Too many people and absence of straight light on the temple frontage did not allow me to shoot much, and I knew I had to come again. Determined with that resolve, we paid our respects to the Lord for the last time this time, savored the sights of some of the beautifully designed Kanchipuram dolls in the temple’s premises ( I’d certainly buy some of them when I visit next ), and then drove off for our night stay at Kumbakonam, another of the famous temple towns of these regions.
On the way, we visited Lord Shiva again at the Kailasanathar temple at Thingalur, a decent drive through interior village roads after sunset. Nothing to complain about, but to savor really. We also stopped by to pay our obeisance to Lord Murugan at Swamimalai ( a.k.a. Lord Karthikeya, son of Parvati and Shiva, and brother of Ganesha ), just as he was about to go to his sleeping chambers. It was fun running up the steep steps of the temple ( there were many ), and we made it just in time to see the lord before he would be laid to rest for the day.
Dinner was a basic affair once again at one of the messes nearby. We were pretty close to Kumbakonam by now, and it was getting late alright. We looked up for a hotel as soon as as we entered the city, and decided to zero in on the decently reviewed SivaMurugan Hotel, near the new bus stand. Breakfast was complimentary at the pure vegetarian restaurant there, much to our delight :-) !
Kumbakonam is called the temple town, a fact pretty evident as I looked out from the hotel terrace next morning. Gopurams were conspicuous all around; some near, some afar. It was a pity then that we were to leave Kumbakonam without visiting any of it’s gems. But then this town demands a separate trip of it’s own, of at least a few days to do justice to what it has on offer.
This was the last day of our trip, and we had decided to get back to city life after visiting another landmark of these regions, another of the great living Chola temples, the one and only one matching the Brihadeeshvara temple in it’s scale and architecture; the Shiva temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
But it wasn’t going to be just another uneventful drive to that town. We were to click some rural life on our way, and one other temple was in the offing too. Just as we had started our drive towards the Thirunageswaram Naganathar temple, did we encounter some activity in one of the fields that we were passing by. My mate asked me to stop, and so we did !