Thursday, November 4, 2010

Trip to the past

Was away from the cloud for few days as I and family went for a trip to Thanjavur. Two years back, when I had just brought home the second hand car and when I could barely shift to the 4th gear, if someone would have asked me to drive my car for more than 50 km, I would have dropped dead on the spot, but not any more. My confidence grew manifold when I covered about 500 km in less than 8 hours.  Yeah I know it is not a big deal, but for the fact that this is my first long trip in my 2005 model Alto LX, I feel happy.
Thanks to NHAI and Tamil Nadu Govt.for the excellent roads from the Aralvaymozhi – Trichy stretch. Made me wonder if it was really Indian roads – no potholes, no pits. For the major portion of the trip, I couldn’t drive under 90 kmph. It would be a crime to do so. My only fear was that the chassis of the car would fly off, unable to resist the speed. Wow! That was an experience, and driving long distances boosts your confidence.

Big temple, Thanjavur was a long awaited destination. We wanted to visit the temple and it was in our ‘To Visit’ list for few years now (since our courtship days ;-) ). Having seen a lot of pictures and read about the history, surprisingly standing right at the front of the temple did not evoke any emotions. It was perhaps because of the crowd. Few schools also chose the same day to visit and the entire place was buzzing with lot of children in various uniforms. But the time we chose to visit was just perfect. It was evening and the natural backdrop was excellent. What caught my attention was the 1000 (?) shivalingas sculptured around the main temple, of which no two of them are identical in size, shape or dimensions.

Well maintained premises, except for the roads in the Thanjavur town. Very narrow, congested and illogically controlled traffic adds to the chaos.

I wonder why do some temples (and churches) gets prominence compared to others. Is it due to clever marketing? Or the age old beliefs? Can't quite comprehend.
I also wonder there is a temple very much similar to that of Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Trivandrum,. The temple which I refer to is located at Thiruvattar, a small sleepy village in Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu. I have been there couple of times and the maintenance is pathetic, mainly because they do not have the funds to maintain. If I am not wrong, the temple at Thiruvattar was also built by Marthanda Varma.

May be temples are also just like humans. Some prosper, some wither. Sigh!


Balachandran V said...

The prominence of temples and churches is, like you said, quite likely the marketing of religion and if you look at history, the vanity of the rulers. In Kerala, there is a phenomenon of churches on top of every possible hill. I always thought it is an attempt at psychological domination over the people.

I have been a temple haunter myself, though not due to bhakthi but due to my interest in sculpture and murals. I have visited innumerable temples in Kerala ( Mid - north) which, in contradiction to the Tamil-influenced temple architecture, are low-key and blend with the surroundings. There are several dozens of such small but beautiful temples which have priceless murals and sculptures in wood and stone.

RGB said...

Good to hear about your trip and looks like you took max mileage (boost of speed and confidence!) of the long drive ;) Never been to any of the places you've mentioned, so thanks for sharing the info!

Shail said...

Those successful and in the limelight get more attention, the rest are ignored, be it people or temples :)

sreejith thampi said...

@Balachandran V
Psychological dominance.. hmm yes, quite true. A 'Look up and there is God' concept.
There are several such small temples which are awaiting to come to the limelight or awaiting a JCB. Probably they would find a place in some resorts. Atleast, better than getting buried.

Thanks. May be you should try planning your trips to the places someday. Will be worth it.

Thanks. Very true :)