Verdant and green, full of paddy fields and coconut palms, Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur district is one of the prettiest in the state. Thanjavur, or Tanjore as the British called it, is extremely fertile, prosperous and scenic; it was the natural choice for capital city of one of the greatest empires of the south. Now a small city in the state of Tamil Nadu, it rose to glory during the Chola period from the 10th century to the 14th, when it came to be the centre of art and education. The Cholas built extensively during this period and 74 of their temples are still standing. As the centre of cultural development Thanjavur attracted master craftsmen, and it still continues to produce attractive handcrafted ware.

A popular pilgrim destination, the legacy of the days of glory endures. Thanjavur's heritage as a centre of learning, culture and craft is reflected in the variety of handicraft work that goes on here. Thanjavur is still famous for its bejewelled, gold leaf Tanjore paintings, fine silk carpets, bell metal work, musical instruments, pith work and bronze sculptures. Tanjore should be on your travel list in south India.

How to Reach Thanjavur?

By Air : The closest airport is at Trichy, 54 km away. Trichy Airport receives flights from Chennai and Madurai and from Sharjah, Kuwait City and Colombo (Sri Lanka).

By Rail : Thanjavur is on the route of many trains travelling between Chennai, Madurai and Kanyakumari. It also has direct connections to and from Chennai’s Egmore Station. Trichy is an important junction of Southern Railways and is on the route of almost all southbound trains to Kanyakumari, Madurai or Rameswaram. Passenger trains ply between Trichy and Thanjavur, but roadways buses are better with frequent services.

By Road : 54 km from Trichy, Thanjavur is connected by excellent roads to Trichy (NH 67), to Madurai, Chennai (NH45) and Kanyakumari (NH7). Inter city buses, taxis and tourist buses are available at Trichy.

Best Time to Visit Thanjavur

The best time to visit Thanjavur is from October to March, when you can visit the temples and can opt for outdoor activities. During the summer months, from March to May, it is extremely hot, with temperature varying a minimum of 25°C to a maximum of 40°C. Especially during the months of April and May, the hot weather prevents outdoor activities.

Things to do in Thanjavur

In the temple town of Thanjavur, the pilgrim will find plenty of spiritualthings to do. Visit the beautiful temples here, pray and admire the architecture and brilliant designs and frescoes. After that do stop by and buy some exquisite Tanjore paintings that this place is famous for and pick up some silk textiles and saris to take back home.

Places Near Thanjavur

There are many nearby places of interest around Thanjavur.

Thiruvaiyur , 13 km away from Thanjavur is where the south Indian saint Thyagaraja lived. A festival is held in his honour every Jan.

Kumbakonam (36 km) has the important Mahamaham Fair every twelve years, due next in 2016. It also has five important temples that are known for their semi erotic sculptures.

Thirubuvanam (45 km) has a 13th century temple to Shiva and is known for silk weaving.

Manora , 65 km from Thanjavur has a quirky souvenir from the colonial times; an eight storey high Victory Tower built in 1814 by an Indian king to celebrate the British victory over Napoleon at Waterloo.

Velankani (90 km) has a very popular shrine to Our Lady of Health that people of all religions flock to with mini gold and silver replicas of the ailing body-part.

At Nagore (88 km) is the 500-year-old tomb of Hazrat Shahabdul Hameed that has a golden dome and five minarets. The tank near it, Peer Kollam is believed to have curative water and is visited regardless of religious belief.

Tirunallar 101 km away from Thanjavur, has one of the few temples to Saturn or ill-favouring Saneeswar, which people visit to cancel out ill fortune. Kodikarai or Point Calimere is a wildlife and bird sanctuary 112 km from Thanjavur. This Sanctuary is home to migratory birds, especially flamingos, and animals like the black buck and wild ponies. The best time to visit is November to January when the weather is cooler. Contact The Forest Ranger, Kodikkarai. Tel: (04369) 72424 or the Wildlife Warden, 110 Public Offices Road, Nagapattinam. Tel: 22349 for accommodation at the Poonarai Illam Forest Resthouse.

Hotels in Thanjavur – Choice is Yours

There are numerous hotels in Thanjavur ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.