Best Places to Visit in Thanjavur - A Weekend Getaway

Best Places to Visit in Thanjavur - A Weekend Getaway

02 Jul, 2022 | Taxida

Besides showcasing the rich cultural heritage of southern India, Tanjore is also a great place to relax.

Known as the 'city of temples,' Thanjavur in South India is a lovely location with significant historical and cultural value. Many of this city's attractions are culturally significant, such as the Tanjore paintings, Carnatic music, textiles and crafts, and so on. It also has a rich architectural legacy, and this is reflected in the city's many notable landmarks. A tour of Thanjavur's many historical sites will provide insight into the region's long history of ruling dynasties.

Tanjore, a magnificent tourist site in Tamil Nadu, is well-known for attracting throngs of pilgrims and tens of thousands of visitors each year. Historic temples in Tanjaur, which rose to prominence as part of the Chola empire, are common stops on pilgrimages throughout southern India.

The Brihadisvara temple & fort, the Annai Vailankanni Shrine, and the Thanjavur Royal Palace, as well as Museum, are all must-sees in Tanjore.

Besides these three prominent landmarks in the city of Tanjore, travellers can also add more attractions to their itinerary. If you're in the area, don't miss the Siva Gandak Tank, Tholkappiyar Sadukkam, Chandeeswara shrine, Saraswati Mahal Library, the Schwartz Church, Rajarajan Mani Mandapam, and Airvateswara temple.

Travelling to Thanjavur by car is possible
  • Itineraries for Chennai to Thanjavur trips
  • NH 38 connects Chennai and Thanjavur, a distance of 343kilometress. Thanjavur can be reached in 6 hours, 30 minutes, or less if you rent a sterilized self-drive automobile from Taxida
  • Bangalore to Thanjavur Day Trips and Return Trips
  • The route from Bangalore to Thanjavur via NH 44 and NH 38 is 431.8 kilometres. You can get to Thanjavur in 9 hours if you hire a self-driven sanitized car from Taxida.
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Brihadeshwara Temple:

This South Indian temple, Peruvudaiyar Kovil, may be found in Thanjavur, the capital of Tamil Nadu. Brihadeeswarar Temple, Rajarajeswaram, and RajaRajeshwara Temple are some of the more prevalent names for this Hindu temple. This temple, built by Raja Raja Chola I, is a stunning example of Tamil architecture at its finest. The Great Ancient Chola Temples are a World Heritage Site and one of India's greatest architectural wonders.

It is one of the country's most cherished possessions and is protected by a 16th-century walled enclosure. Known as Vimana, the temple's tallest tower at 66 meters that's one of the world's tallest. A single stone carving is said to form the temple's apex, known as the Kumbam, Chikharam, or Kalasha.

The Nandi bull monument at the temple's entryway is another single rock carving. The sacred bull temple is 13 feet high & 6 feet long. Granite is used to building the temple's structure. The 'Big Temple,' built in 1010 AD by Raja Raja Chola I, celebrated its 1000th anniversary in 2010 and is known as the 'Big Temple.'

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Sacred Spaces

Because it is on the riverbank that feeds into an artificial canal around the temple complex, it appears to be a fortification. In addition to the main temple, there are other buildings in the complex. Five-storey gopuram is the main entrance to the complex, while a smaller gopuram leads directly to the quadrangle. In the centre of the quadrangle lies a gigantic Shikhara, which is hollow from the inside and is 60 meters tall. Piers, connected columns, and pilasters cover the entire shikhara. As is customary in Dravidian construction, the entrance gopuram is shorter than the Vimana and stands at a height of 30 meters.

The outer perimeter of the first rectangular barrier that surrounds the principal buildings is 270 m by 140 m. Nandi bull statue, pillared hall, assembly hall, and other lesser shrines make up the wide quadrangle that encompasses the main temple. Bays and recesses were created by sculptures with sharp pilasters in the inner mandapa, which was encased in enormous walls. One bay on each side of the sanctuary highlights the most important cult symbols. The innermost sanctum, which houses the idol of the principal deity, Lord Shiva, is the primary emphasis. Another feature is a large stone Linga. This compartment is only accessible to priests.

Awe-inspiring artwork decorates the Garbgriha's entrance. The Lord's idol sits atop a pedestal inside this plaza Garbgriha in the chamber. One microcosm of the universe is represented by the site of the idol in question. Away from Raja the Great's Irumudi-Soran hall, the royal bathing hall may be found on the east side of the building. The Garbgriha has a circumambulation area that is open to everyone, not just priests. A route from the inner mandapa goes to a rectangle-shaped mandapa with a 20-columned portico and three stairs that descend to a little open mandapa, which has the sculpture of the Nandi bull, the Lord's vehicle.

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Goddesses who reside in the Temple

Lord Shiva is the primary deity of the Brihadeeswarar Temple. Dakshinamurthy, Chandra, and Surya have large idols atop Koshta Moorthigal (the outer wall), and they are known to be one step lower than the other deities. The Ashtadikpaalakas (Guardians of directions) — Indra, Agni, Nirrti, Varuna, Kubera, Isana, Yama, and Vayu – are depicted in this temple. Each character gets a 6-foot-tall statue of themselves and a representation of themselves. Each of these statues is housed in its temple, facing the appropriate direction.

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The complex region of the temple is marked by the outer wall, which is higher than the inner wall. Gopuram of a huge gateway is right here. One portico and a 400-pillared barrel-vaulted Gopuram are located between these two walls, and a tall wall surrounds it, forming a line of huge Gopurams leading up to the main temple.


Chola frescos adorn the walls surrounding the sanctum sanctorum, depicting Lord Shiva in various deeds such as dancing, sending a white elephant to transport a devotee to paradise, and destroying demon forts. People learned about Saint Sundarar and Chera King's ascension to heaven, as well as the epic fight between Shiva (Tripurantaka) and the Asuras, thanks to the discovery of these murals (demons). Asura ladies are depicted as attractive in these Chola artworks, which is an incredible trait.

As a result of constant exposure to smoke from incense burning and centuries-old maps, the paintings on hallway walls and in the sanctum sanctorum have been damaged. The kings of Tanjore Nayak replaced a few of the Chola murals over 400 years ago. the original de-stucco procedure was employed by the Archaeological Survey of India for the first time with the restoration of 16 Nayak paintings, which have been gathered and stored separately over fiberglass boards ever since.

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A visit to Thanjavur is not complete unless you pay homage to the deity Brihadishwara at the Brihadishwara temple.

But then your trip cannot be stopped just at Brihadishwara temple few other great spots to visit in Tanjore is

  1. Thanjavur Royal Palace
  2. Airavateshwara Temple
  3. Gangaikonda Temple
  4. The Seforji Sarasvati Mahal Library
  5. Thirumananjeri Temple
Thanjavur Royal Palace:

Located inside the walls of the Vijaynagara Fort complex, this palace was once the official place of abode for the Nayak kings. There are a number of interesting locations inside the palace that are well worth seeing, such as the Nayak Hall, the Saraswati Mahal library, and the durbar hall. The artifacts that were collected from the ancient Chola kingdom are kept in the Nayak Hall. It is reported that the Marathas were responsible for the construction of the durbar hall, which features a throne canopy adorned with mirror work. When in Thanjavur, you simply must pay a visit to this location!

Airavateshwara Temple:

One of many Shiva temples in Thanjavur is the Airavateswara temple, which can be found in Darasuram. According to the local legend, the white elephant of Lord Shiva, who is also known as Airavata, idolized Lord Shiva in this temple in order to rid himself of a curse that had been placed on him by Sage Durvasa. In addition, legend has it that Yama, the god of the afterlife, paid homage to Shiva at this location. This temple, along with all the other Chola temples found in Thanjavur, is regarded as one of the most important Chola temples still in existence.

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The Gangaikonda temple

The Gangaikonda temple is yet another example of the wonderful temple sculptures that can be found in Thanjavur. The architectural splendour of Thanjavur is not limited to this one location. UNESCO has deemed this location to be worthy of inclusion on its list of World Heritage Sites. It is estimated that the temple is around a thousand years old, and it is widely recognized as an essential component of Tamil history.

The Seforji Sarasvati Mahal Library

Positioned within the confines of the palace compound as a whole. This Seforji Sarasvati Mahal Library is indeed a museum that has gained a lot of notoriety over the years due to the fact that it is the repository of a significant number of ancient artifacts and manuscripts. The paintings are of outstanding quality, and they convey to the visitor a sense of what life was like in the medieval period. Everyone who has an interest in history absolutely ought to go there!

Thirumananjeri temple

Thirumananjeri temple is well-liked by Tamil people because of its reputation for granting the wishes and blessings that are sought here. One such want is a happy marriage. The beautiful carvings of divinities that can be found on the temple's walls are just one more indication of the incredible architecture and design found in this building.

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When a vow is taken here, once it has been accomplished, the person who took the vow is required to return to the temple with their spouse in order to seek blessings. Visitors interested in spirituality shouldn't leave without paying their respects at this well-liked by the Tamil people because of its reputation for granting the wishes and blessings that are sought here.

One such want is a happy marriage. The beautiful carvings of divinities that can be found on the temple's walls are just one more indication of the incredible architecture and design found in this building. When a vow is taken here, once it has been accomplished, the person who took the vow is required to return to the temple with their spouse in order to seek blessings. Visitors interested in spirituality shouldn't leave without paying their respects at this temple.

The city of Thanjavur is known as the city of temples and is home to many stunning specimens of excellent ancient architecture. Thanjavur is the location to go on vacation if you want to learn something new while you explore the past, so if this culture is for the better to you, keep reading.

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