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The 11th -century temple at Gangaikondacholapuram, forming part of UNESCO's World Heritage Site, is 100 metres long and 40 metres wide and was built to commemorate a series of conquests by the Chola kings that took them all the way up to the Gangetic plain. Its stone sculptures include a dancing Ganesha, an ornately decorated well topped by a lion's head, a massive stone lingam and an exquisite frieze depicting Rajendra being crowned by Shiva and Parvati. It also houses some remarkable Chola bronzes - it was one of their capitals before the dynasty fell in the 13th century - and a spectacular 55-metre-high, eight-tiered pyramidal structure towers above its sanctuary.

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The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.
G. K. Chesterton

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