Planning for trip to Tanjavur was quite a few years in making. Finally that trip happened in September, 2015. For travel, I decided on our reliable KSRTC bus. On KSRTC.in, I booked tickets for Airavat class AC Volvo. Then came search for hotel in Thanjavur. Searched through Makemytrip.com, goibibo.com and cleartrip.com. If I liked a hotel then I tried to cross check reviews on Tripadvisor.com. Based on the review and amenities, I booked Hotel Raks through Cleartrip.com for Rs 1444. It is located very near to the Thanjavur new bus stand.
Address of Hotel Raks:
8 & 9, Kalanchiyam garden, Near New Bus Stand, Trichy road, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613007
Ph: 04362 – 227 806
As all Tamil Nadu bus, it left from Shantinagar bus stand. Scheduled departure was 9.17 AM and reached Tanjavur in the morning around 6 AM. We took a small walk looking for Meenakshi hospital as landmark and found Hotel Raks just before it. The hotel looked clean and cozy at the onset. We had booked a standard AC double bed room. The reception staff was friendly and the formalities was done in few minutes. For online bookings either a hard copy of the booking confirmation email or showing the email through your cell phone will do. We were pretty pleased with the room.
At reception I asked for a car to go around. I negotiated it to whole day – 200 KM – Rs 2000. After taking bath and having a complementary breakfast at the hotel restaurant, we went our to explore. Our first destination was Gangaikonda Cholapuram in Kumbakunom. As we headed out of Tanjavur, we saw the first glimpses of Brihadeshwara temple. We kept it for the evening. Thanjavur is also know as the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu. Here the lands are fertile. We saw paddy fields, sugarcane cultivation, water canals while traveling through the winding roads of Thanjavur to Kumbakonam. The temple is open from 6 AM to 12 non and from 4 PM to 8 PM. After exploring and appreciating the architectural beauty of the temple we left for Suryanar temple.
Suryanar temple is dedicated to the Sun god. It is located at Thirumangalakudi P.O on Kumbakonam – Mayiladuthurai road. It was a quite a rush on that Saturday. Nothing significant in terms of architecture here but I must say it is a good place to observe human behavior when they come calling on God.
Next stop was Oppiliappan Koil (temple in temple).
It was around 2 PM, we decided to head back to Tanjavur have lunch and head to Brihadeshwara temple, an UNESCO world heritage site. For food we went Sathars restaurant at 167, Gandhiji road, Thanjavur – 613001. Phone – 04362 – 231041, 314151. They have a AC section as well and ambiance is comfortable.We had ordered for chicken 65 and what we received was something we had ever seen as chicken 65. They actually brought fried red chicken!! Nevermind it was eatable. We ordered for chilly chicken, chicken 65, roti and coke (pax 2) which cost us Rs 506.
From there we headed straight to Brihadeshwara temple. After delightful tour of the big temple, we were back to comfort of our AC hotel room at around 7.30 pm.
On day 2, we had bus for Bangalore at 9.45 PM. So we planned to checkout of hotel in the morning as we would be traveling for sightseeing whole day. As planned we left little early in the morning (8 AM) as we wanted to visit few temples at Kumbakonam. After traveling about 2 hours, we reached Thirumanancheri temple. This temple is full of legends of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati’s marriage. It is said that anyone who prays here for marriage, their wish is fulfilled. Temple timings are: 6.00 am – 12.00 noon & 3.00 pm – 8.00 pm. For performing puja, you will have to pay a puja fees of Rs 100 and buy earthen lamps. Earthen lamps will cost you Rs 30. During our stay there, we noticed newly married couples coming there for blessings. Beware of vendors outside the temple, who might ask you overprice.
Then we went to two other temples. The Srirangapani temple and Chakrapani temple. They are located besides a large tank called Mahamaham tank. Some festival was going on there. Saw traditional musicians were playing. The temples are dedicated to lord Vishnu. Kumbakonam is a busy and densely populated town. It has a large flow of religious people through out the year. If you would like to avoid heavy rush avoid travelling to Kumbakonam during festivals. The two has two rivers – Kaveri and Arsalar. By afternoon we started from Kumbakonam to Tanjavur. In Tanjavur we again visited the Brihadeshwara temple and spent some time there. Then we went to our hotel for dinner. Here, we left the cab we hired. After dinner, we hired an auto and went to Tanjavur bus stand. We had already booked bus for Bangalore on KSRTC. It took some time for the bus to arrive. As I sat on the bus I remembering the various temple architectures. Splendid!