Thanjavur is an important center of South Indian religion, art, and architecture. Sited on the banks of the River Cauvery, Thanjavur is famous for its Brihadeeswar Temple built by Rajaraja Chola in the year 1010 AD.
Considered as an important agricultural centre located in the Cauvery Delta and is known as the ‘Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu’.
Most of the Great Living Chola Temples which are UNESCO World Heritage Monuments are located in and around Thanjavur.
Top 4 places to visit in Thanjavur
1. Brihadeeswar Temple
Brihadishvara Temple, is a popular and ancient Hindu temple dedicated to lord Shiva. This 212 ft. (64.8 meter) towering Shiva temple is home to one of the largest Shiva Lingas of the country. Built out of granite, the temple has a huge statue of Nandi and the outer wall of the upper storey is carved with 108 dance postures of Bharatanatyam. Considered as the big temple, the temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the ‘Great Living Chola Temples’.
The Brihadisvara temple continued the Hindu temple traditions of South India by adopting architectural and decorative elements, but its scale significantly exceeded the temples constructed before the 11th century. The Chola era architects and artisans innovated the expertise to scale up and build, particularly with heavy stone and to accomplish the 63.4 metres (208 ft) high towering vimana.
2. Punnai Nallur Mariamman Temple
Popularly known as Mariamman Kovil, Punnai allur Mariamman temple is one of the famous Hindu temples built by the Maratha rulers. Built over the natural formation of the anthill, the seven-tiered gopuram was erected recently. The Great saint Sadhasiva Brammendra swamy shaped the white-ant hill into a form of Mariamman and also installed a powerful Chakra.
3. Schwartz Church
Schwartz Church is one of the important old structures in India that were built during the British administration in the country. Built by Raja Serfoji in 1779 to honor the Danish missionary Reverend Frederick Christian Schwartz. Also known as Fort Church, the main attraction is the white marble monument and is noted for its intricate carvings depicting the final moments of Schwartz.
4. Thanjavur Palace
The Thanjavur Royal Palace is one of the ancient palaces in Thanjavur constructed by the Nayakas around 1550 CE. Also known as ‘Aranmanai’ and Maratha Palace, the palace hosts a myriad of primeval items including the Thanjavur paintings, statues from the Pallava, Chola, Pandiya and Nayaka periods. Divided into two parts, where the first part followed by Saraswathi Mahal Library is extended by Maratha rulers and it houses Royal Museum, Maratha Darbar Hall and Sangeetha Mahal. It is also one of the top places to visit in Thanjavur.