Thanjavur - The City Of Temples:- Also known as Tanjore or the city of temples, Thanjavur is a city in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It has a lot of cultural value and is known for its famous Tanjore paintings, antiques and handicrafts, textiles and saris, its Carnatic music and musical instruments and of course the temples.
A rich historical heritage, Thanjavur holds a very important place in the molding of ancient as well modern south Indian civilization. Being of religious importance, this place is a must for all pilgrims. There are many religious places in and around the district. Siva Ganga Garden, Art Gallery, Palace and Saraswathi Mahal Library, Sangeetha Mahal are the main tourist attractions. This is a place where you can constantly witness the magnificent and dynamic cultures of the past and present breathing life into and living in the everyday, giving the area a unique and glorious identity.
Anyone wanting to witness the rich cultural heritage of the country, to roam the streets displaying beautiful handicraft and artwork, and to visit temple portraying people's believes and faith, Thanjavur might just be perfect for your next travel plan.
With some beautiful temples in the town, showcasing intricacies of architectural intelligence and depicting the masterpieces the building are, Thanjavur is a treat to the eyes for everyone looking forward to visiting the city. Most of the temples in the city are associated with the worship of Lord Shiva, and their history dates back to the days when the region was ruled by the rulers of the Chola Kingdom. Each of the temples has stories associated with their origin, which is still recited in the form of folklore by the native inhabitants of Thanjevur. A few of these temples, including Brahadeeswara and Gangaikonda temple, have also been declared as world's heritage site, providing the visitors with a few more reasons to plan a trip to this place.
- Best Time To Visit - October - March
How To Reach Thanjavur
The major nearest city to Thanjavur is Tiruchirapalli, which is both the nearest International Airport and the railway station. The overall connectivity to Thanjavur, it being an important tourism centre, is convenient. Regular mode of transport from all major nearby cities are available to be boarded by tourist planning a trip to the city.
- By Air - The nearest airport to the city of Thanjevur is the Tiruchirapalli International Airport, or popularly known as Trichy, located at a time distance of 1 hour. Regular taxis and a few bus services run between the two cities, making the travel comfortable and hassle free.
Nearest Airport: Madurai Airport (IXM) - 155 kms from Thanjevur
- By Road - The road network to Thanjevur is pretty much well developed, with the roads connecting the city to major nearby cities and towns like Bengaluru, Chennai, Madurai, Bhubaneshwar, Coimbatore and Tiruchirapalli. Regular private and state-run bus services are also available for one's convenience. One can also drive their way through Thanjevur or book a private taxi according to their liking.
- By Train - Tiruchirapalli also acts as the nearest major railhead to the city of Thanjevur. Trains from all nearby major cities, like Coimbatore, Rameshwaram, Chennai, Kanyakumari, Salem, and Madurai, are connected to Tiruchirapalli by means of railways. Board any one of these to reach Trichy and then book a taxi for an hour long drive to Thanjevur.
- By Water - Chennai port is the nearest major port to the city of Thanjavur. Majorly known for the export and import of goods, the port also deals with a few passenger liners from nearby countries and a few areas. If one wishes to travel by waterway, they can board one of these passenger ships to enjoy the sea and reach Chennai, after which buses/taxi can be taken to make it to Thanjavur.
Commuting Within Thanjavur
Auto rickshaw, tourist cabs, cycle rickshaws are available.
Top Places To Visit In Thanjavur
1) Brihadeshwara Temple
The biggest attraction of Thanjavur - The Brihadeshwara Temple, also known as the Big Temple. Built during the reign of the Great Chola emperor, Raja Raja Chola, this temple is an architectural marvel.
Protected by deep trenches on either sides and the Grand Anaicut River running through another, this temple is a favorite among the pilgrims. The shrine itself is a 216 feet structure. The sanctum is dotted with paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods. The statue of Nandi the Bull welcomes at the entrance.
2) Vijayanagar Fort
This famous tourist spot is located nearly 2 km from the Brahadeeswara temple. This majestic fort was built by Nayaks and partly by Maratha rulers during the early 1550 AD.
One can find the Tanjore Palace, Sangeetha Mahal, Library inside the fort and an exquisite art gallery, that includes many sculptures and paintings. The Shiva Ganga Gardens are also a part of the complex. Though the fort is mostly in ruins, it still echoes its strength and grandeur it must have once possessed.
3) Gangaikonda Cholapuram
A place which is testimony to the architectural and engineering genius of the region and the pride of one of the greatest empires of India - Chola Empire, Gangaikonda Cholapuram is a place worth exploring.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram was the capital city of the Chola Empire for more than two centuries. The town was built by the Chola King Rajendra in order to commemorate his victory over the Pala Dynasty. Today the great historical city is nothing but a small village with the Lord Siva temple as the symbol of the grandeur of its once glorious path. Gangaikonda Cholapuram is a great place to explore and unfold its heritage, grandeur.
- Best Time To Visit Gangaikonda Cholapuram
The best time to visit is from November till January as the weather is very pleasant for outdoor sightseeing, with very low humidity.
- How to Reach Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Air: Nearest airport is at Neyveli which is 43 km from Gangaikonda Cholapuram. And is well connected by buses and taxi.
Rail: Nearest rail head is the Kutralam Railway Junction which is 19 km from the village. One can hail an auto or cab from the railway station till the village.
Road: Gangaikonda Cholapuram lies on NH 227 from Chidambaram till Trichy and is well connected to other parts of the state by buses and roads.
Where to Stay
Trichy which is 71 km from Gangaikonda Cholapuram is the best place to find a suitable accommodation. It is well connected to the village and also has hotels for all budget sizes.
Sightseeing in Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Brihadishwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is the only sight worth exploring in the small village.
Take a half day trip from Trichy to Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Do not miss the Brihadishwara Temple here.
Carry water bottle, packed lunch as not many shops and restaurants are available there. Also wear light clothes.
- Open Time : Day time
4) Shiva Ganga Garden
This garden lies within the Vijayanagar Fort and is open to the public. This garden is very well maintained and hence a pleasure to visit. A square tank is located in the Siva Ganga Garden built by the 16th century rulers for providing water to the Tanjore Palace is still in use and is well known for its sweet tasting water.
5) Aalangudi Temple
This temple is believed to be the abode of the Lord Guru. According to legend, Lord Shiva consumed the deadly poison Alavisham in this place and hence the name Aalangudi.
In this temple the deity faces the South direction as he is the Lord of Dhanusu and Meena Rasi. Thursday is considered to be the most auspicious day here and there special offerings to the Lord on this day. Guru Payirchi, Chitra Pournami, Tai Poosam and Panguni Utharam are the major festivals celebrated here.
6) Other Temples
The cities of south are famous majorly for their temples. In this area too, the city is dominated by places of worship. Apart from the temples mentioned above, other famous temples are the Lord Murugan Temple, Sani Bhagwan Temple, Thirumananjeri Temple, Thirunageshwaram Temple and many more.