- TAMIL NADU
rice bowl of Tamil Nadu, Tanjavur, is a bustling country town,
55 km east of Trichy. Tanjavur rose to glory, during the later
Chola reign, between the 10th and 14th centuries, and became
a centre of learning and culture. It is also the headquarters
of the district of the same name. Tanjavur is well known for
its traditional handicrafts - art plates, bell metal castings,
silk carpets, pith work, bronze icons, and classical Indian
musical instruments. Out of the 74 temples, the finest is
the Sri Brihadeswara temple.
What to See
Sri Brihadisvara Temple: Built
by the great Chola king, Raja Raja I in the 10th century AD,
this temple is an outstanding example of the Chola architecture.
Guarding the inner shrine of the temple, is the gigantic statue
of Nandi, the Bull, while the walls of the sanctum are covered,
with the wall paintings of Chola and Nayak periods, comparable
to the famous Ajanta cave frescoes.
Tanjavur Palace: The Palace,
adjacent to the temple is a vast structure of fine masonry,
built partly by the Nayaks around 1550 AD, and partly by the
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 palm leaf, and paper manuscripts in Indian
and European languages. Over eighty per cent 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.
Tamil University: Established in 1981, the university
is engaged in research and advanced study in Tamil.
Art Gallery: A superb collection
of bronze statues from the 9th to 12th centuries.
Thiruvaiyaru: 13 kms from
Tanjavur is Thiruvaiyaru, where the famous saint Thyagaraja
lived and attained samadhi. The famous temple at Thiruvaiyaru
is dedicated to Shiva, and is known as Panchanatheswara. An
eight day music festival is held here, every January, in honour
of the saint.
Thirukandiyur: The temples at
Thirukandiyur (10 kms away), are dedicated to Brahmasirekandeswarar
and Harshavimochana Perumal, and are noted for their fine
Tiruvarur (55 km) has the Thyagarajaswami
Temple famous for the largest temple chariot in Tamil Nadu.
Tiruvarur is also the birth place of saint Thyagaraja.
Swamimalai: Located 32 kms away,
Swamimalai has one of the six abodes (Arupadaiveedu) dedicated
to Lord Subramanya.
Kumbakonam: Famous for the Mahamaham
festival held every 12 years, Kumbakonam, 36 kms from Tanjore,
also boasts of five temples. The important ones among them
are Sarangapani, Kumbeswarar, Nageswara and Ramaswamy temples.
These temples are noted for their semi erotic sculpture.
Darasuram: Darasuram, 34 kms
away, has a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva which was built
by Rajendra Chola. It also boasts a silk weaving centre.
Tirubuvanam: 45 kms away, Tirubuvanam
has a 13th century Chola temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Nagore, 88 km, is a famous Muslim
pilgrimage site, which is frequented by people of all faiths.
Velangani: 90 kms away, noted
for the church dedicated to 'Our Lady of Health', attracts
devotees of all faiths.
Point Calimere (112 kms) is famous
for its migratory water birds, especially flamingoes. The
best time to visit is the period from November to January.
Vedaranyam (104 km) is renowned for the festivals held
on full moon day, in July-August and January-February.
Manora, 65 kms away, has a 8
storey victory tower which was built by Raja Serfoji in 1814
Tirunallar (101 km), is famous
for its temple dedicated to Lord Saneeswara.
The great Mahamaham festival is held at Kumbakonam, every
12 years, last held in 1992. To commemorate the saint Thyagaraja,
the Thyagaraja Aradhana Music festival is held every year,
in the month of January.
How to get there
Road links to all major cities. Connected by rail with Trichy,
Madurai, Nagore, and Madras directly. The nearest airport,
Tiruchirapalli, is 58 kms.