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Where to Stay

Saint Thyagaraja Aradhana Musical Festival - Thiruvaiyaru. January

Pongal (Tourist) Festival - Thanjavur.14th to 16th January

Mahamaham Festival at Kumbakonam. February & March (Held once in 12 years. Last held in 2004.)

Annai Velankanni Festival. August-September

Arulmigu Thyagarajaswamy Car Festival, Thiruvarur. March

Muthupallakku Thiruvizha - Tiruvarur.May

Rajaraja Chola's Birthday - Sathaya Thiruvizha. October

Masimaham Festival at KumbakonamFeb-Mar



Thanjavur rose to glory during the later Chola period between the 9th and 14th centuries A.D. It also flourished later during the rule of the Nayaks and Mahrattas. The headquarters of this district has the same name as the district. It has been the treasure house of art for centuries. It is called the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu . Thanjavur is well-known throughout the world for being the home of the Brahadeeswara temple, the magnificent palace, Rajah Serfoji's Saraswathi Mahal Library, Art Gallery and also for its exquisite handicrafts like the Art Plate, pithwork, bronze icons, Thanjavur paintings and the classical South Indian musical instruments.

Places to See

Sri Brahadeeswarar Temple This is also called the Big temple and it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The great Chola king Raja Raja I (985-1012 A.D) built this temple. It is an outstanding example of the Chola architecture. Its unique architectural excellence has made the UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage Monument. The 64.8mts.Tall vimanam or the tower over the sanctum sanctorum is a testimony to the engineering skill of the Cholas.In keeping the immensity of the temple the gigantic mahalingam in the shrine measures 4 mtrs. in height. The monolithic Nandi, or the bull mount of Lord Shiva has been chiselled out of single rock. It is the second largest nandi in India. The beautiful Chola Fresco paintings on the inner walls of the temple are no way less than Ajanta paintings.

One of the best temples in South India, the Brahadeeswarar Temple is the Chola dynasty's finest contribution to Dravidian temple architecture. What makes the construction so unique is the diversion from the usual temple building norms of having a tall gopuram and smaller vimanams (the tower over the sanctum). At the big temple the vimanam soars high while the gopuram remains stunted.

The 64.8m tall, 14-tiered pyramid shaped vimanam rises from a square base and is topped by a huge monolithic cupolas carved out from an 81.3 tonne block of granite.It was installed with aid of a 6km long inclined plane. The tower is a testimony to the engineering skill of the Chola architects who planned its construction in a way that the shadow of the cupola never falls on the ground. (Temple Office No.274476)

The Palace Just 1 km.away from Brahadeeswarar Temple, is the magnificent palace. This palace is surrounded with huge fort walls. it dates 14th century A.D and was partly built by the Nayaks and partly by Marathas. The Nayaks and the Marathas ruled Thanjavur from 1400 - 1676 A.D and from 1676 - 1855 respectively. Even now the royal family of the Marathas resides in this palace. It measures 110 acres in size. It is a grand pile of fascinating building with huge corridors, spacious halls decorated rooms, tall observation towers, beautiful stucco works, wonderful fresco painted walls and ceilings beautiful stucco works, wonderful fresco Painted walls and Ceilings underground tunnels, intricate carvings, royal family's sacred Chandra Mauleeshwarar temple are all worth seeing.

Art Gallery : The Art Gallery has a fabulous collection of bronze icons. The stone sculptures are unique in their priceless quality. The gallery has exhibits unique in historical association and antiquity unique. One can see and enjoy the finest pieces of stone sculptures and bronze icons of the gods of Hindu Mythology in different forms which helps the viewer get enlightened regarding the greatness of Chola art especially with special reference to their legendary background. All the sculptures and bronzes in the Art Gallery are feast to the eyes of art lovers.

Saraswathi Mahal Library: The Thanjavur Maharaja Serforji's Saraswathi Mahal Library is one among the few medieval libraries that exist in the world. It is an unparalleled repository of cultural antiques and an inexhaustible treasurehouse of knowledge built by successive dynasties of the Nayaks and the Marathas who ruled Thanjavur. It contains a very rare and valuable collection of manuscripts, books, maps and paintings on all aspects of Art, Culture and Literature . The Encyclopaedia Britannica in its survey of the Libraries of the world mentions. That it is as “the most remarkable Library in India.” It was Conceived and Christened as the Royal Palace Library in the 16th century by the Nayak Kings and later developed by the Maratha Kings of Thanjavur. Only after 1918 this Library was made a Public Library. Now both the Government of Tamil Nadu and the Government of India maintain the Library. 

Sangeetha Mahal or The Hall of Music   This is also located within the palace and is called Sangeetha Mahal. It is an acoustically perfect music hall, and is a striking example of the engineering skill of the ancient builders.

Royal Museum & Serforji Memorial Hall: Located in the Palace complex. It displays rare antiques possessed by Maratha Royal family. There are artifacts, manuscripts, weapons, royal robes and other handicrafts made out if ivory, jade, lacquer, glass, porcelain, wood, cloth, leather is worth seeing. Utensils chandeliers, musical instruments, dress, furniture, paintings, stone and metal sculptures gives the actual image of the Marathas rulers of Thanjavur.

Maratha Durbar Hall: Its huge pillars, beautiful stucco paint works and fresco painted ceiling eye catching.

Sharajah Madi: It is in the eastern part of the palace. It is built in the Sarcenic style of architecture and Raja Serfoji built it after his return from Banaras. The building is six-storied and well known for its ornamental balconies. Its spacious halls add to the grandeur of this palace. Its enable tourists to have a panoramic view of Thanjavur city.

Rajaraja Mani Mandapam: It is in the southern part of Thanjavur. It was built during the 8th world Tamil Conference held during 1995. This mani mandapam has the Museum in the ground floor.

Schwartz Church: Located within the Palace garden. Rajah Serfoji as a token of his affection built this church in 1779 A.D. for Rev.C.V Schwartz of the Danish Missionary. Formerly it was a worship place of the British Military.

Sivaganga Tank  lies beyond the northwest compound of the Brahadeeswarar Temple. Large walls surround it and the tank is known for it is sweet tasting water.

Rajagopala beerangi or Cannon  is placed at the Eastern gate of the Fort. The place is called 'Beerangi Medu'. It is an amazing size and its quality speaks of the metallurgical knowledge of people of Thanjavur at that time. Danish technical skill has been used while making of the beerangi. This cannon was used in 1650 during the Nayak period. At the top of the east kothalam. And it is biggest in India.

Tholkappiyar Sadukkam During the 8th the World Tamil Conference, this Sadukkam or square was built. One can have a panoramic view of Thanjavur town from the tower.

Tamil University The univeristy located here, was established in 1981,and is engaged in research and advanced study in Tamil. It is devoted to the cause of Tamil literature and language. It contain many advanced studies in Tamil like Literature, Grammar, Linguistics, Religion, Philosophy, Manuscriptology, History, Epigraphy, Sociology, Folklore, Anthroplogy, Arts, Sculpture, Music, Drama, Legal Studies, Administration, Science, Engineering, Computer Science, Medical Science, Encyclopedia and Adult Education. Phone 227434, 227417

Around Thanjavur
Punnai Nallur Marriamman Temple (6 kms)  This temple dedicated to Goddess Marimman and was built by the Maratha ruler Tuljaji in 1677 A.D. It is 6 kms cast of Thanjavur.

Thirukandiyur (10 kms) Here there are temples of Brahmasirekandeswarar and of Harshavimochana Perumal. It is one of the Attaveeratangal.

Thiruvaiyaru (13 kms)  Situated on the banks of the cauvery Thiruvaiyaru has an old Shiva temple dedicated to panchanatheswar. Though pilgrims flock to this temple throughout the year. Thiruvaiyaru is more renowned for its anociation with saint Thyagaraja, who along with Muthuswamy Diskshitar and Shyama Sastri, Comprises the trinity of Carnatic Music. Near Shiva Temple is the one - roomed have where Thyagaraja composed some of this greatest works. On the banks of the river is the samadhi of the saint and it is here that the greatest music festival in the country takes place annually. The Thyagaraja Aaradhana festival is held in Janvary when most of the leading exponents of carnatic music come to perform and are watched by thousands of ardent fams of classical music.

Grant Anicut (48 kms) Known as a marvel in engineering, this ancient Dam is made of a solid mass of rough stone and clay, and it stretches across the River Cauvery in a serpentine fashion. It is a fine picnic spot for tourists and others.

Poondi Matha Basilica (35 kms): The Poondi village is about 35 kms. from Thanjavur and the nearest Railway Station is Budalur. It is a Roman Catholic Pilgrim Centre like Velankanni. Accommodation is provided to the pilgrims by the Church Authorities. Phone No. (04362) 280422

Thirukarugavoor (20 kms) The Arulmighu Mullaivananathar and the Karpagarahshambigai temples are situated in the riverbed of River Vettaru a branch of the Cauvery, at a distance of 20 kms northeast of Thanjavur at distance of 20 kms southwest from Kumbakonam. This sthalam Thirukarugavoor is ancient and has been extensively quoted by the Great Shaivite saints Thirugnana Sambandar and Thirunavukkarasar on the dieties Eswara Mullaivananathar and the Goddesses Gharbharakshambigai.

Patteswaram (38 kms) This temple is dedicated to Goddess Durgai Amman, and every Friday is special to worship the goddess. Located near Kumbakonam. Buses are available from Kumbakonam.

Manora (65 kms) Rajah Serfoji built this 8-storey victory town in 1814 to commemorate the victory of the British over Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo.

It is situated on the shore of Bay of Bengal in Sarabendrajanpathinam village about 20 km. South of Pattukottai Town, in Tanjore Dist. Manora is the grand and gregarious old town with lowerly architecture and surroundings. This ancient fort Monument is styled 'Manora' a derivation from "Minors" of North Indian architecture. This historical Monument majestically shooting up in thin air, 140 feet height. Manora is a pleasing blend of Roman pillar architecture a combination very serious and striking to artistic eyes. This hexogen shapped 10 storyed fort represents the 19th Century architectural taste of Maratha king serfoji of Thanjavur. The panosanic views foamler sea, the floating boats, breezy coconut trees, scattered fisherman houses taking different beautiful shaper at every storey.

Gangaikondacholapuram (71 kms) The temple built by Rajendra Chola at Gangaikondacholapuram is almost similar to the Big Temple at Thanjavur. It has an imposing Vimanam dominating the landscape for miles around.

Thiruvarur(55kms) world Heritage Monument The Thyagarajaswami temple here has the biggest temple chariot in Tamil Nadu. This is the birthplace of Saint Thyagaraja, the poet-saint and composer. The Arulmigu Thyagarajaswamy Car Festival is celebrated in March –April, every year. Boating at the Kamalalayam Temple tank is being organised by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. from April 1997.

Vedaranyam: (104 kms): Festivals on full moon days in the Tamil months of Adi (July-August) and Thai (January-February) attract pilgrims from all over Tamil Nadu to this place. It is also historically important because when Gandhiji organized the Salt March to Dandi, Gujarat in 1930 in protest during the freedom struggle against the British, C.Rajagopalachari, undertook the same march in the south, to this town, which has the saltpans.

Papanasam (30 kms) There are two temples; The Pallaivanatha Swamy temple constructed by the Chola King and the other is the 108 Sivalayam temples. There are also a Granary (storehouse of paddy) which measure 86 feet in width and has a height of 36 feet with a capacity of 3,000 kalam which is a measure. The Nayaks between 1600-1634 constructed it. The State Archaeological Department declared it as a monument. One can see the 108 Sivalingams only in the temple in Papanasam.

Swamimalai (32 kms) It is one of the six abodes or Arupadaiveedu dedicated to Lord Subramanya.

Darasuram (34 kms) Raja Raja Chola II built the Airateswara or Darasuram temple. It is an excellent example of 12th century Chola architecture and is well preserved to this day. The frontal columns of the temple have unique miniature sculptures .

During the 14th century the large stone statues surrounding the temple were replaced with brick and mortar statues similar to those found at the Big Temple in Thanjavur. The Archaeological Survey of India has restored the temple. This has been declared as a world Heritage Monument.

Kumbakonam (40 kms) The Sarangapani, Kumbeswarar, Nageswarar and the Ramaswamy temples are located here. The Mahamagam congregation takes place once in 12 years and it was last held in 2004.

Uppliyappan Koil(6 kms) This place is 6 kms from Kumbakonam and 46 kms from Thanjavur. Lord Venkatesaperumal like the Tirupathi Balaji is also called Oppil Upper .

Thiruvidai Maruthur(8 kms) This place is about 8 kms from Kumbakonam and 48 kms away from Thanjavur. The River Cauvery passes through this village. The village is also called Madhyarjunam and the Presiding deity is Mahalingeswarar and goddess is known as Perunamulaiyammai.

Kodikarai or Point Calimere (112 kms) This place is noted for its congregation of migratory water birds, fowls, particularly flamingoes. The season is from November to January. Other wildlife like the blackbuck and wild ponies are also found here.

Nagapattinam (83 kms) Nagapattinam is an important port town. There is a small port that operates in Nagapattinam. A Temple dedicated to Magaraja is located here.

Nagore(88 kms) Similar to Velankanni in its popular appeal is the Dargah of Hazrat Meera Sultan Syed Shahabdul Hameed who is better known as Hazrat Mian. It is just 4 kms to the north of Nagapattinam. The tomb is almost 500 years old and is topped by a golden dome and flanked by five minarets. The tank within the precincts is called Peer Kulam and is believed to have curative powers. People of all faiths visit the Dargah.

Thirubuvanam (45 kms) Kampaharewar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva build daity 13th century A.D. This place is also famous for major silk weaving centres in the state.

Velankanni(90 kms) Just 12 kms south of Nagapattinam, is one of the most popular Christian pilgrim spots in this part of India. People of all faiths and religions come to this church to pray at the shrine of Our Lady of Health . Many bring with them small gold and silver replicas of parts of the body to donate to the church. Velankanni is particularly crowded during the festival period in August-September. There is a small church museum which has a display of the offerings made by the faithful who have received favours from visiting the Velankanni Church.

Sikkal (70 kms): A Temple dedicated to Sikkal Singaravelar or Lord Subramanya. Ten days festival celebrated here during the months October and November.


1.Suriyanar koil (Sun Temple) This is one of the Navagraha temples dedicated to Lord Suriyan or Sun, in Thanjavur District. This temple is 58 kms away from Thanjavur. This is the only place where the image of the sun is worshipped. It is believed that the Chola king Kulothunga I built the shrine.
2.Thingalore (18 kms) One of the Navagraha temples dedicated to Chandran or the moon. It is situated on the Thiruvaiyaru-Kumbakonam route.
3.Vaitheeswaran Koil (90 kms) One of the Navagraha temples dedicated to Lord Sevvai An garaha or Mars. It is on the way to Chidambaram.
4.Thirvenkadu (95 kms) One of the Navagraha temples dedicated to Lord Buddhan (Mercury). It is nearer to Mayiladuthurai .
5.Alangudi (36 kms) One of the Navagraha temples dedicated to Lord Guru.
6.Tirunallar (95kms) Here is a temple dedicated to Saneeswaran and this temple is dedicated to Saneeswaran or Saturn and it is believed that one could get rid of his/her curses and spells of bad luck if they pray here.
7.Kanchanur (57 kms) One of the Navagraha temples dedicated to Lord Sukra or Venus. It is situated on the way to Mayiladuthurai.
8.Thirunageswaram (47 kms) One of the Navagraha temples in Thanjavur District, dedicated to Lord Raghu. This place is situated 6 kms to east of Kumbakonam. Thirunageswaram takes its name from legend that the serpent Adi Sesha was worshipped Shiva here and the locality is identified with Chaurpakaranya.
9.Keezhaperumpallam (93 kms) One of the Navagraha temples dedicated to lord kethu. It is close to Poompuhar.

How to go

AIR The nearest Airport Thiruchirapalli is 55 kms. Indian Airlines and Air Lanka operate flights to Sri Lanka. Indian Airlines also connects Thiruchi with Madurai and Chennai directly.

RAIL Thanjavur is connected by rail with Thiruchi, Madurai, Nagore and Chennai directly.

ROAD Thanjavur is connected with all major cities. Regular Bus Service connects all places of interest in and around Thanjavur. Autorickshaws, Cycle-rickshaws and taxis are available.

Union territories

Metropolitan cities of India

Metropolitan cities of India

Where to Stay

Hotel Tamil Nadu, Gandhi Road,
Thanjavur. Phone No.231421, 231325.
Gram Tamil Tour.

Hotel Sangam, Thiruchi  Road,Thanjavur

Phone 91-4362-239451(Lines) Fax: 91-4362-26695

Hotel Parisutham,Post Box 86,55 G.A.Canal Road, Thanjavur.

Phone No.231801, 231844 Telex:0468-220pts in,Gram,Staydine

Hotel Ideal River View resort Vennar Bank,Palli

Phone No.250533, 250633, 250833
Fax: 91-4362-251113

Hotel Valli,
2948,M.kM.Road,(Near Railway Station)Thanjavur. 

Phone No.231580, 231584, 231064.

Hotel Ganesh,
2905/3&4 Srinivsam Pillai Road,
Railway Station,

Phone No.223789,273020.

Hotel Pandiyar Residency,
14,Cutchery Road,

Phone No.239875,231295, 231604

Hotel Oriential Towers,
 2889, Srinivasam Pillai Road,
Thanjavur. Phone No.230724, 231467

Hotel Temple Tower(p) Ltd.
20/1 A,S.M.Road,Thanjavur

Phone No.276333, 276334, 276335, 276337
Fax: 276336 

Yagappa Lodge,Trichy Road, Thanjavur.

Phone No.230421, 276552

Youth Hostel, Annai Sathya Stadium,
Medical College Road, Ganapathy Nagar,
Thanjavur - 613007.

Phone No.235097

12.Hotel Lion City,
130, Gandhiji Road, Thanjavur-1

Phone No.275926, 275927
Fax 231730

13.Raja Rest House, Gandhiji Road, Thanjavur-1

Phone No.230515

14.Hotel Karthick, 73,South Rampart, Thanjavur-1

Phone No.278662, 278663, 278664

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