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
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) ?
The nearest airport is at Trichy (Tiruchirapalli) (65 km).
There is a railway junction in Thanjavur. It is well connected to
Trichy, Chennai as well as other major cities in South India.
Thanjavur is well connected to all the major towns in Tamilnadu
through state highways
Tiruchirapalli - 58 km
Thanjavur to Pondicherry - 177 km
Thanjavur to Chidambaram - 90 km
Thanjavur to Rameshwaram - 258 km
Thanjavur to Salem -
Thanjavur to Tirupati - 494 km
Thanjavur to Vellore -
Thanjavur to Tirupur - 200 km
Thanjavur to Chennai -
Thanjavur to Coimbatore - 291 km
Thanjavur to Bangalore
- 382 km
Thanjavur to Madurai - 203 km
Kanchipurami - 289 km Thanjavur
to Mammalapuram - 308 km
Must See in Tanjore
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
The temple is
dedicated to Lord Shiva and a huge idol 23 feet in diameter and 9
feet in height is present inside.
'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
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
- 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.
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.
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 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
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.