(Last Updated on : 06/05/2014)
Temples of Thanjavur District in Tail Nadu reflect the marvellous art of the Cholas, Nayaks and the Mahrattas. Thanjavur was the royal district and it derived its name from Tanjan-an asura (giant), who according to local legend devastated the neighbourhood and was killed by Sri Anandavalli Amman and Vishnu, Sri Neelamegapperumal.
There are several temples of Thanjavur District locate in different parts of the district. Bragatheeswarar Temple was build by the Great Chola kings. Also known as Big Temple, it's an example for the Indian sculptural architecture greatness. This temple is surrounded by moat on two sides and Grand Anaicut River on the other side and the stupa at the top is made of bronze. The walls of the sanctum are covered, with the wall paintings of Chola and Nayak periods, similar to the famous Ajanta cave frescoes. The gigantic statue of Nandi, the Bull guards the inner shrine of the temple.
Puliyur Vyagrapureeswarar Temple and Sikkal Singaravelavar Temple are the two premier temples of Thanjavur District. The former one is also referred as Dhakshina Chidambaram. The latter temple bears the evidences of ancient history saying that here only Lord Murugan got the 'Sakthi Vel' from Parvathi and killed Suran. This temple is one of the few temples of Thanjavur District, which has both Siva and Vishnu in the same campus. The 'Vel vankuthal' festival in the Tamil month of Iyappasi is very famous here.
Sirkazhi is one of the most visited temples of Thanjavur District, where Goddess Parvathi gave Gnana milk to Thirugnana Sambandar, when he was a child. Lord Shiva as Thoniappar resides in a thoni (boat). The boat symbolizes that Thoniappar helps people cross their sea of birth. The famous Thirumulaippal Utsav is held every year during Thiruvadirai Nakshatra of Chiithirai month. Swamimalai is another temple of Thanjavur District, which is one of the six abodes (Arupadaiveedu) dedicated to Lord Murugan. Lord Murugan preached Pranava mantra "OM" to Lord Shiva and that why he is called Swaminathan. The 60 steps to the temple specify the 60 years of the Tamil calendar.
Thirubuvanam, Thiruvaiyaru, Thiruvarur and Vaitheeswaran Kovil are some of the eminent temples of Thanjavur District. Vaitheeswaran literally means the divine provider of cures; this temple is adorned with imposing towers called the Mandapams and pillars. It is an ancient temple dedicated to Shiva and this shrine is also referred to as an Angarakasthalam. The temples of Thanjavur District are widely known in south India for their ancient traits and historical aspects.