Read the first part here: Great Chola Temples, Part-1, Airavateswara Temple
The second part traces the small village and the Shiva temple, which is what all remains of the capital of an empire that stretched from Indian Ocean to the Ganges in the north.
It is the most triumphant period in the history of Cholas, their empire stretched most of South India, Sri Lanka and extended to Indochina region.
It is located quite far from any major town. So, there is a calm atmosphere, situated ~30kms from Kumbakonam and ~70kms from Tanjore. Closest town is Jayankondam. Thanks to its UNESCO World Heritage status along with other Chola temples, it is well maintained with neat and clean surroundings in a stark contrast to other temples in Tamil Nadu.