States of India
Thanjavur was the ancient capital of the Chola kings whose origins, go back to the beginning of the Christian era. Power struggles between these groups were a constant feature of their early history, with one or other gaining the ascendancy at various times. The Cholas' turn for empire building came between 850 and 1270 AD and , at the height of their power. Probably the greatest chola emperors were Raja Raja who was responsible for building the Brihadishwara Temple ( Thanjavur main attraction ) and his son Rajendra-I whose navy competed with the Arabs for controls of the Indian Ocean trade routes and who was responsible for bringing Srivijaya under Chola control.
Places To See :
Brihadeshwara Temple & Fort
Built by great Chola king in the 10th century it is an outstanding example of Chola architecture and is listed in world heritage. On the top of the apex of 63 metres high, a dome is said to be constructed from a single piece of granite, weighing an estimated 81 tones. The dome was hauled into place along a 6 km earthwork ramp in a manner similar to the one used by the Egyptian Pyramids. The temple has been the sense of continuous worship for over thousand years. Only Hindus are allowed inside.
Thanjavur Palace & Museum
The palace near the temple is a vast building of masonry built by the Nayakas around 1550 and partly by the Maratha. Two of the palace towers, the Armoury and the observation tower are visible from all parts of the city. The palace houses an art gallery, a library and a hall of music.
The art gallery occupies the Nayak Durbar Hall. It has a superb collection of Chola bronze statues from the 9th to 12th centuries. The Saraswati mahal Library is next door to the gallery. Over 30,000 Indian and European manuscripts written on palm leaves and paper are preserved in the Saraswati Mahal Library.
Travel Information :
By Air : The nearest airport , Tiruchirappalli, is about 58 km away and is connected by Indian Airlines and Air Lanka with Colombo. Indian Airlines also connects Trichy with Madras and Madurai daily.
By Rail : Thanjavur is well connected by rail with Trichy , Madurai, Nagore, Tirupati, Rameshwaram and madras directly.
By Road : Thanjavur is served by a good road system connected to all the major cities of the country.
Local Transport :
Regular bus service connects all places of interest in and around Thanjavur. Tourist taxis, autorickshaws and cycle rickshaws are also available.