18th September 2014 – Thanjavur, India
I knocked on temples, and was turned down like an unwanted.I rode the winds, and traversed the Chola empire, now in dust.Finally I found a niche, a corner, where I could turn my camera to.In the twilight, the sun had painted this city pink. I watched in lust.
Madurai turned out to be a disappointment. I had chalked this Tamil city in my travel plan in order to see the Sree Meenakshi temple, which many consider to be the best south Indian architecture ever. Lonely planet told me that photography is allowed and you need to pay 30Rs for the camera. Turns out they were wrong. I could not take a camera inside!
Miffed, I headed from Madurai to Thanjavur. Or Tanjore, as mentioned on some maps. This is the longest stretch that I have rode on this trip, about 190 KM, through heavy winds. Unlike driving, one has to take a few precautions while riding a bike in India. Do not ride more than 200 KMs in a day. Do not ride more than 70-100 in one stretch, and when facing winds and nasty roads, make it 30-50. You need to take care of your back, your butt, and your blood circulation appropriately, else you will feel the effects in very little time. But as an advantage, I can stop and park the bike anywhere, don’t need to pay toll fee on any toll road in India, and constantly get the wind on my face. So take that, you arrogant 4-wheelers who keep zipping past me!
Unlike Madurai, Thanjavur had a huge temple that I could take my camera into. The Brihadishwara temple and fort are a dazzling sight, especially at sundown, which was when I reached this place. The sun cuts a unique palette of shades on the temple-fort, with hues of red and yellow.
I finally found a temple in Tamil Nadu, which is worth the clicking.