(Last Updated on : 02/02/2009)
Thanjavur is an old city of Tamil Nadu. It is famous for its various temples, libraries and art galleries. Some of them are given here:
The Brahadeeswara Temple
The Big temple of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu is also known as the Brahadeeswara temple. This temple was built by the Great Rajaraja I the nonpareil of the later Chola dynasty. The temple was built with the marvel of Dravidian art and architecture. One needs several days to go round to enjoy inch by inch of that architectural beauty.
The Big temple of Thanjavur has a Lingam in the sanctum of 3.70m height. The huge bull (Nandi) in the outer courtyard is monolithic 3.70m high, 6m long and 2.50m wide. It is the handiwork of the Vijayanagar rulers. It is the second largest in India, the first being the one at the Lepakshi temple in Andhra Pradesh.
This is the earliest image of Kali in Potters Street 1.6 km to the east of the Big Temple. Here, the image of the presiding deity is five feet tall wearing a garland of skulls, a snake covering her breasts. Her teeth are protruded and in unbearable wrath trampling the two demons Chandan and Mundan. This image was installed by Vijayalaya Chola to commemorate his victory over the Mutharayas which enabled him to found the later Chola kingdom.
The Palace of Thanjavur
The palace of Thanjavur is not far from the Big temple. The palace with vast labyrinthian buildings, enormous corridors, big halls, watch-towers, moat, fort and courtyards lie in the heart of the city. The Nayaka rulers built the palace around 1550 A.D. and subsequently renovated and enlarged by the Maratha rulers of Thanjavur. Some portion of the palace of Thanjavur is now in ruins but much of it is still in its original beauty. Inside the palace, some government offices are present now. It also contains an art gallery, a library, the hall of music, the audience hall and even today in a portion lives the present legal heirs of the Thanjavur Marathas.
The Rajaraja Chola Art Gallery of Thanjavur
This art gallery can be seen inside the palace. It has a beautiful collection of granite and bronze idols from the 9th to the 12th centuries. The fine pieces of workmanship of Chola art are also present here. Most of them were brought from the temples in and around Thanjavur and preserved here.
The Saraswathi Mahal Library of Thanjavur
This library is situated inside the palace of Thanjavur. The Maratha kings who ruled Thanjavur, established this library in 1700 A.D. There are over 30,000 palm leaf and paper manuscripts in this library. Here, one can see books of both Indian languages and European languages. In one section on the walls are displayed pictures of Chinese torture of prisoners.
Sangeetha Mahal of Thanjavur
This is also situated inside the Thanjavur palace. It is a specimen of sound proof and acoustically perfect music hall. It is tastefully decorated with fine etchings.
Church of Thanjavur
The palace of Thanjavur also contains a church on the eastern side. It is called Schewartz Church and Raja Serfoji built it in 1779 A.D in honour of revered Schewartz of Denmark.
Royal Museum of Thanjavur
This is another museum in the palace complex. It is very interesting to see. A good collection of manuscripts, weapons, dresses, utensils and musical instruments used by the members of the royal family of Thanjavur can be seen here.
Rajagopala Beerangi in Thanjavur
This big Beerangi (cannon) is situated on the eastern fortification of the fort. It is called Beerangi Medu or Dasmedu.
Sharja Madi of Thanjavur
This is a storeyed building opened for tourists to have a panoramic view of Thanjavur city. It is also seen located in the palace complex. There are beautiful wooden carvings and sculptures inside the Sharja Madi.
It was built during the 8th World Tamil Conference. A small garden with children's play materials in it can be seen here.
Rajarajan Museum of Thanjavur
It is situated in the ground floor of the Manimandapam. The State Archaeological Department controls this museum and it contains interesting exhibits, charts, maps etc. on the history of the Chola Empire.
Tolkappiyar Sadukkam of Thanjavur
This Sadukkam (square) was built to commemorate the memory of the ancient grammarian Tolkappiyar during the 8th World Tamil Conference. He was the author of Tolkappiyam, the oldest Tamil grammar available now in full form in print. One can have a panoramic view of Thanjavur from this tower.
Sivaganga Park of Thanjavur
It is a beautifully laid-out park with a tank known for its sweet water and children's play materials are also kept there.
Tamil University of Thanjavur
It was established in 1981. This University specializes in research and advanced study of the Tamil language. It is 7 km away and located in a vast area with beautiful buildings. It has a very good library with a good collection of English and Tamil books, which is functioning in the University complex.