Thanjavur was the ancient capital of the Chola Kingdom and went on to thrive under the Marathas and the Nayaks. Since it was a vibrant city in ancient times, Thanjavur is one of the very few historical sites in the country that still has its temples and relics preserved. Thanjavur is also known as the ‘Rice Bowl of India’ and is also considered to be one of the leading cultural head-quarters of the region. It is located 380 kms, from the Capital of Tamil Nadu, Chennai. Let’s look at the top 7 places to visit in Thanjavur–
1. Brahadeeswara Temple
The Brahadeeswara temple is one of the most important landmarks of the city and was built by Raja Raja Chola- I and is known as the most intricate example of the South Indian temple architecture. It is a world heritage site and is said to have been constructed as a celebration of the victory of the Chola Kingdom.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the architecture of the temple is truly one of a kind as hundreds of lingams are carved onto the stone structure. The temple is surrounded by gardens and the entrance to the temple complex is free of cost. A trip to Thanjavur cannot be complete without visiting the Brihadishwara temple!
2. Airavateshwara Temple
Located in Darasuram, the Airavateswara temple is one of the many Shiva temples in Thanjavur as the legend goes, the white elephant of Lord Shiva who is known as Airavata, worshipped Lord Shiva here to get rid of a curse given to him by Sage Durvasa. It is also said that the lord of death, Yama, worshipped Shiva here as well. Along with the other temples in Thanjavur, this temple is considered one of the greatest living Chola temples.
3. Thanjavur Royal Palace
Situated within the Vijaynagara fort complex and was known to be residence of the Nayak Kings. Within the palace premises, there are a lot of places worth visiting like the Nayak Hall, Saraswati Mahal library and the durbar hall. The Nayak Hall is where the artefacts from the Chola kingdom. The durbar hall is said to have been built by the Marathas and has the throne canopy decorated with mirror work. This place is a must visit when visiting Thanjavur!
4. Gangaikonda Temple
The architectural magnificence of Thanjavur does not end here, the Gangaikonda temple is another example of the beautiful temple carvings. The site has been declared as one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. The temple is about a thousand years old and is known as an integral part of Tamil History.
5. The Seforji Sarasvati Mahal Library
Located within the premises of the palace complex. The Seforji Sarasvati Mahal Library is a museum that has gathered a lot of repute for being the home to numerous old artefacts and manuscripts. The paintings are exquisite and give the viewer a sense of how the medieval world functioned. It is a must-visit for all the history-buffs out there!
6. Thirumananjeri Temple
Known for marriage blessings and wishes, the Thirumananjeri temple is popular amongst Tamilians for fulfilling wishes asked for here. The temple is yet another example of spectacular architecture and design as the walls show the intricate carvings of gods and goddesses. Once a vow asked for here is fulfilled, one has to visit the temple again with their spouse to seek blessings. This temple is a must for the spiritual minded tourists!
7. Sukkiran Temple
Sukkiran Temple is known as the Navagraha temple for Venus and therefore, it is considered auspicious to visit the temple on a Friday. The temple is located in a small village which is why it is the best to get an idea about the local way of life here. The routes to the village are scenic and beautiful. Like all the other temples of Thanjavur, this temple is also adorned with intricate carvings and is an example of great architecture. Don’t miss this temple out while you are on your temple trail!
Thanjavur is a temple city and has numerous magnificent examples of great ancient architecture. If you are in the good for a vacation that is also a knowledge trip done history lane then Thanjavur is the place for you!
Other Major Tourist Destinations In Tamil Nadu: