Thanjavur derives its name from Tanjan-an asura (giant), who according to local legend devastated the neighbourhood and was killed by Sri Anandavalli Amman and Vishnu, Sri Neelamegapperumal.
With its winding streets and alleys and the extensive ruins of the palace of the Nayaks of Madurai, the town was once surrounded by a fortified wall and a moat, though most of this has now disappeared.
It is not surprising that the great Cholas chose Thanjavur as the location of some of their most magnificent creations, since this now small city once occupied the proud position as their capital and most treasured territory.
The Tamil University, set up recently is situated here and is devoted to the growth of Tamil literature and language.
Thanjavur is still the center of all the classical arts and music. It has produced many classical musicians and Bharathanatyam dancers and is also well known for its unique painting style called Tanjore Painting and Thavil, a percussion instrument.
The city of Thanjavur houses many a good monuments worth seeing- like the Brahadeeshwarar Temple, Sangeetha Mahal, an acoustically perfect musical hall that testifies to the skill of its boundaries and the Schwartz Church which was built in 1779 by Raja Serfoji in honour of Revered Schwartz of Denmark.
Every month, the day on which the ruling star is Satabhishag is treated as a festival as that was the ruling star at the time of Rajaraja's birth. The other festival is Krittika day in the month of Karttika (also spelt as Kartik).
The annual festival for 9 days is celebrated in the month of 'Visaka' (May-June), during which the drama of Raja Rajeswara is also enacted. The deity is daily bathed with fragrant water in which the buds of big Champaka flowers have been soaked. Ghee is used in place of oil for keeping the temple lamps burning. On festival days, the offering consists of eight varieties of cooked rice (mixed with tamarind, coconut, lime, juice, jaggery, gingelly, curd, etc.). Other items include cake made with Dal, rice, pepper and mustard; vegetable dishes, fried vegetables, sugar, plantain fruits, tamarind, curd and ghee, and other items.
How to get there
By Air : Thanjavur is easily accessible from other cities of India. In terms of air transport the Tiruchirapalli airport that is 58 kms away from Thanjavur is the nearest.
By Rail : Thanjavur is directly connected with Trichy, Madurai, Nagore, and Madras by rail.
The excellent road network links Thanjavur with the major towns in Tamil Nadu and the neighboring states of Kerala and Karnataka. Get going to the terrific destination of Thanjavur!