Kumbakonam to Tanjavur
South India Road Trip Day 5 – Chola Temple
We had breakfast and were away, reached Papanasam 15 Km from Kumbakonam on the route to Tanjavur. It has 108 Lingams Temple which is a wonder. Then onward to Brihadeeswarar Chola Temple (also called Big Temple – it is really big) in downtown Tanjavur just next to the bus station (old). It is the biggest of the 3 Chola Temples. We reached at Noon so had enough time to go to the inner sanctum which is open 6:00 – 12:30 and then 4:30 – 8:30 PM. It is a magnificent old temple with a very big Nandi (the sacred bull) and many Nandis on the rampart walls. We took many photos and then proceeded to find our hotel. An hour later we almost gave up the search as all autos and hotels in the vicinity of the bus stand, the location of the hotel on google maps, had never heard of Fast Track hotel or 14 Cachery Street, the address given on the hotels website. Finally a travel agent at one of the bigger hotels directed us to Pandyar Hotel as she had heard that the owner has a travel agency called Fast Track. The location, phone number and address on hotels.com were all incorrect. We found Pandyar Hotel and they honored the booking even though they had no intimation of it. They took our confirmation number and the hotels.com voucher and had me email these to them. The data plan on my phone was very useful.
We got lunch thalis at Pandyar and slept till 5 PM, then took the short drive (quicker to walk across the road!) to the ‘Big Temple’ and spent another couple of hours in the evening and dusk light, wonderful. After dark we drove across to the market and had a dosa at Vasanta Bhavan and a ‘degree’ coffee for Rs.10/- at a degree coffee place, he also uses Padma Coffee from Trichy. Then late evening we saw a fair nearby with a giant wheel, walked back to the car, returned to the hotel and crashed.