Brihadeshwara temple in Thanjavur

Thanjavur (or 'Thanjai' or 'Tanjore') is 342 km from Chennai, the capital of the state Tamil Nadu, India. Thanjai is considered to be the granary and 'rice bowl' of Tamil Nadu. It is the district headquarters by the same name.

Pronounce : Than-jaa-voor. It is sometime referred as Tanjavur (wrong) or Thanjavoor.


Thanjavur thrived as the ancient capital of the Chola kingdom, later of Marathas and Nayaks. Thanjavur was at the height of its glory during the Chola period between the 10th and the 14th century and became a great centre of learning and culture. The Chola Empire eventually grew into one of the most powerful empires India had ever seen under the rule of Rajaraja Chola I, also known to many Tamils as Rajaraja the Great, and his son, Rajendra Chola I. Under Rajendra Chola I, the capital was moved from Thanjavur to the nearby Gangaikondacholapuram.

The important landmark in Thanjavur is the great Brahadeeswara Temple, also known as the Big Temple, built by Rajaraja Chola I. It is one of the most magnificent pieces of South Indian temple architecture. Established in 1011 AD in celebration of victory of Chola kingdom that extended till Ceylon and some parts of the Malaya archipelago. Now it is a world heritage site.

Even today Thanjavur is not only considered as the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu but also as a cultural headquarters, and the Tamil spoken here is considered by many linguists to be the purest form of the language. Though the Thanjavur district is dominated by agriculture, the town itself is diverse, having a literacy rate of more than 75% and a homogenous mix of population of all religions.

Get in

By plane

Nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli (57 km on road). There are direct flights from Chennai

By rail

Thanjavur is also reachable by train from other Indian cities. 'Thanjavur Junction' is the station to alight. There are daily trains from/to Chennai, Bangalore, Mysore, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Thrissur, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Erode, Salem , Tirupur , Tirunelveli, Rameswaram and weekly trains to Tiruchendur, Bhubaneshwar, Varanasi , Allahabad , Jabalpur , Vijayawada , Vizianagaram and to all main cities. For train timings and on-line reservations (within India) visit the IRCTC's website.

By bus

There are several state and private buses that ply daily from Mannargudi, Pattukkottai, Kumbakonam, Pondicherry, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchy. The journey from Bangalore and Chennai takes about 9 hours and there are over-night buses. Some buses (from Madurai or Trichy) arrive at Thanjavur; a new bus stand, located at 3 km from the center. There you can take another bus for the center for ₹4, you can ask for the "old bus stand".

Get around

The stopping name is cholan silai where you can see the raja rajan statue


In and around Thanjavur there are other ancient temples like Vellai Pillaiyar Temple, Thiruvanajozhi, Lord Murugan Temple, Swami Malai, Chandra Bagawan Temple, Thingalur Moon temple, Sukkiran Temple, Kanchanur, Kethu Temple,Keelaperumpallam, Sani Bhagawan Temple, Thirunallar, Mercury Temple, Thiruvenkadu, Raaghu Temple, Thirunageshwaram, Guru Baghawan Temple at Alangudi, Thirumananjeri.


Thanjavur is famous for its 'Thanjavur dancing doll' (Thanjavur thalai attu bommai), Tanjore Paintings (Lord Krishna paintings are the best) and Tanjore art plates (Lord Balaji are the best).

There is an outlet inside the palace where old and new art works are sold. You can pay with your credit card too.

There is a Phoompuhar art Gallery, which exhibits and sell wide range of artistic bronze idols, Thanjavur paintings and artistic plates.Its been a hot spot for the foreign travellers.











Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 03, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.