'(The Blog) With No Name', perhaps best described as a stream of notes and thoughts - 'remembered, recovered and (sometimes) invented'.

Monday, July 18, 2005

A Trip To The Realm of The Colas - Prelude

Having read a very lyrical and nostalgic account of a trip to the Chola country in Tamil Nadu here, I am tempted to post my own (more prosaic) journals of a trip to the same part of the world (the next post). Here is a short introductory note:

My familiarity with the Cholas began with a fully illustrated Amar Chitra Katha volume on Rajaraja Chola I read while at school - the story packed enough heroism, action, intrigue and romance to have stayed in my mind all these years. In the Kerala History textbooks we had to 'mug' at school, the Chola kings were more alien invaders than great conquerors; but the grand impression made by the Amar Chitra Katha illustrations persisted. Many years later, I chanced upon a dusty copy of Nilakanta Sastry's magnum opus, 'Colas' in the Madras University Publications Division. Although I never read this work thoroughly, it made me draw up a list of places one ought to visit sometime.

After further years of delays, we finally managed a quick drive thru Tanjavur and its neighborhood, where the millennium-old memories of the Cholas continue to have a strong presence. In the next post, I reproduce three entries from a travel diary, keyed in in early 2004.

Our hectic tour took in bits and pieces of Kumbakonam, Tanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and a couple of more places thereabouts. We could not visit places like 'Nartamalai' and 'Kodumbalur' which had been on my check-list. 'Pazhayarai' and 'Kodikarai', recreated beautifully by 'Yossarian', were unfortunately not known to self then - being at best, semi-literate in Tamil, I have never read 'Ponniyin Selvan'. All these places have to wait for a future journey (and post).


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