THANJAVUR FACTS & FIGURES
- Location: Tamil Nadu, southeastern India
- Best time to Visit: Throughout the year
- Significance : 74 temples but the most superb is the Sri Brihadeswara temple and One of the thirteen coastal districts of Tamil Nadu.
Thanjavur, formerly known as Tanjore. The city lies on the south bank of the Kaveri River, 200 miles south of Chennai. The Big Temple and the other famous temples in the district are known all over the world. Thanjavur was the cultural capital of the country in 1790. Thanjavur gained prominence during the period of Chola Kings, who made it as their capital. Thereafter, it was ruled by Nayaks and Maratta Kings, who nurtured art and culture.
Thanjavur is famous for the Brihadeeswara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola, the first sailor king of India. The Brihadeeswara Temple also known as the Big Temple is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
A demon by the name of Tanjan-an asura lends its name to the terrific town of Thanjavur. As per the legend the last wish of the demon was that the place should be named after him, Sri Anandavalli Amman and Sri Neelamegapperumal granted it.
Pilgrim/Tourist Attractions in Thanjavur
Sri Brahadeeswarar Temple
Thanjavur has as many as 74 temples but the most superb is the Sri Brihadeswara temple. The temple dedicated to Nandi, the Bull is a masterpiece of the captivating Chola architecture. The mount of Lord Shiva i.e. Nandi has been made from a single granite rock. Similarly the dome of the temple rests on one granite rock. The Chola king Raja Raja I built the Brihadeswara temple way back in the 10th century AD. The architecture of the temple is simply put beautiful and wondrous the best amongst the many in the temple town of Thanjavur. The Brihadeswara temple stands 216 ft. tall but it has been built in such a manner that throughout the day its shadow never falls on the ground! Built by the great Chola King, Raja Raja I in the 10th Century AD is an outstanding example of Chola architecture.
The Palace near the temple is a vast building of masonry built partly by the Nayaks around 1550 AD and partly by the Marathas. Right next to the temple is the Palace that was built by the Nayaks and the Marathas in parts is worth visiting for its magnificent masonry. The Palace is home to the Mannar Saroboji Saraswathi Mahal Library, Art Gallery and Sangeetha Mahal. In the north of the Big temple is the Sivagangai Garden, the gorgeous greens must be visited to check out the amazing flora and fauna.
In the Palace there are a number of granite and bronze statues of the Chola riod.The tourists throng the Thanjavur Art gallery for its splendid statues in bronze and stone, which date back to the 9th to the 12th centuries.
The Saraswathi Mahal Library
The Library is renowned for its compilation of manuscripts on paper and palm leaves in several Indian and European languages. The 16th century library is home to works of ancient and medieval periods. At the library you will come across the biography of Muhammad Ghazni as well as books on the 64 Bathing Ghats of Varanasi.
(In the Palace garden) Built in 1779 AD by Rajah Serfoji in token of his affection for the Rev.C.V.Schwartz of the Danish mission. Rajah Serfoji had built the church in appreciation of the Rev. C.V. Schwartz of the Danish Mission. The other remarkable structure built by Raja Serfoji is the eight-story victory tower at Manora, which happens to be at a distance of 5 Kilometers from Thanjavur
Hall of Music
The Sangeetha Mahal or the Hall of Music is located in the first floor of the Palace. This is a fine auditorium with perfect acoustics, revealing the engineering skill of the ancient builders, Also in the Palce is this acoustically perfect ancient music hall.
The Mariamman temple is located 6kms from Thanjavur.
How to Reach Thanjavur
- Air : In terms of air transport the Tiruchirapalli airport that is 58 kms away from Thanjavur is the nearest.
- Rail :Thanjavur is directly connected with Trichy, Madurai, Nagore, and Madras by rail.
- Road :The excellent road network links Thanjavur with the major towns in Tamil Nadu and the neighboring states of Kerala and Karnataka.