Thanjavur has been the capital of mighty Cholas for centuries. Therefore it is only natural that the city has remained the focal point of cultural movement and activities in the peninsular India. The Cholas have been known as the patrons of magnificent art culture and that is why Tanjore has a lot of attractions to see and appreciate. We are listing the best among them: –
Sri Brihadeswara Temple
The Chola King, Rajaraja I, built the Brihadeswara Temple in Thanjavur. The temple that was constructed in the 10th century AD is a magnificent example of Chola Temple architecture that was further applied in other cities in the peninsula too.
The Palace of Tanjore stands near the Brihadeswara temple. The Palace is a huge building that has been built through many decades. Nayaks initiated the foundation and primary work of construction around 1550 AD. The Marathas later completed the building during the reign of Peshwas.
The Art Gallery is situated in the Thanjavur Palace only. The place is a must visit in Tanjore as it houses some of the most magnificent and precious Granite and Bronze statues of the Chola period.
Saraswati Mahal Library
Saraswati Mahal Library is situated in the Tanjore Palace only. Saraswati Library houses, among others, over 30,000 palm-leaves and paper manuscripts in Indian and European languages. These manuscripts belong to a range of rulers in peninsular India ranging from Cholas and Pallavas to British and Portuguese. This is a must visit place for academicians and researchers.
Hall of Music
The Hall of Music is situated in the Tanjore Palace only. This hall is known for its near perfect acoustics and performance stage. The place has seen performances by some of the stalwarts of Carnatic Music in India.
Like various other tourist attractions in Thanjavur, The Royal Museum too is located in the Thanjavur Palace complex only. The museum is one of its kinds in peninsular India as it houses mixed collections of manuscripts, weapons, utensils, musical instruments and clothing that were used by the Royal Family of Thanjavur.
Schwartz Church is a living example of religious tolerance of Cholas. Rajah Serfoji built the Church that stands in the Thanjavur Palace garden in the year 1779 AD in token of his affection for the C. V. Schwartz who belonged to the Danish Mission. The architecture is a welcome break from the Chola temple architecture that dominates the city of Tanjore.
Siva Ganga Tank
Siva Ganga Tank stands in a garden near the Thanjavur Palace. The tank that is still in use was known for its sweet water that was the chief source of drinking for the habitants of Tanjore Palace.
Sharja Madi is the Royal balcony in the Thanjavur Palace. Located in the eastern part of the palace complex, Sharja Madi offers a panoramic view of Thanjavur city to the visitors. The balcony has been decorated with wooden carvings and sculptures that are unique in Peninsular India.
Rajarajan Mani Mandapam
Rajarajan Mani Mandapam is rather a modern construction in Tanjore. The conference hall or Mandapam that has been designed on the Chola architecture tradition was constructed to host the World Tamil Conference. It encloses a beautiful park that is worth visiting.
Tholkappiyar Sadukkam was also constructed during the 8th World Tamil Conference. This is actually a Square that encloses a tower. The tower offers a panaromic view of the bustling Thanjavur Town.
Mariamman Temple (Punnai Nallur)
Mariamman Temple that is popularly called Punnai Nallur in Thanjavur is located just 6 kilometers off to the downtown Tanjore. This magnificent temple is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman. The place attracts hordes of foreign as well as domestic tourists.