Some of the important tourist sites in Thanjavur are:
The Brihadeeswara Temple or Brahadeeshwarar Temple of Thanjavur was built by Rajaraja Chola. It is unarguably one of the best temples in South India and the dynasty’s finest contribution to the Dravidian temple architecture. Literally meaning the “Big Temple”, the construction of the Brihadeeswara Temple is unique. The usual South Indian temple has a tall gopuram (dome surmounting the gateway) and a smaller vimana (tower crowning the innermost sanctum), whereas the Brihadeeswara temple has a soaring vimana and a stunted gopuram.
The royal Thanjavur Palace near the temple is a massive building with vast corridors, large halls, shady courtyards, observation and arsenal towers. It was built by the Nayaks in the mid-16th century and later completed by the Marathas. Because of prolonged neglect, it is partly in ruins now. Only the Durbar Hall retains the grandeur of a bygone era. You can climb the towers for a view of the town and one of the towers even has a whale skeleton on display. Interestingly, the entrance is through a wide break in the eastern wall that leads past a school and police station.
The Royal Museum houses a diverse collection of royal remnants. These include compilations dating from the early 19th century when Serfoji II ruled this region. You can see the king’s slippers, headdresses and hunting weapons and accessories.
The Art Gallery at the Nayaka Durbar Hall has a rich collection of 250 Chola bronze statues and 150 stone statues from the 9th to 12th centuries. There are the Bhairava, Umasahita Shiva, Kali and the Rama Lakshmana groups of statues.
The Saraswati Mahal Library is next to the art gallery. Built around AD 1700, its collection comprise of 30,000 palm leaf and paper manuscripts in Indian and European languages. The library is closed to the public. However, you can visit the adjoining museum as it has some very interesting exhibits like the entire range of the Ramayana written on palm leaf to explicit prints of prisoners under Chinese torture.
The renowned Thyagaraja Aradhana Musical Festival is held at Thiruvaiyaru, 13 km from Thanjavur, in the month of January. Illustrious artistes from all over India come to demonstrate their excellence during the festival.
Pongal is celebrated in Thanjavur on first four days of the Thai month (mid-January to mid-February). The festival is held to mark the successful completion of the annual harvest.
So all set for the trip to Thanjavur? As an experienced travel agent for Thanjavur we can take care of your entire trip from tour planning, air booking, railway reservation to car rentals and hotel bookings.