P.C: niko photos
Thanjavur, in Tamil Nadu, is the ancient capital of the Chola Kingdom. Owing to its rich cultural past, the town boasts of an elaborate monumental heritage and is home to many World Heritage Sites. This temple town is also known as the 'Rice Bowl of India', as traditionally the main occupation of the native people around here was agriculture. Thanjavur offers a great trip down the lanes of history and culture with that timeless old-world charm of the historical marvels, and here is a list of must-sees when in town.
How To Reach Thanjavur
By Air: The nearest International airport to reach Thanjavur is located in Trichy, which is nearly 61 km away from the town.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is the Trichy Junction, located in Trichy, at a distance of about 58 km from the town. The station is well-connected to all the major cities in the country.
By Road: Thanjavur is well connected to cities around its vicinity, through the roadways. With convenient cab facilities and well-connected bus services, Thanjavur is easily accessible by a network of roads and its bus terminus, the Thanjavur bus station is located right at the heart of the town.
Best Time To Visit Thanjavur
The weather in Thanjavur, like most places in South India, is warm and humid throughout the year. The months of October to March make for the best months to visit Thanjavur, as the temperature ranges from 25°C to 30°C.
1. Brahadeeswara Temple
Rich in art and architecture, the town of Thanjavur is home to the famous Brahadeeswara Temple, an 11th-century Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu mythological figure of Lord Shiva. Built by Raja Chola - I, this architectural marvel is known as one of the most notable monuments of the ancient Chola dynasty.
Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the temple is one of the most important landmarks of the town. It is said to be constructed as a token of revelry for the victory of the Chola kingdom.
The walls of the temple are adorned with a legacy of mythological figures, stories and legends. It's extremely elaborate walls boast of the intricate carvings and sculptures, exhibiting the architectural brilliance of the period.
The temple is one of a kind with its Dravidian architectural prowess, as the carvings of hundreds of lingams adorn the stone structure of the walls.
2. Gangaikonda Cholesvarar Temple
This temple in Thanjavur is dedicated to the worship of the Hindu god, Lord Shiva. Built by Rajendra Chola I, it is a copy of the more prominent Brihadeeswarar temple. The temple showcases poetry in stone, across the many intricately sculpted figurines. One of the most fascinating is the dancing sculpture of Lord Ganesha! The temple also has the tallest Shiv Lingam in South India at a height of 185 ft. It is also among the few temples that portray the Hindu goddess of learning and arts, Saraswati, so beautifully.
3. Thanjavur Royal Palace
P.C: Girish Gopi
Thanjavur is an epitome of beautiful architectural craftsmanship and the Thanjavur Royal Palace is one such jewel that adorns its crown. The palace was constructed during the Thanjavur Nayak Kingdom, and the palace houses some of the most elaborately adorned halls and durbars, which boast of artefacts from the Chola kingdom. Nestled in the Vijaynagara fort complex, this palace is known to be the official abode of the kings and rulers of the Nayak Kingdom. Explore the remaining fragments of this ancient magnificence in the town of Thanjavur.
4. The Seforji Sarasvati Mahal Library
The Seforji Sarasvati Mahal Library is home to several magnificent relics and antiquated manuscripts. The museum boasts of a striking collection of various unique curios along with ruins of unusual sculptures and idols. Head to this museum and get wonder-stricken with exquisite paintings and age-old artifacts adorning its halls. Soak in all the history and culture and enjoy an interesting place to visit during your stay at Thanjavur.
5. Sivaganga Park
The Sivaganga Park is another tourist place to visit in Thanjavur and is found in the complex adjoining the Brihadeeshwarar Temple. It is a great spot to unwind, especially if you have been touring the city with kids in tow! The park encompassing the Sivaganga Tank, also has toy train rides for children, boating facilities and a small zoo.
6. Airavateshwara Temple
The Airavateshwara Temple in Thanjavur is another important landmark that is mostly visited by the locals and the tourists. The temple is sanctified to the Hindu deity Lord Shiva and has an interesting myth behind its subsistence. Legend has it that the mythological figure Airavata, Lord Shiva's white elephant worshipped Lord Shiva at this very place, in order to get rid of a curse hexed on him by a sage named Durvasa. With interesting stories and wondrous architecture to stun you with, the Airavateshwara Temple attracts tourists and devotees in droves from all over the world.