About Thanjavur

Ideal Trip Duration: 1-2 Days

Base Station: Thanjavur

Nearest City to Thanjavur: Tiruchirappalli (55 Kms)

Best Time to Visit Thanjavur: November to March

Peak Season: November to March & May

State: Tamil Nadu | District: Thanjavur

Thanjavur Weather: Maximum: 40°C
Minimum: 19.8°C

At a distance of 56 km from Trichy, 112 km from Chidambaram, 86 km from Nagapattinam, 170 km from Madurai, 326 km from Chennai, Thanjavur, also known as Tanjore, is a city and district headquarters in the state of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is famous for the Brihadeeswarar Temple built by Rajaraja Chola in the year 1010 AD. Also known as the Big Temple, it is one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India and also one of the popular places to experince Tamilnadu Tourism.

Situated on the banks of River Cauvery, Thanjavur has a rich historical heritage and is a prism of ancient as well as the modern south Indian civilizations. The city was once the stronghold of the historic Cholas and at one time was also the capital of the Cholas, Mutharayars and Marathas when they were at the peak of their power. Since then, Thanjavur has been one of the chief political, cultural and religious centers of South India.

Thanjavur became the most important city in the Chola Empire and remained its capital till the emergence of Gangaikonda Cholapuram in about 1025. During the first decade of the eleventh century, the Chola king Raja Raja Chola I (985-1014) constructed the Brihadeeswarar Temple. The temple is considered to be one of the best specimens of South Indian temple architecture.

Thanjavur is one of the older cities in Tamil Nadu and has a lot of significance in Dravidian history. Thanjavur was eventually annexed along with the rest of the Chola kingdom by the Pandya king Maravarman Kulasekara Pandyan I in 1279. Later it went into the hands of Delhi Sultanate from whom Vijayanagara rulers have conquered. It was governed by Thanjavur Nayaks under Vijayanagara suzerainty. Thanjavur was successfully conquered by Ekoji I in 1674, the Maratha feudatory of the Nawab of Bijapur and half-brother of Shivaji. Ekoji founded the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom which ruled Thanjavur till 1855. The kingdom was eventually absorbed into British India in 1855 by the Doctrine of Lapse when Shivaji II (1832-55), the last Thanjavur Maratha ruler, died without a male heir.

Apart from Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur and the surrounding areas have several important tourist attractions like Thanjavur Palace, Kumbakonam, Darasuram, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Thiruvaiyaru, Thirubuvanam, etc.

It usually takes a full day to visit the places within Thanjavur town. Thanjavur is also famous for metal sculptures moulded with great facial expressions and beautiful finish.

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Other Info
Internet Availability: Good
STD Code: 04362
Languages Spoken: Tamil, Hindi, Marathi & English
Major Festivals: Maha Sivaratri (Feb/Mar),
Annual Festival (May)
Notes/Tips:
None

How to Reach Thanjavur

By Air

Nearest Airport: Tiruchirappalli - Tiruchirapalli Airport (55 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Thanjavur Junction Railway Station (0 Kms)
Tiruchirappalli Junction (55 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Thanjavur New Bus Station (5 Kms)

Top 10 Places to Visit in Thanjavur

Heritage | Pilgrimage

#3 of 22 Places to Visit in Thanjavur

At a distance of 2 km from Thanjavur Junction Railway Station & 5 km from New Bus Station, the Brihadeeswarar Temple, also known as Peruvudaiyar Kovil or Periya Kovil is a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas in temple architecture. It was built in the year 1010 AD by the mighty Chola Emperor Raja Raja Chola I. It remains as one of the greatest glories of Indian architecture. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as 'Great Living Chola Temples'.

Also known as The Big Temple, Brihadeeswarar temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is famous for its grandeur and beautiful sculptures. The temple consists of an entrance tower followed by the main temple complex spread on a plot of 33,000 sq. ft. The inner part of the temple starts with a large Nandi mandapa which is a 12 foot tall monolithic idol with intricately carved Nandi Mandapa. The main shrine of Brihadeeswarar boasts an amazing structure with a large mandapa followed by an antarala and the sanctum. .....

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Heritage

#5 of 22 Places to Visit in Thanjavur

At a distance of 2 km from Thanjavur Railway Station, 1.5 km from Brihadeeswarar Temple & 0.5 km from Old Bus Station, Thanjavur Palace, also known as Maratha Palace or Nayak Palace is a wonderful historical structure in the town of Thanjavur. It was the official residence of the Maratha rulers from 1674 to 1855.

It was constructed partly by Thanjavur Nayaks around 1550 CE, and expanded by the Marathas. The palace is noted for its huge halls, spacious corridors, observation and arsenal towers, and a shady courtyard. The Palace is a must visit place in Thanjavur to understand the history and lifestyle of its rulers.

The entrance to the palace is a large quadrangular courtyard which is encircled by walls with big gateways to the north and the east. The courtyard leads to a many-pillared hall. The Goodagopuram, also known as Bell Tower, an eight storied vimana like building situated on the southern side of the third quadrangle, has a height of 190 ft. It was the palace watch tower .....

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Pilgrimage

#22 of 22 Places to Visit in Thanjavur

At a distance of 35 km from Mayiladuthurai, 43 km from Thanjavur, 54 km from Karaikal, 65 km from Nagapattinam, 72 km from Chidambaram, 105 km from Trichy, 129 km from Pondicherry, 235 km from Madurai and 282 km from Chennai, Kumbakonam is one of the ancient temple town located amidst the two rivers Cauvery and Arasalar in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu.

The name Kumbakonam in English means the Pot's Corner. In olden days it was called Thirukudamookku and it is also popularly called as Kudanthai now. According to history, Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Kings, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent center of European education and Hindu .....

Distance (From Thanjavur): 43 Kms
Trip Duration (From Thanjavur - Including Travel): Full Day
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City

#1 of 22 Places to Visit in Thanjavur

At a distance of 334 km from Chennai, 133 km from Madurai, 57 km from Thanjavur and 212 km from Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, also called Tiruchi or Trichy is the 4th largest city and administrative headquarters of Tiruchirappalli District in Tamilnadu. Situated on the banks of the Cauvery River, Trichy is one of the famous Tourist places in Tamilnadu.

The history of Tiruchirappalli begins in the 3rd century BC, when it was under the rule of the Cholas. It was a stronghold of the early Cholas which later fell to the Pallavas. But the Pallavas never really managed to retain control of this strategic city and lost it to the Pandyas several times. Trichy continued to be in the possession of Cholas until the decline of the empire after which it became a Vijayanagara stronghold. Trichy came under the rule of Nayaks of Madurai after the collapse of Vijayanagara, later to the Marathas of Tanjore, the Nawabs of Carnatic, the French and finally .....

Distance (From Thanjavur): 57 Kms
Trip Duration (From Thanjavur - Including Travel): Full Day
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Heritage | Pilgrimage

#2 of 22 Places to Visit in Thanjavur

At a distance of 1 km from Srirangam Railway Station, 9 km from Trichy Railway Junction, 62 km from Thanjavur, 145 km from Madurai & 327 km from Chennai, Srirangam is well known for Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple which is the foremost of the eight self-manifested shrines of Lord Vishnu. The temple is considered the first among 108 prominent Vishnu temples and also one of the popular Tamilnadu tourist places.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is one of the most famous temples in South India, constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture. Built across an area of 156 acres, this temple is dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of Hindu deity, Lord Vishnu. This temple lies on an island formed by the twin Rivers Cauvery and Kollidam. Though the temple existing since 2nd century BC, the archaeological inscriptions are available only from the 10th century CE.

This temple is also known by other names such as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Periyakoil, .....

Distance (From Thanjavur): 62 Kms
Trip Duration (From Thanjavur - Including Travel): 4 Hours/Half Day
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Pilgrimage

#4 of 22 Places to Visit in Thanjavur

At a distance of 6.5 Kms from Thanjavur town, the Punnai Nallur Mariamman temple located in Punnai Nallur village is one of the famous temples around Thanjavur District. The temple was build by Maratta rulers of Thanjavur.

In the year 1680, the Maratta ruler Venkoji Maharaja Chatrapati (1676 - 1688) of Thanjavur was on a pilgrimage to Samayapuram Mariamman near Thiruchirappalli. After he returned to Thanjavur, Mariamman appeared on his dream and mentioned that she is residing at the Punnai forest 5 km on the east direction of Thanjavur. The King went and saw a white-ant hill and started building a temple around it. The Maratta rulers Thulaja, Serfoji also contributed to construction of the temple.

Originally the Amman was in the form of white-ant hill. The Great saint Sadhasiva Brammendra swamy shaped the white-ant hill into a form of Mariamman and also installed a powerful Chakra.

Timings: 6 AM - 8.30 PM.

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Museum

#6 of 22 Places to Visit in Thanjavur

At a distance of 2 km from Thanjavur Junction Railway Station & 0.5 km from Old Bus Station, the Art Gallery is located within Thanjavur Palace. The gallery houses a treasured collection of bronze icons, stone sculptures and other artifacts, which today stand testimony to that golden age in Tamil history.

The gallery is situated in the second part of the palace behind bell tower. The galley consists of Stone sculptures arrange in a hall at the entrance and in the hall towards southern side of the complex near Manimandapam. The bronze sculptures inside the Nayak's Durbar Hall showcase excellent craftsmanship. Durbar Hall is an excellent structure with beautiful paintings & sculptures on upper part of the walls and the ceiling. The hall also houses a marble sculpture of Raja Serfoji, popular Maratha ruler.

The examples of art that we see today at this gallery are the finest. Most of the pieces belong to Chola period between the 9th and the 13th centuries AD, to the post-Chola .....

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Heritage

#7 of 22 Places to Visit in Thanjavur

At a distance of 2 km from Thanjavur Junction Railway Station & 0.5 km from Old Bus Station, Sangeet Mahal is located within Thanjavur Palace behind Royal Museum.

Sangeet Mahal, or Hall of Music, on the first floor has a fine auditorium with excellent acoustics. It was used for cultural activities and public audiences. The walls and ceiling are intricately painted. This is a fine auditorium with perfect acoustics, revealing the engineering skill of the ancient builders.

The dome at the center of the hall between four pillars has beautiful sculptures on four corners above the pillars. The small mandapa on elevated platform attached to the wall was the seat of the king while participating in the events. There is a painting of a Maratha ruler on the wall behind the mandapa.

The colors on the walls are partly faded away and efforts are needed to restore them. There is a wooden corridor in front of the mandapa.

Timings: 10 AM to 1 PM & 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM

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Heritage

#8 of 22 Places to Visit in Thanjavur

At a distance of 2 km from Thanjavur Junction Railway Station & 0.5 km from Old Bus Station, Saraswati Mahal Library is located within Thanjavur Palace in front of Royal Museum. This library has one of the most important oriental manuscripts collections, in India.

Established around 1700 AD, the library contains a collection of over 44,000 palm leaf, and paper manuscripts in Indian and European languages. Over eighty per cent of its manuscripts are in Sanskrit, many on palm leaves, some very rare or even unique. The Tamil works includes treatises on medicine, and commentaries on works from the Sangam period.

The library is wonderfully decorated with color paintings in the exterior and interior walls and ceiling. The upper section of the front side wall has an image of Goddess Saraswathi.

Timings: 10 AM to 1 PM & 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM

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Heritage | Pilgrimage

#9 of 22 Places to Visit in Thanjavur

At a distance of 2 km from Thanjavur Railway Station & 750 km from Old Bus Station & 500 meters from Brihadeeswarar Temple, Schwartz Church, also known as Fort Church, is located near Brihadeeswarar Temple in the Thanjavur Palace garden just north of the Sivaganga Tank, was built by Raja Serfoji in 1779 in appreciation of his teacher, the Danish missionary FC Schwartz who died in 1798.

When Schwartz died in 1798, Serfoji II, the Maratha ruler donated a striking piece of white marble that was made by John Flaxman and this is seen at the western end of the Schwartz church. The marble piece has engravings showing the dying missionary, blessing King Serfoji surrounded by his ministers.

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