Sri Aurobindo Rural & Village Action & Movement (SARVAM), an initiative of Sri Aurobindo Society, organized a tour for 70 community women in the villages, to the ancient cities of Thanjavur. Thanjavur, (formerly Tanjore) is a city in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu and an important centre of South Indian religion, art, and architecture. Many of the great Chola Temples, which are UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, are located in and around Thanjavur.
For many of these women, this was for the first time in their life that they had been out of their village for an outstation trip, away from their families for any length of time. Once the idea was floated around, it was met with disbelief, scepticism and then finally extreme excitement. All the women who enrolled immediately started saving a little money every month from their meagre earnings so that they would have some spending money during the tour. The entire journey with friends, family and neighbours was great rejuvenation to their body and mind, and they had wonderful time visiting a new place and undergoing new experiences.
All their accommodation, food and even snacks for the journey were taken care by the SARVAM coordinators in advance. The entire group was provided comfortable, clean accommodations and an opportunity to eat sumptuous food.
Thanjavur is an important pilgrim centre and a major tourist destination. The most visited temple in Thanjavur is the Brihadeeswarar Temple, which is described as ‘a landmark in the evolution of building art in South India’. Built in the 11th century by the Chola king Raja Raja Chola I (985–1014), the temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The walls of the sanctum are covered with wall paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods. The architecture as well as the spiritual energies in the temple fascinated the women a lot. They also visited a few more local temples and monuments during their stay there.
For most of them it was also their first train journey, which added to the fun in the trip. The women celebrated the occasion by singing songs, regaling each other with stories, getting excited with the sights and sounds of the towns and villages during the travel and making many beautiful moments along the way.
The trip was a great success and the women came back with hundreds of beautiful memories and a new enthusiasm towards life.
All the women are very grateful to SARVAM, which went out of the way in arranging this tour and also for wonderful holiday. With Divine Grace the entire trip went smoothly and safely without any untoward incident.