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Destination of the Month

Thanjavur / Tanjore

Thanjavur formerly known as Tanjore is a majestic city located near the banks of Cauvery River. It is an ancient city rich in cultural and historical heritage. It's an incredible destination where you can immerse yourself in the culture, history and fine arts of India. This city is home to Brahadeeswara Temple, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in the 11th Century AD. There are a number of other ancient temples and forts in the city too. The city is also recognized worldwide for its antiques and meticulous handicrafts.

Thanjavur is believed to have been derived from "Tanjan", an asura (demon) in Hindu mythology. He was killed at this very place by the Hindu God Neelamegha Perumal, a form of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of Universe.

You witness here, the ochre foundation blocks of perhaps the most remarkable civilization of Dravidian history, one of the few kingdoms to expand Hinduism beyond India, bedrock for aesthetic styles that spread from Madurai to the Mekong. A dizzying historical legacy was forged from Thanjavur, capital of the great Chola Empire during its heyday, which today amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life is a hectic, crowded, noisy, modern Indian town. But the remnants of past traditions and culture are still very much visible and in present use. Each day witnesses thousands of devotees who visit the famous Brihadishwara Temple to seek blessings from Lord Shiva. The temple is considered to be one of the best specimens of South Indian temple architecture. In this temple, as a tradition, all devotees are blessed by the benign elephant, solely employed by the government for this purpose.

You will also get to chance to see the Siva Ganga Garden neatly placed between the Brihadeshwara Temple and the Schwartz Church on the temple's backyard.

Most popularly known as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu, Thanjavur is also the home to the world renowned Rajah Serfoji's Saraswathi Mahal Library. This historic library is situated within the premises of the famous Saraboji Palace, well known for its grand collection of myriad rare paintings, depicting various Indian cities during the reign of King Saraboji. Thanjavur is also popularly known across the world for its exquisite handicrafts that include the Art Plate, pith work, bronze icons, Thanjavur paintings and the classical South Indian musical instruments.

Thanjavur is a haven for aficionados of Carnatic music and dance. The Thanjavur festivals are celebrated with great religious fervor and enthusiasm, wherein you get to witness the finest dance forms during the Natyanjali Dance Festival and distinctive style of Indian classical music in Carnatic form during the Musical Festival. An integral part of art and culture of Thanjavur, the musical and dance festivals are celebrated on a grand and mega scale.

The Dance Festival takes place in Chidambaram area of Thanjavur which is situated besides the Bay of Bengal. The Natyanjali Dance Festival provides the classical dancers of India with a wonderful platform to display their unique dancing skills and rich cultural traditions. The Carnatic Classical Musical Festival draws several renowned classical musicians and singers from far and wide to display their creative caliber.

A place just about 40 km from Thanjavur, known as Kumbakonam cannot be ignored for various historical and other reasons that include its thick-strong coffee and Betal leaf combination. Bounded by two rivers - "River Cauvery" on the north and "River Arasalar" on the south, this town gets its name from the deity Lord Aadhi Kumbeshwarar.

This city dates back to the Sangam period. It rose to be a city much too prominent between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, during which it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town quintessentially acquired the cultural name, the "Cambridge of South India" during the British Rule, as it was a protuberant centre of European education and Hindu culture.

Another popular synonym given to Kumbakonam is "temple town", due to the prevalence of innumerable temples here, and is noted for its Mahamaham festival which attracts people from all across the globe. The main products produced are brass, bronze, copper and lead vessels, silk and cotton yarn, pottery, sugar, indigo and rice.

Another feather in the cap of Thanjavur is Darasuram, a panchayat town located 3 kilometers from Kumbakonam. This town is known for the Airavateshwar Temple, which was constructed by Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century AD. This temple is enlisted with UNESCO as a World Heritage monument. Blessed with architecture to vouch for, the structure stands 85 feet tall. The visage is in the form of a massive chariot drawn by horses, besides exquisite stone carvings seen on the walls of the temple. This temple has great significance as Yama the God of death was relieved of a deadly curse in this temple.

It would be unfair if we missed out on Tiruchirappali or Trichy, an ancient city with great historical background and relevance in the books, defining the battle between the British and French with help of the locals, which later on flagged off the British Empire in southern province.

Tourists find it easy to reach Thanjavur, as it is well connected by Air and Rail. The nearest airport being Tiruchirapalli, where all direct flights arrive from Chennai. Trains are other viable options which connect Thanjavur from major Indian cities. The place offers a variety of Hotels for its guests who have the option of selecting accommodation ranging widely from luxury to budget.

This entire region is blessed with scenic beauty, and offers solace to all those who wish to steal away some quiet moments to spend with their loved ones….while humming some beautiful song in their hearts!