When you visit Tanjore, the image of a city who was at the architectural zenith of southern India conjures up in your mind. The towering temples and the luxurious forts of Tanjore paint a resplendent picture of the mighty Chola Empire. There are many famous tourist attractions in Tanjore where you can experience the rich cultural heritage of the bygone era. There are many religious places and other tourist attractions where one can witness the magnificent and dynamic culture.
Lord Brihadeshwara temple
Also known as the big temple in Thanjavur, the temple celebrated its 1000th birthday in 2010. One of the most important places to visit in Thanjavur and the oldest temples in India. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva was built by Raja Chola I, who was an influential Chola ruler.
The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Chandramouleshwara which is a form of Lord Shiva. The temple consists of a huge idol of Nandi which is 12.5 feet tall and 8 feet long, the peculiarity about this idol is that it is made from a single Rock and weighs around 25 tons. The architectural ingenuity of the Chola architecture can be imagined from the fact that the shadow of the temple's cupola does not fall on the ground.
This temple is located at a distance of 2 km from the Lord Brihadeshwara Temple and it was built during the early 1550 AD by the Nayaks and partly by the Maratha rulers. The Vijayanagar Fort accommodates Sangeetha Mahal, Tanjore Palace, Library and an exquisite gallery. The Shiv Ganga Temple is also a part of the fort. The fort is left in ruins but still one can experience the glory of the bygone era.
Thanjavur Art Gallery
Established in 1951, this huge building consists of the Saraswati Mahal Library and the Sangeetha Sabha or music hall along with the Thanjavur Art Gallery. A fabulous collection of bronze statues and stone sculptures awaits to enthrall you in this Thanjavur Art Gallery. Divided into three sections namely Puja Mahal, Indira Mandir, and Rama Chowdam Hall. The art gallery consists of an exquisite collection of glass paintings of Thanjavur that are covered in gemstones and gold sheets and are a part of the royal patronage.
Recognized by the encyclopedia Britannica as the most remarkable library in India, the Saraswati Mahal Library is a public library established in the 16th century by the Nayak Kings.
Shiva Ganga Tank
This millennium-old water tank still holds water and has a moat surrounding it. Located on the North-Western side of the Brihadeshwara Temple, the tank had underground channels and served as the main source of water for Tanjore.
Another famous Thanjavur tourist attraction is the Airavatesvara Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva while Airavat was the white elephant of Lord Indra worshipped at this Temple to get himself rid of the curse given to him by Rishi Durvasa. Another legend goes that Yama, The Lord of death also worshipped Shiva here.
One of the most important temples in the region, the Airavatesvara Temple is another exquisite example of Chola architecture.
Gangai Konda Temple
One of the most important Thanjavur tourist places is the Gangai Konda Temple. A UNESCO world heritage site, Gangai Konda Temple is another important Chola Temple located in Thanjavur. One of the most inspiring living Chola Temple, Gangai Konda Temple was established more than 1000 years ago by Chola Kings.
A visit to Tanjore will fill your mind with joy and ecstasy as you take in the architectural beauty of several exquisite Chola monuments in this small town.