Thanjavur formerly known as Tanjore is a municipality and the headquarters of the Thanjavur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The name Thanjavur is derived from "Tanjan", a legendary asura in Hindu tradition. Thanjavur is situated in the Cauvery delta, at a distance of around 314 km, south-west of Chennai and 56 km, east of Tiruchirappalli. Most of Thanjavur district is a level plain watered by the river Kaveri and tributaries. The nearest seaport around the temple is Nagapattinam which is 84 kilometres (52 mi) east of Thanjavur. The nearest airport is at Tiruchirappalli.
Video - In and Around Tanjavur Big Tample
Who built the temple and when
Thanjavur temple was constructed by Raja Raja Cholan in the years 1003-1010 A.D and the type of construction is antique. Thanjavur temple area is around 29.24 square.kms. The Cholas came once more into prominence through the rise of the chivalric Chola monarch Vijayalaya in about 850 CE. The Vijayalaya made Thanjavur his capital and built a temple to the Hindu goddess Nisumbhasudani at this place. Vijayalaya, son of Aditya I consolidated their hold over the city.
The king of Krishna II Rashtrakuta, a contemporary of the Chola king Parantaka I claims to have conquered Thanjavur but there exists no evidence to support his claim. Gradually Thanjavur became the greatest and most important city in the Chola Empire and remained its capital till the construction of Gangaikonda Cholapuram in about 1025 CE.
Thanjavur is one of the ancient cities in India and has a long and varied history dating back to the Sangam period. The city rose to prominence during the rule of the Later Cholas when it served as the capital of the Chola empire. After the fall of the Cholas, the city was ruled by various dynasties like Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks, Thanjavur Marathas and British. It has been a part of independent India since 1947.
Significance of the temple
Thanjavur is known to be an important center of South Indian art and architecture. Most of the Great Living Chola Temples which are UNESCO World Heritage Monuments are located in and around the place of Thanjavur. The foremost among the Great Living Chola temples, the Brihadeeswara Temple is located in the center of the city. The name of place Thanjavur is knwon to have been derived from the word “Tanjan", an asura in Hindu myth, who is believed to have been killed at this spot by the Hindu god Vishnu.Also the name is believed to have been derived from Than-sei-oor, it means the place is surrounded by rivers and green paddy fields. The name also may have came from the word asylum (Thanjam) as the Chola king Karikalan had to shift the capital as sea inundated their capital city of Poompuhar.
Thanjavur is also known as the home of the Tanjore painting, a painting style unique to the region. The city is an important agricultural center located at the heart of the region, known as the Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu. The South Zone Culture Centre in Thanjavur is one of many regional cultural centres established by the Indian Government to preserve and promote traditional cultural heritage of India.
Thanjavur is also famous for its distinctive art style, which is usually a combination of raised and painted surfaces. Krishna is the most popular of the Gods depicted. This place is also well known for weaving silk sarees. Around Thanjavur there are numerous and enormous Chola Temples- mainly Thiruvaiyaru, Dharasuram near Kumbakonam and Gangaikonda Cholapuram. The Cholas also had a hand in building the enormous temple complex at Sri Rangam near Tiruchirapalli- probably India's largest.
Time to visit
The devotees can visit the Thanjavur temple throughout the year but the best time is winter as summers are very hot over here.
Thanjavur has as many as 74 temples but the most superb is the Sri Brihadeswara temple.
Thanjavur palace which is a fifteen minute walk from the temple is also worth visiting.
The Poompuhar handicrafts is the famed shopping place here and the Tamil University, set up recently is situated here and is devoted to the growth Tamil literature and language.Brihadisvara temple is the only high-rise building in the town rising up by 14 storeys and 216 feet. It is also called the Brihadisvara.
There is the Thanjavur Art gallery for its splendid statues in sculpture and stone, which date back to the 9th to the 12th centuries.
Few temples which are located near the Thanjavur temple are Gangaikondacholapuram temple, Nageswaraswami Temple and the Airavateswara Temple, Panchanatheswara temple(which has been dedicated to Lord Shiva ) A visit to all these temples is mandatory to complete the trip to Thanjavur.
Around 13.5 kilometers nearby to the place of Thanjavur is Thiruvaiyaru associated with saint Thyagaraja.
The visitors can also visit kaleidoscopic Kumbakonam that is at a distance of 36 km from Thanjavur temple and the few places here display the semi erotic sculptures at the Sarangapani, Nageswara, Kumbeswarar, and Ramaswamy temples which really attract many visitors. Kumbakonam is the venue of the magnificent Mahamaham festival that is celebrated once in every twelve years. The last festival was celebrated in the year 1992 and the next expected is to be in the year 2014.
Accommodation facilities at the Temple
At Thanjavur accommodation is easily available. There are number of hotels that offer comfort stay for the various travelers to Thanjavur and suit every pocket. Clean and delicious food is available at reasonable rates.
How to reach the temple
Through Airways - Through AIR, Thanjavur is easily accessible from other cities of India. In terms of air transport the Tiruchirapalli airport is about 58 kms away from Thanjavur and is the nearest.
Through Railways- Through RAIL, Thanjavur is directly connected with Trichy, Madurai, Nagore, and Chennai by rail. The excellent road network links Thanjavur with the major towns in Tamil Nadu and the neighbouring states of Kerala and Karnataka. Get going to the terrific destination of Thanjavur.
Through Roadways-Through Road the visitors can get clean and efficient express buses from Thanjavur go all over the state. Local transport is available in the forms of three wheelers (auto rickshaws), cycle rickshaws and taxis. From Trichy, Thanjavur is easily reachable by road. Thanjavur is also well connected by road to all the major towns in the state.