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Brihadeeswarar Temple


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Thanjavur is one of the oldest cities in India and has a long and varied history dating back to Sangam period.  The name Thanjavur is derived from "Tanjan", a legendary asura in Hindu mythology. The city rose into prominence during the rule of the Later Cholas when it served as the capital of the Chola empire. After the fall of the Cholas, the city was ruled by the Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire, the Madurai Nayaks, the Thanjavur Nayaks, the Thanjavur Marathas and the British.


Thanjavur has the reputation as the "Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu". The Tamil University, set up recently is situated here and is devoted to the growth of Tamil literature and language. One of the best temples in South India, the Brihadeeswarar Temple or the Big Temple built by the greatest Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola, is the Chola dynasty's finest contribution to Dravidan temple architecture.  Most of the Great Living Chola Temples, an UNESCO World Heritage Monument are located in an around Thanjavur.


Thanjavur is also the home of the Tanjore painting, a painting style unique to the region.

How to Reach Tanjore (Thanjavur) ?

By Air
The nearest airport is at Trichy (Tiruchirapalli) (65 km).

By Train
There is a railway junction in Thanjavur. It is well connected to Trichy, Chennai as well as other major cities in South India.

By Road
Thanjavur is well connected to all the major towns in Tamilnadu through state highways

Distances from Thanjavur (Tanjore)

Thanjavur to Tiruchirapalli - 58 km         Thanjavur to Pondicherry - 177 km 
Thanjavur to Chidambaram - 90 km        Thanjavur to Rameshwaram - 258 km 

Thanjavur to Salem - 188 km                Thanjavur to Tirupati - 494 km 

Thanjavur to Vellore - 237 km               Thanjavur to Tirupur - 200 km 

Thanjavur to Chennai - 353 km             Thanjavur to Coimbatore - 291 km 

Thanjavur to Bangalore - 382 km           Thanjavur to Madurai - 203 km 

Thanjavur to Kanchipurami - 289 km       Thanjavur to Mammalapuram - 308 km 


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Must See in Tanjore (Thanjavur)


Brihadeeswarar Temple - This temple is an outstanding example of Dravidan style of architecture and reflects the style and skill of the Chola rulers who ruled peninsular India during the early medieval period. The building that carries the main sanctum is known as the 'Periya Kovil' or the “big temple”. Completed in early 11th century by Rajaraja Chola I the temple along with the other Chola temples in the area had the pride of being inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and a huge idol 23 feet in diameter and 9 feet in height is present inside.  The 'Vimana' of the temple is about 70 meters and is among the tallest of its kind in the world. It is also built such that at no time does the shadow of the vimana fall outside itself. The 'Shikharam' (crown) of Brihadeeswara temple is itself very large and heavy (81.25 tons) and has been carved out of a single stone. It is believed that the stones were lifted onto the tower by using an incline that inched up from 6 km away.


Art Gallery - The Art Gallery is another must see of Tanjore. It has a rich collection of 250 Chola Bronze statues and 150 stone statues dating from the 9th to 12th century. These statues belong to the many groups namely the Bhairava, Umasahita Shiva, Kali and the Rama Lakshmana.


Schwartz Church  - The 18th century Schwartz Church or Christ Church is a legacy of Tanjore’s colonial past, standing to the east of the Shivaganga Tank. This church was constructed by the Danish missionary, Reverend Frederik Christian Schwartz in 1779.

Shivaganga Fort - The Quadrangular Shivaganga Fort is situated towards the south west of the old city. Built by the Nayaka ruler, Sevappa Nayaka, in the mid-16th century, the battlemented stone structure covers an area of 35 acres surrounded by a part rock-cut moat.

Royal Palace - This palace was originally built by Nayaka rulers as their royal residence and was further reconstructed by Maratha rulers. A large quadrangular courtyard leads into the palace complex. Outside the palace there is a seven-storeyed observation tower meant for the royal families.

Royal Museum - Like various other tourist attractions in Thanjavur, The Royal Museum too is located in the Thanjavur Palace complex only. The museum is one of its kinds in peninsular India as it houses mixed collections of manuscripts, weapons, utensils, musical instruments and clothing that were used by the Royal Family of Thanjavur.


Thirukandiyur - Located at a distance of about 10 kilometres from the main Tanjore, Thirukandiyur is an important religious tourist destination. Thirukandiyur is famous for the temples of Brahma Sri Kandeswarar and Harsha Vimochana.


Garbharakshambica temple - The temple is located in a serene atmosphere along the banks of the river Vettaar at a distance of 21 km from Tanjore. The presiding deities of the temple are Lord Mullaivananathar and Goddess Garbharakshambika. Lord Mullaivananathar is Lord Shiva himself and Goddess Garbharakshambika is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. The Lingam of Lord Mullaivana Nathar is made up of ant hill mud. Therefore there is no water abhisekam for the Lord. The special attraction of this temple is that the moon's rays falls on the Siva lingam on the full moon day in the Tamil month of Panguni (March/April) every year.


Kumbakonam - Kumbakonam is at a distance of 36 kilometres from Tanjore,  famous for its four temples namely the Saragapani, Kumbeswarar, Nagaswara and the Ramaswamy. The place also gets mentioned for its Mahamaham festival celebrated once in twelve years.

Swamimalai - Located at a distance of 32 kilometres from the main Tanjore city, Swamimalai is also one of the many important religious excursion sites. The place is famous for Arupadaivaadu, one of the six abodes of Lord Murugan (one of the two sons of Lord Shiva).


Thiruvarur - Thiruvarur is one of the important pilgrimage sites of Tamil Nadu. Located at a distance of 55 kilometres from Tanjore, it attracts number of religious tourists towards its Thiyagarajaswami Temple. This temple has the biggest chariot temple in Tamil Nadu. This place is also revered as the birth place of Saint Thiyagaraja, one of the musical trinity of south India.



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