|There are lots of temples in Southern India and I've seen a couple recently. In Tanjore I found a guide Raja who showed me around the Brihadishwara Temple. It's fairly impressive. It's on flood plain or something or other, so all the stone for building was brought in from outside like Stonehenge and Gungahlin. The temple is 66m high and on top of it sits a single piece of rock weighing 80 tonnes. They got it up there by building a ramp out of dirt five kilometres long, and then rolling it on logs very carefully.
From Tanjore to Trichy is a one hour bus ride. Most of the guys on the bus were wearing colourful plaid lungis (man-skirt/nappy), and some of them carried woven shopping baskets on their knees. From the neck down the guy next to me could have been a 50s housewife.
My highlight of Trichy was the Rock Fort (I wanted to see some of the other temples, but I had a certain Indian condition and I didn't have the energy). Trichy is flat like Tanjour, and the Fort sits on the huge unscalable rock that projects up out of the middle of the city. At the bottom you deposit your shoes, walk through the first Hindu temple, and then up a staircase built by the Pallavas (the Mamallaparam Pavallas? I could just tell it was them, I said 'those Pallavas, they do some great cave interiors, love their work'). On the top of the rock I came out into the lunchtime sun. There were about 100 uneven steps up to the temple on the peak. About 100-200m below all around was Trichy, and somewhere down there were my shoes. Temple guides get a good laugh out of calling this kind of thing lunchtime dancing. It takes about two minutes of fast climbing to make it to the top. One old woman was praying in Krishna as she walked and I could feel the same pain in my own smouldering feet. Next time I'll sneak in a spare pair of jandals, or go in the morning.
Once I got up to the top there are spectacular 360 degree views, cool polished granite floors, and the dance on the way down is faster.