Thanjavur is the hub of South Indian art, religion and architecture. Housing the Great Living Chola Temples, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, the city lure pilgrims and travelers in huge numbers. Enclosed by emerald green paddy fields and rivers, Thanjavur is titled the ‘Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu’.
The South Indian city of Thanjavur is the cultural hub of Tamil. Incredible architecture in form of the magnificent Brihadisvara temple, famous Tanjore paintings. The famous Brihadisvara Temple is a well-known landmark and attracts various tourists and thus, it is the most visited destination. Thanjavur is also the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and is known for the same worldwide.
Giving temple of opportunities to the shopaholics, it offers world class cotton and handloom silk sarees. Further, brass and bronze idols as well as paintings and jewelry can be purchased from here. Some other attractions of Thanjavur are mentioned below.
Best Places to visit in Thanjavur
- Brihadisvara Temple
- Gangaikonda Cholapuram
- Airavatesvara Temple
- Thanjavur Royal Palace
- The Serfoji Sarasvati Mahal Library
- Manora Fort
- Sangeetha Mahal
- Vijayanagar Fort
- Aalangudi Temple
- Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Thanjavur
Brihadisvara Temple is 216 ft high also known as the Big Temple. A huge statue of the Nandi welcomes pilgrims at the entrance. This divine architecture is the most intricate example of the South Indian temple architecture. It is also counted as the UNESCO World Heritage Site and marks the victory of the Chola Kingdom. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this sanctum sanctorum lures numerous pilgrims and is the most visited place in South India.
It was the capital of the Cholas for a very long span of time. Gangaikonda Cholapuram has preserved the glorious Indian history. This destination has so much to explore for the history buffs. This temple is also counted amongst the UNESCO World Heritage Sites for housing numerous stunning temple carvings. Images of goddess Saraswati adorn the entrance of the temple. This shrine is also known for a stone named Chandrakanta which magically makes the temple warm in winter and cool in summer.
Airavatesvara Temple is also counted as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it fascinates Vaishnavites and Shivaites from far and near. A thing which amuses the visitors here are the steps which are surrounded by a fence and produce musical tones upon tapping. A notable legend associated with this place is that the famous elephant, Airavat belonging to Lord Indra got rid of the curse given to him by Saint Durvasa.
Thanjavur Royal Palace
Once the royal residence of the Nayak kings, it is also known as the Nayak Palace or Maratha Palace. Large corridors, big halls, arsenal and observation towers and a shady courtyard. This royal palace preserves ancient items like manuscripts, paintings and statues. The idols of Lord Shiva and Parvati are the center of attraction.
The Serfoji Sarasvati Mahal Library
The Serfoji Sarasvati Mahal Library carefully preserves many ancient manuscripts and artefacts. It also houses exquisite paintings and give a clear picture of the working of medieval world. The library also has a collection of 44,000 palm leafs and paper manuscripts in European and Indian languages. Adorned with colorful paintings, it is the place where one can easily find some of the rare manuscripts majority of which are written in Sanskrit.
This 8-storied fort was constructed in 1814. Rajah Serfoji was the man who laid the foundations of the Manora Fort. Designed meticulously in hexagonal shape, it marks the victory of the Britain over Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo.
Sangeetha Mahal was once used for public audiences and cultural activities. The Mahal comprises of a superb auditorium and offers excellent audibility. The sound quality displays the amazing engineering skills of the historic times. Nowadays, it has been transformed into an exhibition hall for showcasing varieties of handicrafts.
The initiation of the Vijayanagar Fort was done by the Nayak King, Vijay Raghav in 1550 and it was completed by the Maratha rulers. It comprises of Siva Ganga Garden, Art Gallery and Thanjavur Palace etc. This fort provides ample of opportunities to history buffs and photography enthusiasts.
As per the legends, Lord Shiva consumed poison here. Also, Aalngudi Temple is dedicated to Lord Guru. Thursday is an auspicious day here. Devotees offer special offerings to the deity and seek blessings from him.
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Thanjavur
Our Lady of Sorrows Church is a famous tourist spot of Thanjavur. It is the oldest church and is also named as Viagula Madha Church. An annual car festival is celebrated with great pomp and show on every third week of September. This festival is true example of perfect harmony as it is celebrated by everybody.