Thanjavur one of the 32 Districts of Tamilnadu, is popularly known as the Delta area and the Rice Bowl of Tamilnadu. It is believed that Thanjavur derived its name from Mythical Demon Tanjan. Thanjavur is 350 Kms from the State Capital Chennai. This district is a treasure house of Religion, Art and Architecture. There isn’t any clear information about the history of the earlier Thanjavur. As per the earliest sources of information , the Medivial Cholas ruled and developed their empire between the 9th and 14th centuries, with Thanjavur as their Capital. Raja Raja Cholan was the prominent ruler amongst the Chola emperors . Thereafter, Pandiyas, Nayaks of Madurai, Thanjavur and the Marattahs have ruled this region. The cultural, Architectural and the scholarly pursuits of these rulers are reflected in the form of great monuments like Grand Anaicut, Big Temple and Serfoji Mahal Library [now called as Saraswathy Mahal Library] and so on. Many Temples of Thanjavur termed as “Great Living Chola Temples”, have been classified as the World Heritage Monuments by the UNESCO.
Thanjavur district has a population of 24,05,890 [2011 census]. The Municipal Corporation has a population of 2,22,943 [2011 census]. Roadways and Rail Connectivity are the major means of transportation. The nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli Airport 56 Kms from here. Karaikal Port, 95 Kms away is the nearest seaport.
By Air : The Nearest Airport is Tiruchirappalli Airport 60 kms & Pondicherry Airport 178 kms
By Rail : The Nearest Railway Station is Thanjavur Junction (TJ)
By Road : You can easily get regular buses to Thanjavur from other major cities of the country.
Art Gallery : The Thanjavur Art Gallery was established in 1951 and the huge building along with the art gallery also encompasses the Saraswati Mahal Library and the Sangeetha Sabha or Music Hall. The art gallery has fabulous collection in bronze icons. The Stone Sculptures are unique and of priceless quality. The art gallery is divided into three sections; Pooja Mahal, Indira Mandir and Rama Chowdam Hall, the private audience hall during the rule of the Nayaks. There is a display of a selection of glass painting of Thanjavur, covered with gold sheets, pearls and other gem stones that were a part of the royal patronage.
Saraswathi Mahal Library : Library was established in the 16th century by the Nayak Kings and exhibits unparalleled repository of cultural antiques and inexhaustible treasure house of knowledge Developed by successive dynasties. The Thanjavur Maharaja Serfoji’s Saraswathi Mahal Library is one among the few medieval libraries that exists in the world. It contains a rare and valuable collection of manuscripts, books, maps and paintings of all aspects of Art, Culture and Literature. The Encyclopaedia Britanica in its survey of the Libraries of the world mentions and recognized this library as “the most remarkable Library in India”. There is a small museum in the Library complex. Since 1918, the Government has made it a Public Library. Now, Both the Central Government and the State Government of Tamil Nadu maintain this Library.
The Palace : It is just 1 km from the Big Temple. Little fort and Big fort are the two forts in this town. The Thanjavur Palace is situated in the Big Fort. This fort was raised by the Vijayaraghava Nayak dynasty in a sprawling 110 acre area. The Palace complex houses the temple of Lord Chandra Mauleeswara. It is a grand pile of fascinating buildings with huge corridors, spacious halls and decorated rooms. Important structures are : The Arsenal Tower, Bell Tower and Darbar Hall. Arsenal Tower 190 ft tall with eight floors was constructed during Marathas rule. It was used for storing Arms and Ammunition and also served as a watch tower. Bell tower is situated on the Northwestern side of Arsenal Tower. It is also called as “The wide holed ear pavilion”. There was a novel clock forming a part of this structure in which a monkey doll used to strike the gong every hour.
Royal Museum & Serforji Memorial Hall : It is Located in the Palace Complex. It displays rare antiques possessed by Maratha Royal Family, Manuscripts, weapons, royal robes and other handicrafts made out of ivory, jade, lacquer, glass, porcelain, wood arts displays in this museum are worth viewing.
Raja Rajan Mani Mandapam : It is in the Southern Part of Thanjavur. It was built during the 8th World Tamil Conference.
Schwartz Church : It is Located within the Palace Garden. Rajah Serfoji as token of his affection built this church in 1779 A.D. for Rev. C.V.Schwarts of the Danish Missionary. Formerly it was Prayer Hall for the British Military.
Maratha Durbar Hall : Its huge pillars, beautiful stucco painted ceiling eye catching.
Visit Brihadeeshwara Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Garbarakshambigai Temple, The Serfoji Sarasvati Mahal Library