring the plainest of them. The whole scene has a dimension of humor too! Juxtapositioned against the ascetic is a cat doing rigorous penance too, eyes firmly shut, even to the delectable mice scampering around within easy reach.
Rock Fort temple
The Rock Fort temple complex in Tiruchirappalli is a conglomeration of three temples - the Manikka Vinayaka temple at the foot of the hill, the Uchhi Pillayar Koyil at the top of the hill and the Taayumaanava Koyil (Shivastalam) on the hill. This Shivastalam is a rock cut temple on a hill in the most prominent landmark in Tiruchirappalli (Trichy); reached by a flight of steps on the way to the famous Ucchi Pillaya temple.
This temple crowns a massive outcrop of rock, that soars 83 metres upwards, from the surrounding plains. It is reached by a steep flight of 437 steps, cut into the rock. Halfway up is the Sri Thayumanaswamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has a 100-pillared hall, and a Vimana, covered with gold. On the southern face of the rock, are several beautifully carved, rock-cut cave temples, of the Pallava period. Non - Hindus are not allowed into the sanctum sanctorum, at the summit. Built by the Nayaks, who were the founders of the city, it was one of the main centres, around which, the wars of the Carnatic were fought in the 18th century, during the British - French struggle for supremacy in India.
The memorial to the poet-saint Tiruvalluvar is shaped like a temple chariot and is, in fact, the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. A life-size statue of the saint has been installed in the chariot which is 33m. tall.
The 133 chapters of his famous work Thirukkural have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall corridors of the chariot. The auditorium at Valluvar Kottam is said to be the largest in Asia and can accommodate about 4000 people. It stands as a modern memorial to the great poet who represents the glorious culture of the Tamils.
Thirukkural, are inscribed on the granite pillars that surround the auditorium and it has got no pillars for support. There is a 101-feet high temple chariot structure with a life-size image of the poet in it. This chariot is a replica of the temple car of Thiruvarur in Tamil Nadu. The base of the chariot shows in bas-relief the 133 chapters of the Thirukkural. Over 3,000 blocks of stone were used to create this memorial to Tamil culture.
The rice bowl of Tamil Nadu, Tanjavur is a bustling country town situated 55 kms east of Trichy. Tanjore, also known as Thanjavur, was the ancient capital of the Chola kings and later of the Tanjavur Nayaka and Maratha rulers. Tanjavur rose to glory, during the later Chola reign, between the 10th and 14th centuries, and became a centre of learning and culture. The Cholas, who were great patrons of art, built most of the 93 temples. It was the practice of the kings to donate part of their wealth to the temples, for spiritual gain, and the Chola kings lavished their wealth to build these as well as other temples nearby. Tanjore's crowning glory is the Brihadishwara temple built by Raja Raja. This is listed as a World Heritage site and is worth a visit.
Near the temple are huge masonry structure which were partly built by the Nayaks in 1550 and partly by the Marathas. The Tanjavur Palace, as it is Known, has huge halls, spacious corridors, observation & arsenal towers and a shady courtyard. Though many sections of the palace are in ruins restoration work has been taken up. The palace houses a library, a museum and an art gallery. The Royal museum displays many items from the kings who ruled the place in past. The eclectic collection of royal memorabilia can fascinate any visitor. The Royal cloths, hunting weapons, the head gears and many more such items are enough to catch the attention of any one. There are two Durbar halls where the rulers held public meetings. Though they have not been renovated, they are in good shape. The Nayak hall of the palace is occupied by the Art Gallery. This gallery has an excellent collection of artifacts from the Chola dynasty during the 8th and 9th century. The bronze and granite statues reflect the height of craftsmanship obtained during those days. The bell tower which was put under restoration work, has emerged very different from the rest of the structure after renovation. But it is worth going up the tower to have a good view of the surrounding area. Next to the art gallery is the Saraswathi Mahal Library with an amazing collection of manuscripts on palm leaves and paper. The library is not open for the public. But one can always go in the museum to have a look at the full Ramayana written on Palm leaf or a set of explicit prints of prisoners under Chinese torture.