We had lunch at a restaurant located on the last floor of a shoping mall in the centre of Tiruchirappalli overlooking the impressive (at least to look) Rockfort, a historic fort and temple complex built on an ancient 83 metre high rock, said to geologically date to over one billion years, whose oldest structure is a cave temple built in 580 A.D. I personally felt it was a pity we didn't have time in our already tight schedule to visit it.
We then drove to Thanjavur, having stopped at a traditional bronze manufacturing workshop so as to learn about the making process techniques (the whole process taking around eight hours) of such a deeply rooted handicraft Art in the region, said to date back to the Chola Dinasty, which praised and supported it in the 3rd Century BC.
We were all stunned by the artistry and work involved in what is also known as "the lost wax method". The figure design is first fashioned in hard wax which is later covered with successive layers of clay till a thick solid coat is obtained. The entire clay is heated in an oven, so that the wax drains out in liquid form (then weighed in order to know which quantity of molten metal has to be poured into the hollow space). After having allowed it to cool the outer shell is broken and the metal image taken out. Chiseling and polishing is then required, with each piece being worked on individually by the master artist , who created it in the first place.
Some of us bought sculptures being sold at the workshop, though I personally didn't (I have been telling myself over and over again in the last few years that I shouldn't and can't buy anymore of those, despite loving handicrafted pieces of all sorts and materials - because I simply don't have any space left at home and it's a pity having them wrapped up in their original packs put aside somewhere ...)