Thanjavur also known as Tanjore, is an important centre of South Indian religion, art and architecture. Home to the Great Living Chola temples, a World Heritage site, Thanjavur is also known for the famous Tanjore painting, which is something very unique to this region.
Scholars believe that the name Thanjavur is taken from Tanjan, a demon mentioned in the Hindu mythology. Whilst its early history remains unclear, it rose to prominence during the reign of the Medieval Cholas, when it served as the capital of the empire.
The city was ruled by various dynasties after the fall of Cholas; the Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire and the British to name a few.
Also Read : Popular Temples In Thanjavur
Starting Point: Bengaluru
Best Time To Visit: October to March
By Air: The nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli International Airport, which is located at a distance of 60 km. The airport is well-connected to all the major cities in the country and also abroad.
By Train: Though Thanjavur has a rail head, most of the passengers prefer to alight at Trichy Junction which is at a distance of 58 km, as the station is well-connected to major cities like Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Ernakulam and others.
By Road: Thanjavur is well-connected by roads. The driving distance from Bengaluru to Thanjavur is approximately 392 km. There are a lot of buses that operate from Bengaluru to Thanjavur and as well, from other major cities.
Route 1: Bengaluru - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Salem - Namakkal - Sri Rangam - Trichy - Thanjavur via NH 44.
Route 2: Bengaluru - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Salem - Ramalingapuram - Attur - Thriuvaiyaru - Thanjavur via NH44 and NH136.
For someone who wishes to take Route 1, it would take around 8 hours to reach Thanjavur via NH 44. The road takes you through the famous temple town of Sri Rangam, and once can choose to take a slight deviation from the highway and head to the temple and pay your respects to Lord Ranganathar.
For those who opt to reach Thanjavur by Route 2, it would take you around 8.5 to 9 hours to reach Thanjavur via NH 44 and NH 136.
The drive can be planned as a weekend drive. One can choose to leave the city of Bengaluru on an early Saturday morning and after spending a day one can return on Sunday afternoon and reach the city by night.
If you're opting for Route 1, either Krishnagiri or Dharmapuri would be an ideal place to stop over for breakfast, and later proceed towards Namakkal for lunch.
A short deviation would take you to Sri Rangam and one can visit the famous Sri Ranganathar Temple and proceed towards the destination of Thanjavur which is about 63 km and that would take you around an hour or so to reach.
Once you reach Thanjavur, you can visit the Great Living Chola temples, the famous Brihadeeswarar temple which was built in the 11th century by the Chola King, Raja Raja Chola I.
After that, one can head towards the Thanjavur Maratha Palace, which was the official residence of the Bhosale family who ruled the region from 1674 to 1855.
The next must visit is the Saraswathi Mahal Library, which is one of the oldest libraries in Asia. It is said to have been established around 1700, it houses more than 30,000 Indian and European manuscripts which are written on palm leaves as well as paper.
The Sivaganga park which is situated to the east of the Brihadeeswarar temple houses the Sivaganga Tank, which is believed to have been built by the King Raja Raja Chola.
It is one of the major attractions to be seen here. The park was built by the Tanjore municipality in 1871-72.
There are five museums in Thanjavur, namely Archaeological museum, Tamil University museum, the Saraswathi Mahal library museum, Nayak Durbar Hall museum and Rajaraja Chola museum.
Try to make it a point to visit an artist who still continues to paint the traditional style of Tanjore paintings, which is a slow vanishing form of art. In modern times, these paintings have become souvenirs of festive occasions in South India, wall decors, and collectors' items for art lovers.