Location : Thanjavur District, on the eastern coast of Tamil
Area : 3603 sq. kms.
Attractions : Bragatheeswarar Temple, Thanjavur Palace,
Ideal Time to Visit : November to January
Thanjavur is situated halfway between Tiruchirappalli (60km) and the
coast. It is 35km southwest of Kumbakonam and 334 km south of Chennai.
Thanjavur was the capital city of Chola kingdom from the 9th to the
13th centuries. It is the granary of South India and is known as the
rice bowl of Tamil Nadu. This royal city has a rich and varied
heritage for which it is known across the globe. Thanjavur was the
center of knowledge and culture which reached its peak between the
10th and 14th centuries, under the reign of the Cholas.
The Chola dynasty was a celebrated dynasty of South India and Sri
Lanka. They build many temples in order to mark the their victories
over other dynasties. There are more than 70 temples in Thanjavur, the
most important being the famous Brihadeeswara Temple.
The ancient city of Thanjavur is the center of classical arts and
music inspite of the advent of technology era. The performances by the
classical musicians, percussionists and the Bharatnatyam dancers never
fails to enchant you. Then there is the exquisite Tanjore style of
painting, which attracts innumerable tourists. The paintings are
developed over multiple layers and are usually centered on the Hindu
Gods and Goddesses.
The city of Thanjvur is named after, a demon by the name of Tanjan-an
asura. According to the legend the last wish of the demon was that the
place should be named after him, which was granted by Sri Anandavalli
Amman and Sri Neelamegapperumal.
¤ Attractions At Thanjavur
Thanjavur is famous for its majestic temples, but there are many
other attractions present here, which are worth visiting. Among the
temples, most important is the Bragatheeswarar temple, also known as
the Big Temple of Thanjavur. It was built by Rajaraja Cholan, the
Great Chola king. This temple is an ideal example of the grandeur of
Indian sculptural architecture. Another important attraction here is
the Saraswati Mahal Library. Established around 1700 AD, it has one of
the most vital oriental manuscripts collections, in India. Apart from
these, a major highlight of the Thanjavur city is the Thanjavur
Palace, situated on the east main street. It is a series of large and
rambling buildings of fine masonry, built partly by the Nayaks and
partly by the Marathas around 1550 AD.
One of the most notable attractions in Thanjavur is Tamil University,
established in 1981. Tamil University Museum has a collection of coins
and musical instruments. Another attraction here is the Schwartz
Church, situated in the palace garden. It was built in 1779 A.D by
Rajah Serfoji. At Thanjavur, there are many famous museums having
interesting collections of stone sculpture, coins and musical
instruments. Among these the Nayak Durbar Hall Art Museum and the
Rajaraja Chola Museum are the most important. They contain magnificent
collection of Chola Bronzes-all discovered locally.
Last but not the least, the Tanjore Paintings of Thanjavur are famous
for their special style of decorating the paintings. They are done
both on glass and board. In both types, the figures and the background
are richly ornamented with gold leaf and gems. The theme of these
paintings are mostly related to Krishna in which he is shown in
various poses. But there are also various paintings in temples, of all
the other Gods and Saints.
are quite a good number of excursion options available from Thanjavur.
Some of the must visits around Thanjavur are the Gangaikondacholapuram
temple, Nageswaraswami Temple and the Airavateswara Temple. Another
major excursion destination from Thanjavur is the Thiruvaiyaru,
situated at a distance of 13 kilometers. It is associated with saint
Thyagaraja, the Carnatic music saint. At Thiruvaiyaru also visit the
celebrated Panchanatheswara temple, which has been dedicated to Lord
Shiva. Among the many excursion destinations Dharasuram is an
important one, which is about 32 kilometers away from Thanjavur. Here
at the silk weaving center, the Chola king Rajendra, built the
Airavateswara Temple in the honor of Lord Shiva.
You can also make a visit to Kumbakonam, situated at a distance of 36
kilometers from Thanjavur. Here one can see semi erotic sculptures at
the Sarangapani, Kumbeswarar, Nageswara and Ramaswamy temples.
Kumbakonam is also the venue of the magnificent Mahamaham festival
that is celebrated once in every 12 years.
About 14 kms from Thanjavur, a Carnatic classical musical festival is
celebrated at Thiruvaiyaru in the month of January. It is celebrated
in honor of the Carnatic music saint, Thyagaraja.
¤ Reach Thanjavur
By Air : The nearest airport
from Thajavur is situated about 65 kms east of Tiruchi. It serves
planes from the Middle East, Colombo, Chennai and Madurai. The next
closest airport is at Madurai about 200 Kms away. Another airport is
Chennai airport about 350 kms away from Thanjavur. Major Circuits
By Train : There is a railway junction in Thanjavur. It is
well connected with Tiruchi, Chennai and Nagore.
By Road : Thanjavur is well connected with all the major towns
in TamilNadu. It is also connected with Kochi, Ernakulam,
Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala and Bangalore in Karnataka.
Local Transportation : For local transportation auto
rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and taxis are available.
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