Thanjavur Places of Interest

Thanjavur Big Temple

thanjavur temple

  1. The greatest of Chola emperors Rajaraja-I (985 A.D - 1012 A.D) the son of Sundara Chola (Parantakaa-II) and Vanavanmahadevi built this magnificent temple named Brihadisvaram at Thanjavur - the capital of Chola dynasty.

  2. From the epigraphical evidence it is known about Rajaraja-I started building this temple on his 19th year and completed on 275th day of his 25th year. It took just 6 years to complete this work on 1010 A.D.

  3. The Big temple of Thanjavur was called as Rajarajeeswaram, abode of the Lord of Rajaraja Chola or the Temple for Lord Iswara built by Raja Raja Chola the great.

  4. Temple is surrounded by moat on two sides and Grand Anaicut river on the other side. This temple is unique to have the tallest tower over the sanctum sanctorum unlike the other temples. It is 216 feet tall.

  5. The stupa at the top is made of bronze. The walls of the sanctum are covered, with the wall paintings of Chola and Nayak periods, comparable to the famous Ajanta cave frescoes. Guarding the inner shrine of the temple, is the gigantic statue of Nandi the Bull.

  6. Today the world knows Rajarajeeswaram as the big temple or Brahadeswara temple, an UNESCO world heritage monument, but what the world does not know is about the all round skills of its builder Rajaraja Chola the Great, the architectural intricacies of the temple and the sculptures and arts which have lasted a millennium.

  7. Ph : 04362-274476.


Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram :

Darasuram, 34 Kms from Tanjavur. The Rajarajeswaran temple, also known as the Airavatesvara temple at Darasuram is the third in the series of grand temples built by the imperial Cholas. In comparison with the earlier temples, however, it depicts an increase in figural and decorative sculpture. In fact the theme of the decoration in this temple is nitya-vinoda or perpetual entertainment.

Kailasanatha Swamy Temple :

‘Koonachery that relievs the devotees’ Difficulties & Deficiencies’ : This village is very near to Swamy Malai, Thiruvaikavur, Athanoor and Pullapoothangudi on the bank of Pazhavatru River in Thanjavur District. In this village there is one Siva Temple. The main deity there is Kailasanathar and the Godess is Sri Parvathi. Located in Koonanchery. Papanasam TK, Thanjavur District - 612 301, Ph : 0435-2941879, 10 Km from Papanasam, 12 Km from Kumbakonam, 30 Km from Thanjavur. Transport facilities : Buses are available from Thanjavur Mini Buses and Tour Buses are available at Kumbakonam and Papanasam.

Mannargudi :

Rajagopala Temple, Lord Krishna is featured as Rajagopala in Rajagopala Temple. This temple was constructed in the 12th century and received patronage from the Nayaka Kings.

Museums :

Archeological Museum :- houses an interesting collection of sculpture. Tamil University Museum :- contains coins and musical instruments.

Poondi Matha Kovil :

20 km from the Bus stand. A very famous Catholic Church Cor Matha.People of all faiths visit the church. Ph : 04365-265426.

Puliyur Vyagrapureeswarar Temple :

Around 80 Kms from Thanjavur, situated 3/4 Km North of Ramarmadam Bus stop in Nagapattinam - Tiruvarur Main Road. The ancient history says Kamadhenu, the sacred cow prayed to Lord Shiva in this shrine to get rid of its wrath. One more speciality about this temple, on evenings, Nataraja is worshipped first prior to all other gods. This is also referred as Dhakshina Chidambaram. Chidambaram is where famous temple of lord Nataraja is located. This village is also called as Vyagrapuri named after the lord.

Punnainallur Mariamman Temple :

This is an important temple situated at Punnainallur, 6 miles from Thanjavur. The temple is built in the typical south Indian style with Gopurams and Mandapams (also spelt as Mandapa). Inside the Mandapam there are depictions of the different forms of Ashta Shakti viz., “Gaja Lakshmi”, “Veera Lakshmi”, “Soubhagya Lakshmi”, “Santana Lakshmi”, “Dhana Lakshmi”, “Dhanya Lakshmi”, “Vidya Lakshmi”, and “Karunya Lakshmi”. A temple was constructed at the place in 1680 and the idol was installed, so the deity of this temple is known as “Punnainallur Mariamman”. It is said that the daughter of Tulaja Raja (1729-35) of Tanjore, who lost her eyesight in an illness, regained it on offering worship at this temple. The kings who ruled Tanjore took great interest in the development of the temple and they vied with one another in constructing Gopurams, Mandapams, Entrances, etc., to the temple. Festivities : In the month of ‘Purattasi’ (Sep-Oct) the ‘Floating Festival’ takes place in the holy tank located at the temple. Brahmotsavam takes place in the months of ‘Adi-Avani’ (Aug-Sep). Sundays are considered to be the most auspicious days for worshipping the Goddess, when huge crowds mainly consisting of womenfolk and children pay their homage. Ph : 04362-267740.

Rajarajan Manimandapam :

Constructed on the eve of the World Tamil conference held at Thanjavur. It is a beautiful park.

Sarabeshwarar Temple :

The famous temple of Sarabeshwarar is situated in Thanjore district at Thirupuvanam. This place is just 6 kms away from Kumbakonam. This temple was built by Kulothunga Cholan-III. Here in this temple many kings, lords and autocrats were blessed by worshiping the Lord Sarabeshwarar. Many believers will find solutions for their problems like Black magic, divorce and trouble through enemies, by visiting this temple and worshiping the Lord Sarabeshwarar.


Schwartz Church :

In the palace garden, this church was built in 1779 A.D by Raja Serfoji as a token of his affection for the Rev. C.V. Schwartz of the Danish Mission.

Sivaganga Garden:

10 km from the Bus StandA very beautiful park, located North of the big temple. It has a good collection of beautiful flower plants and birds and animals.

Sooriyanar kovil :

This temple (Sun Temple) located in the middle of the Sooriyanar temple in Thiruvida marudur Taluk 17 km North East of Kumba- konam. Large number of people worship the Sun God here. Sri Mahalingasamy temple at Thiruvidaimarudur is a very big temple and it is believed that Brahmahathi Dosham was removed from King Varagunapandian in this temple. Ph : 0435-2472349.

Swamimalai :

Located 32 Kms away, Swamimalai is one of the six abodes dedicated to Lord Murugan. Lord Murugan preached Pranava mantra “OM” to Lord Shiva and that is why he is called Swaminathan. The 60 steps to the temple indicate the 60 years of the Tamil calendar. This temple is praised by Arunagirinadar. Every Thursday, Lord Swaminathan is decorated with Diamond Vel. Ph : 0435-2454421, 2454350.

Tamil University :

Established in 1981, the university is engaged in research and advanced study in Tamil. Tamil University Museum has a collection of coins and musical instruments. Ph : 04362-226518.


ThalaiyattiThalaiyatti Bommai (head-nodding doll) is an inexpensive must buy souvenir whenever one visits Thanjavur. It comes in three pieces - head, torso, legs - one gently resting on other so slight movement gives the impression of an Indian classical dancer dancing. This doll was kept near a window and it was a treat to watch her gently dance with the breeze whenever the window was open.



Thanjavur Royal Palace :

The Palace, on the east main street is a series of large and rambling buildings of fine masonry, built partly by the Nayaks around 1532-1675 AD) and partly by the Marathas (1676-1855). The entrance is by way of a large quandrangular courtyard. The encircling walls are pierced by big gateways to the north and east. The courtyard leads to a many-pillared hall. Madamaligai is the tower which rises from the palace roof beyond the Goodagopuram. It has six storeys. This many storeyed tower was destroyed by lightning and was subsequently repaired and preserved. The Sangita Mahal or the Music Hall is a miniature of the surviving court of Thirumalai Nayak’s.

Saraswathi Mahal Library :
This library has one of the most important oriental manuscripts collections, in India. Established around 1700 AD, the library contains a collection of over 44,000 manuscripts in palm leaves and paper, and more than 4,500 foreign books which bear the scholar-king’s autographs. Over eighty percent of its manuscripts are in Sanskrit, many on palm leaves, some very rare or even unique. The Tamil works includes treatises on medicine, and commentaries on works from the Sangam period. Ph : 04362-233568.


TanjorePlateThe famous brass and copper metalware has a rich and ancient tradition in Tamil Nadu. These metal objects are used for both religious and secular purposes, though utility is a primary consideration. The deepam or lamp are regarded as a symbol of Agni, which is auspicious and is the best known of the State’s metalware. There is a good variety of lamps that includes standing lamps, aarathi (votive lamps), deepalakshmis, hand lamps and chain lamps. Patterned trays and shallow dishes in circular, hexagonal, octagonal and oval shapes are widely used in Tamilnadu and are made out of bronze or sheet brass. The popular Thanjavur plates feature designs of deities, birds, flowers, and geometric patterns beaten out from the back of copper and silver sheets and subsequently encrusted on a brass tray, kudam or panchpaathra. Metal toys include models of horses, cows or elephants are made chiefly of brass. A whole range of attractively polished and finished utensils of utilitarian value are also made.


Thirubuvanam Temple :

45 kms from Tanjore. It was built by king Kulothunga on the model of Thanjavur Brahadeeswarar temple. The stately stone gopuram of rare workmanship from the pedestal to the stripe is a standing monument of the architectural glory. A stone inscription in the temple disclose the existence of a university here for teaching advanced courses in Miamsa and Tamil. Ph : 0435-2460760.

Thiruvaiyaru :

13 Kms from Thanjavur, where the famous saint Thyagaraja lived and attained sam- adhi. The famous temple at Thiru vaiyaru is dedicated to Shiva, and is known as Panchanatheswara. An eight day music festival is held here, every January, in honour of the saint.


Thanjavur Chatrams is Historic Neglect

The chatrams built by the Mahrattas in and around Thanjavur are gradually entering into oblivion due to meglect of authorities. However one chatram, which retains its architectural spelldown, is the muktambal chatram in 6 rathanad. As Thanjavur is a tourism spot, the government should restore these leaving monuments.

Tiruvalanchuzhii Shiva Temple :

This temple is near Kumbakonam is known more popularly for its shrine to Sweta Vinayakar, said to be made of the foam of the milky ocean.

Uppiliappan Koil:

4 miles from the Kumbakonam railway station, in Tamil Nadu. Sri Uppiliappan also called as Srinivasan is installed in the moolasthala with Bhooma devi on her knees praying to Him on the right side. The two theerthams in this temple are Ahorathra pushkarini and Arthi pushkarini. The chariots in which the lord is taken in procession are Vishnu vimanam and Sudhanandha vimanam. The temple follows a very strange customs of not adding salt in any of the prasad. Thirukkalyana utchavam, Garuda sevai and Moolavar thirumanjanam are the festivals celebrated in the temple.

Garbharakshambigai Temple :

20 kms East of Thanjavur dedicated to Sri Mullaivananathar and Sri Karparakshambigai. It is a huge temple spread over a wide expanse with imposing Gopurams and a tank in front of it. It is believed that childless people who worship here with devotion and faith are blessed with pregnancy and pregnant women with safe deliveries. Unmarried women also pray here for their marriages. The Linga here is self-manifested and made of ant-hill mud.Therefore there is no water abhisekam worship is only offered with ‘Punuhu’. This Punuhu Chattam is offered by devotees who want to be cured from diseases.

Ramasamy Temple: Thanjavur

Achutha Nayaka of Thanjavur constructed the Ramasamy temple during 16th century. This temple is located on the south-eastern portion of "Porthamarai Kulam" and southern side of "Uchipilliar Kovil" junction. This temple consists of one Gopuram, one Maha Mandapam and Karuvarai. The columns of Maha Mandapam are enriched with intricate stone carving works of Rama-Katha. Vamana Avatharam, Meenakshi Kalyanam, Sukreeva Pattabisekam are some of the famous carving works of this temple. The outer Prahara consists of all 219 wall paintings, which explains the series of incidents from the great Epic "Ramayanam".

Vasishteswaraswamy temple - Thittai :

The temple is situated on Thanjavur - Melattur Road on the way to Thirukkarugavur, at the 10th Km from Thanjavur. A very ancient one is situated in the village “Thittai” near Thanjavur. As the village is situated south of river Cauvery, its also called “Thenkudi Thittai”. The presiding diety is Swayambootheswarar and the Godess, Ulaganayaki. As the main diety is a Swayambu Lingam he got the name “Swayambootheswarar”. The main diety is also called as Vasishteswarar as he was worshipped here by Saint Vasishtar.


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