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Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

Been there recently?

Thanjavur, also known as Tanjore, is a city in Tamil Nadu that is dotted with magnificent monuments, remnants of the powerful Cholas, and ancient temples that are works of art. It stands as a glorious ode to its former kings. The Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the centre of town, was constructed in the 11th century and is decorated with unusual carvings and sculptures as well as inscriptions that describe daily life in that time period. While the temples are awe-inspiring, the city’s opulent palaces are no less, testifying to the grandeur of the ancient Dravidian civilisation. A fine selection of traditional handicrafts, including bobblehead dolls, the magnificent Tanjore paintings, and items made of palm leaves, are available in this authentic example of South Indian art and craft. The classical music and Bharatnatyam dance of Thanjavur are also well-known. It is the origin of the thavil, a percussion instrument widely used in Indian classical music.

Nearby Places to See

Gangaikonda Cholapuram
A richly carved sculpture of Mahisasuramardini, Nataraja, Ardhanariswara, or Chandikeshwara is housed in the temple built by Rajendra Chola, which is surrounded by lush greenery. A large Nandi monolith and two imposing Dwarpalas also stand guard at the entrance. The temple complex is an intriguing place to visit and is part of the group of Chola temples that are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is a fine example of Chola architecture and encapsulates a very integral period of the dynasty’s rule. It is located at about 81 kms from Thanjavur.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Thirunallar Temple
Thirunallar Temple, which honours Lord Saneeswaran, a manifestation of Saturn, is 90 kilometres from Thanjavur. According to Hindu scriptures, Saturn is the most significant planet, and if one appeases it, they will be able to find a solution for anything. Thus, the temple was constructed to appease Saturn. Near the temple, there is a sacred tank called Nala Theertham, where devotees like to bathe in the hope that it will wash away their sins. The three main attractions of Thirunallar are the Saneeswaran, Sri Vadaranyeswarar, and Badrakaliyamman temples.
Brihadeeswara Temple
Brihadeeswara Temple
The Brihadeeswara (Brihadishwara) Temple was built in 1010 AD by Raja Raja I, a great Chola ruler, and it has been added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. Later, for additional defence, the Nayak kings built up its outer fortifications. It is also referred to as Peruvudaiyar Kovil or the “Big Temple,” and is the most notable landmark in Thanjavur. It was built with some of the most cutting-edge methods available at the time and serves as a stunning example of Chola architecture. Inscriptions from the temple contain thorough descriptions of the town and its people from a thousand years ago. The 212-foot-tall temple, which is devoted to Lord Shiva, has one of India’s tallest shivlings inside of it, which is about 13 feet tall. The second-largest monolith of the Hindu bull god Nandi, measuring 12 and a half feet high, 8 feet long, and 5 feet wide, is another highlight. It guards the temple entrance and the surrounding area.
Punnainallur Mariamman Koil
Punnainallur, a village located 8 kilometres from Thanjavur, is well-known for its Mariamman temple. Maratha kings constructed the temple in the final quarter of the 17th century, combining Dravida and Maratha architectural styles in the process.
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