Thanjavur Big Temple
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Archeological Museum :- houses an interesting collection
of sculpture. Tamil University Museum :- contains coins and
Poondi Matha Kovil :
20 km from the Bus stand. A very famous Catholic Church
Cor Matha.People of all faiths visit the church. Ph :
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.
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 :
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
Bommai (head-nodding doll) is an
inexpensive must buy souvenir whenever
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.