Off we go through the Indian traffic to Tanjavur, arriving at a different place. At our last hotel the yogis learned that even the best hotel in town does not necessarily have little amenities like towels, hot water, soap or elevators that work. The little garden hotel in Tanjurvur has all those things, and we were welcomed by at least 8 staff!
Off to a brief darshan in the night, holding our real visit for the following morning. Dinesh did his magic (if you think something in Dinesh's presence, it happens). He arranged a milk abhishekam for 8am and we were there to witness the amazing 10-foot-wide Sivalingam, so large they had to install the lingam and build the vimanam above it. No photos are allowed here, but the awe factor is high and you can imagine gallons of milk flooding over this massive black stone (the priest stands on a 12-foot-tall scaffold to pour offerings.
The temple itself is also magical, with thousands of feet of hallways holding who knows how many lingams, all different sizes and shapes. The carvings are intricate, and the dwajapalakas (the guardians at the doors) as tall as our Dakshinamurthi.
Here is what Wikinatha has to say regarding the name:
Brihadishvara(IAST: Bihdvara) is a Sanskrit composite word composed ofBrihatwhich means "big, great, lofty, vast",andIshvarameans "lord, Shiva, supreme being, supremeatman(soul)".The name means the "great lord, big Shiva" temple. Locally, the temple is called the big temple, while in historic inscriptions it is also referred to as RajaRajeswara,RajarajeswaramandPeruvudayartemple.
The amount of human effort seen in the sculpture here is humbling. Humbling, too, that with all our modern means the human race cannot replicate this treasure.
We are on the road now (yes, still connected to the Internet), heading to Madurai where Sundara Meenakshi is waiting for us...