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January 27, 2010

Once Chola's Empire

After long time, thought to go out of buzy and boring life in Bangalore. I like journey and visiting places. This time I thought to see places with historical & Architectural values.

After long.. long.. googling, finally I chose Kumbakonam.
Kumbakonam is located around 380 km from Bangalore. Temple City is another name of Kumbakonam. There are many temples around Kumbakonam dated back to Chola kings’ Time. Out of these temples, Gangai konda Cholapuram, Darasuram and Thanjore are in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. I have already visited Thanjore some time back. So I thought to cover other two during this trip.

Out of my googling effort, I got to know there are good beaches nearby. So I decided to visit Poompuhar, a port during Chola’s Empire and Tranquebar, having Danish fort in the beach.

My journey started from Bangalore to Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu’s SETC bus. The next day morning I reached Mayiladuthurai. After a short nap at hotel I started my tour.

First I went to Chidambaram to visit Great Nataraja Temple. Here we can see Lord Shiva in his Ananda Tandava pose.
Visit for more info.

After darshan at Nataraja temple, I went to Poompuhar. For most of the journey in this tour, I used Tamil Nadu Government run buses. Bus fares are very less compare to other state run buses. If you know the route and if you can manage with Tamil language use these buses instead of Auto or taxi.

Poompuhar was a port during Chola’s Empire. Kaveripattinam is another name of this place. It was 4 years completed after Tsunami on the day I was here. Many localities were discussing about this, I understand that many of them still could not forget about that Tsunami.

Bay of Bengal’s waves are of very high and travelling very fast. Big rocks are placed across the coastal line to avoid high flow of water in the land.

Another view of Beach

Old and new Light Houses in the beach

Nothing much to see here except the beach. I visited Silappathikara Art Gallery apart from the beach.
Visit for more info

My next destination was Tranquebar. Another name of this place is Tharangambadi.
There was no direct bus to Tharangambadi from Poompuhar. I got down Sirkali bus from Poompuhar at a small village Kurivi. We can see many buses to Nagapattinam from this place which goes via Tharangambadi.

The Danish fort, in the beach of Tharangambadi is dated back to 1620 AD.

It was almost 6.00pm when I reach there. The Danish fort was just about to close. I requested the employees there to see the fort. But I could not make it. So I had some snaps of the fort from outside.

Apart from this I visited Danish Church and The Masilamani Nathar Temple of 1306 AD Pandian era which is heavily eroded by the sea.

Masilamani Nathar Temple

A View of Beach

Danish Church

Visit for more info.

With that first day is completed on my two days tour. Next day I went to Kumbakonam from Mayiladuthurai to see temples around Kumbakonam. My first priority was Gangai konda Cholapuram and Darasuram.
First went to Gangai. This is around 40 km from Kumbakonam, there was no direct bus to this place as bridge on Kollidam River is damaged at Anakarai. Anakarai is an island in Kollidam River. Finally I reached Gangai konda Cholapuram from Anakarai in an auto.
Gangai temple was built by Rajendra Chola during 11th century. Gangai and Darasuram are living temples; still pujas are performed here unlike in my other archaeological sites.

Big Nandhi

View of Temple from entrance

Another view of Temple

Visit for more info.

Darasuram temple is located just outside the kumbakonam town about 4 km away and was built in 12 century AD by the Cholas. We can see Kumbeswara Temple in Kumbakonam on the way to Darasuram.

Art in Kudya style

Art in Kudya style in the Museum inside Temple

There are many Nandhis around temple which were destroyed

See Elephant and Lion on the same sculpture

Ganapati on copper Dwajastambha

Pillars inside Temple

Look Elephants and Horses in this sculpture

Visit for more info.

After visiting these two World Heritage Sites I visited Famous temples of Kumbakonam. Sarangapani temple, Kumbeswarar temple and Chakrapani temple. All these temples are located around 1 to 2km from Kumbakonam bus stand.

Car of Lord or Radha of Sriramgapani Temple

Inside view of Sriramgapani Temple

Mahamaham Tank. Kumbamela happens here once in every puskaram or 12 years

Gopura of Kumbeswarar Temple

Temple's Elephant at Kumbeswarar Temple

Apart from these temples there are many Shiva and Vishnu temples and Navagraha temples are around this temple town.

Facilities available
Accommodation - Good Accommodation facilities are available in Kumbakonam and Mayiladuthurai
Food - Good
Transportation - State run Buses are available in most of the places. Used Autos in Some places


  1. Hey really nice pics guru...actually planning to visit the danish port and danish and french colonies in tamilnadu next month with one of my denmark friend...thanks it is very helpful :)

  2. Thanks Adarsh, Lemme know if you need any more info

  3. Nice Pics and's really useful.


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