Just before London trip, we made a quick dash to Thanjavur/Kumbakonam and visited quite a few temples. The Brihadeeshwara (big) temple in Thanjavur a UNESCO world heritage monument was our primary destination. Its a great place, well maintained by ASI, without much tout hassles (relatively). The place was not crowded despite its fame, we were allowed to freely wander around the temple, take pictures (except the main shrine). The most despicable thing however was that our people had damaged many of the sculptures, scribbled over centuries old paintings and done everything to not deserve such monuments. What is the point of boasting about our Tamil or Indian culture if we do not care enough to preserve it.
Thanjavur as a town looked more dirty and dusty than any other town of TN. Perhaps because the river Cauvery dried up (not this year though), the people seem to be trying to meet their water requirements by spitting everywhere. I was accosted by more beggars per minute here than in any other place and an autodriver took 15 rs for a 100 meter trip. Not a pleasant experience by any means.