States Tamil Nadu Thanjavur

Thanjavur Travel Guide

Nestled in the sleep-inducing warmth of Tamil Nadu’s heartland, Thanjavur has emerged as a prominent travel destination not only in south but across India as well. There are ample places to visit in Thanjavur which will definitely be a treat to the travellers from every walk of life. The term “Thanjavur” in Tamil means a ‘city surrounded by cold-farms’. Sitting pretty in Tamil Nadu’s rice bowl, the parrot green paddy fields of Thanjavur are found to be dotted with women draped in vibrant cotton sarees and men in white dhotis, as they plough the farmlands. Enough time for leisure has given rise to a culture in Thanjavur that’s celebrated for its music, dance and architecture. Thanjavur was fought over by the Cholas, Pandyas, Nayaks, the Vijayanagara kings and the Marathas, before the British absorbed it into the Madras Presidency. Yet, Raja Raja Chola I is still the hero whose stories the locals proudly tell, like relatives basking in his reflected glory. Each succeeding dynasty was eager to leave behind an impression and layered the town with their own culture as well as architectural wonders. This popular temple town of Tamil Nadu is as timeless as enduring. Intriguing, serene and rhythmic, Thanjavur beacons you to be prepared to lose yourself in the cosmic chaos in your efforts to discover the divine.

From the numerous places to visit in Thanjavur to the few things to do – a trip of the temple town will make you feel more enriched and blessed. Be it the world-famous Brihadeshwara Temple or the Swami Malai Temple, Thanjavur with its many idiosyncrasies is bound to make your tour memorable.  One of the most prominent tourist attractions in Thanjavur happens to be the Brihadeshwara Temple. A part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the temple was constructed during the Chola Period and it continues to be thronged by thousands of devotees. Apart from the Brihadeshwara Temple, there are  a lot of other religious shrines in Thanjavur that are worth visiting. These include Swami Temple, the Alangudi Temple and the Thirunallar Temple. Apart from temples, travellers can also choose to explore places of interest like the Serfoji Sarasvati Mahal Library and the Thanjavur Royal Palace and Art Gallery. Our Thanjavur travel guide offers an amazing insight into all the places to visit and things to do in this beautiful temple town. Be it admiring the wonderful architecture of the Brihadeshwara Temple or offering prayers at the Alangudi and the Swami Temple to admiring some of the collections at the art galleries/ museums of the city - our authentic travel guide brings it all to you.

Best Time to Visit Thanjavur

As a popular tourist destination, Thanjavur can be visited anytime of the year. However, if you really want to soak in the beauty of this town, it’s best visited during winters. The months from December to February makes for the best possible stay and travel in Thanjavur. Thousands of pilgrims and travellers from all over throng to Thanjavur during the winter months. Summers and monsoons do attract some tourists but are comparatively less in numbers as hot tropical climate characterises the region.

  • Summer

    Summer

    Summers in Thanjavur are hot and sunny and hence attracts comparatively less number of tourists. While early summers, the months of February and March do record some tourists’ footfall, peak summers in Thanjavur are best avoided. This is said because during peak summers the temperature ranges from 35° Celsius to 40° Celsius and often crosses the 40° mark making it nearly impossible for travellers to explore the region.

  • Monsoon

    Monsoon

    Just like pan India, monsoons in Thanjavur span from June to September. Owing to its location, Thanjavur experiences moderate to somewhat heavy rainfall during these months. Needless to say, that due to moderate and heavy rainfall, travellers might find it somewhat uncomfortable to explore around the region. Nonetheless, if you still want to explore the beauty of Thanjavur during monsoons, you may do so, but do remember to carry umbrellas and raincoats along with you.

  • Winter

    Winter

    Winters are the best time to visit Thanjavur when the weather is at its best. Winters in the city span from November to early February and temperature is at is best, ranging from 20° Celsius to 27° Celsius, making it soothing for travellers. Exploring around the city during these months is much easier as the weather is pleasant with humidity in the air reduced to almost nil.

Best Places to Visit and Things to Do in Thanjavur

Those who want to experience a slice of Tamil culture and admire its architectural wonders, a trip to Thanjavur is a must in a lifetime. Whether its is the numerous temples and religious shrines or the UNESCO World Heritage Sites or admiring the multitude of collections at the art galleries of the city – a tour of Thanjavur will fill you up with memories to cherish forever.

  • Brihadeshwara Temple

    Almost synonymous to Thanjavur, the Brihadeshwara Temple is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Known as the Great Living Chola Temple, the shrine was built by Raja Raja Chola way back in the 1003 AD., the temple is thronged by thousands of visitors round the year.

  • Gangaikonda Cholapuram

    An ancient town located very close to Thanjavur is a major tourist attraction near the city. Dotted with ruins, this ancient town was the capital of the Chola Dynasty. Several architectural wonders adorn the skyline that happen to be tourist attractions in their own right. The ruins of the ancient city still make for an amazing site to behold.

  • Swami Malai Temple

    A prominent religious shrine in Thanjavur, the Swmai Malai temple attracts thousands of devotees the year-round. Dedicated to Lord Murugan, the temple is almost thousand years’ old and continues to attract as many devotees. Perched atop a bill, mythological legends have it that, Lord Murugan preached the meaning of Om in this location. Read more

  • Thirunallar Temple

    A prominent religious shrine in Thanjavur, the Thirunallar Temple has the presiding deity of Lord Shani. It is believed that, at this place, the Lord Shani lost a battle with Lord Shiva. Saturdays attract the maximum number of devotees to this temple. There’s a teertham (bathing place) very close to the temple where taking a dip is believed to wash away all your sins.

  • Alangudi Temple

    A part of the Navagraha Temples (nine planets), Alangudi has the presiding deity of Lord Shiva. Apart from Lord Shiva, statues of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Subramanyam are also present inside the temple. The temple has a distinct south Indian Chola architecture along with Nayak-era influences. The multi-coloured gopuram is an amazing attraction.

  • The Serfoji Sarasvati Mahal Library

    One of the oldest libraries in Asia, Serfoji Sarasvati Mahal Library has on display a rare collection of palm leaf manuscripts and paper written in Tamil, Telugu and other indigenous Indian languages. While the collection comprises nearly 49,000 volumes out of which a certain fraction is on display. It started as a library of the royals back in the 16th century and was later converted into a library museum.

  • Punnainallur Mariamman Koil

    Dedicated to Goddess Mariamman, the Punnainallur Mariamman Koil is popular Hindu shrine in Thanjavur.  It is believed since the deity is made out of mud, no abhishekam is done to it. Instead there’s a small statue of Vishnu Durgai Amman places close to the sanctum on which the regular abhishekam is done.

  • Thanjavur Royal Palace and Art Gallery

    One of the oldest museums in Thanjavur, the museum houses a multitude of artefacts and historical items at display. Apart from that, the museum houses several paintings featuring the Tanjore School of Art. Needless to say, each and every painting at the museum are worth admiring. Read more

  • Thiruvalanchuzhi

    Thiruvalanchuzhi is a small village located very close to Thanjavur and it is famous for the Swetha Vinayagar Temple. A very popular Hindu religious shrine within the vicinity of Thanjavur. The presiding deity of the temple happens to be Lord Ganesha, who is also portrayed in white colour here, hence the name Swetha Vinayagar.

  • Thirumananjeri Temple

    A popular pilgrimage destination in Thanjavur, the Thirumananjeri Temple highly revered by the local people as it is considered the place where Lord Shiva and Parvathi got married. Needless to say, that the temple is not only well-regarded by all but also thronged by thousands of devotees as well as travellers the year-round.

  • Kal Garuda Perumal Koil

    Often referred to as Nachiyar Koil, the Kal Garuda Temple is yet a revered religious shrine in Thanjavur. People come here to seek the blessings from Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi. Constructed in the typical Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is one of the 108 divyadeshams dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

  • Ramaswamy Temple

    Thanjavur’s Ramaswamy Temple is a prominent Hindu religious shrine where the presiding deity happens to be Lord Rama. The temple was constructed during the 16th century by Thanjavur’s well-known ruler Achutha Ramachandra Nayaka. Just like any other south Indian temple, the shrine also has a grand Dravidian style of architecture. The biggest attraction of the temple are the beautifully painted walls depicting stories from Ramayana.

Where to Stay in Thanjavur?

Since Thanjavur is a prominent travel destination, there’s no dearth of accommodation. The temple town offers ample places to stay catering to a host of travellers. Whether you are a budget backpacker, family vacationer or travelling with a group of friends, you can choose from varied accommodation options in Thanjavur. From budget hotels in prime locality to mid-range accommodations – Thanjavur has it all. It is advisable that you book hotels beforehand in order to have a hassle-free tour.

How to Reach Thanjavur?

Thanjavur can be reached from all over India and several other parts of the world through various means of communication. From airlines to railways to roadways – connectivity to the place makes it easy to travel to the town. While Trichy happens to be the nearest airport, Thanjavur can be reached from other major cities as well.

  • By Air

    Trichy happens to be the nearest airport to Thanjavur, lying roughly at a distance of 57 kilometres. The airport is very well-connected by a host of domestic and international airlines that ply on a daily basis. Once at the Trichy airport, travellers can easily avail taxis or buses that will directly take them to Thanjavur. The journey takes less than two hours to complete.

  • By Rail

    Just like the airport, the nearest railhead to Thanjavur happens to be Trichy. A prominent rail junction, the station is very well-connected to the rest of Tamil Nadu and India through an extensive network of railways. Local and express trains from all over the country ply regularly to Trichy. Once at the Trichy station, travellers can easily avail taxis or buses to reach Thanjavur.

  • By Road

    Travelling to Thanjvur by road is also a good idea. Travellers can either take a car or a state-run bus from various cities in Tamil Nadu and the neighbouring states of Kerala and Karnataka. While NH 67 connects Trichy Thanjavur, one needs to take NH 45 and NH 45C while travelling to Thanjavur from Chennai. Apart from that, Thanjavur can be travelled by road from several other cities including Coimbatore, Puducherry and even Bengaluru.

Tamil Nadu Travel Information at a Glance

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