About Thanjavur district

Thanjavur is also called as Tanjore (which is mostly pronounced by British). It is a very famous and one of the ancient cities in south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is an important center of South Indian religion, art, culture, and architecture. We can say most of the Great Living Chola Temples, which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, are situated in and around Thanjavur district. The exquisite Brihadesswara Temple is located in the centre of the city. It is also home to Tanjore paintings, because a painting style unique to the region.

Thanjavur city headquarter of Thanjavur District. The city has very important agricultural centre which is located in the Cauvery Delta region and it is called as the “Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu”. In Tamil it is called “Tamil Naatin Nerkalanjiyam”. Thanjavur district is administered by a Municipal Corporation covering an area of 36.33 Km2 and the population of the Thanjavur city is 2,22,943. Thanjavur is well connected by Road transport. The nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli International Airport, which is located 56 KMs away from the city and the nearest seaport is Karaikal Port which is situated 94 KMs away from Thanjavur. In 2011 Census, Thanjavur District had a population of 24,05,890 with a gender ratio of 1,035 females for every 1,000 males. The average literacy rate of the city was 83.14%.

History of Thanjavur

Thanjavur also called as "Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu". It is not only famous for agriculture, mostly known for temples and architectures, food, arts etc. Now, Let's see the history of Thajavur one by one in a brief manner. The history of Thanjavur region has been divided into 4 categories. They are explained below.

  1. Chola legacy
  2. Pandyas
  3. Nayaks
  4. Marattas
  5. British

Chola legacy

Thanjavur attained eminence under the Chola rulers who were supreme in South India during 9th to 12th centuries. They were not only exquisite rulers but also big builders, who constructed humongous, stunning temples in their empire, some of which contributes specimens of architecture. This district has unique value in the state in terms of culture, architecture, etc. here, many temples reflects the power, brilliance and architectural grandeurs of their authors displaying the unique and glorious expertise in sculpture, wood carving and paintings. This district has a rich cultural heritage like great Saraswathi Mahal library which is called in Tamil Sangeetha Mahal (hall of music), and dance well known as ‘Bharathanatyam’ and the celebration of stunning annual music festival at Thiruvaiyaru, in tribute of the great Saint Thiagarja, all bear indication to the cultural heritage.



From the period of Chola Kings was not only painstaking as era-making but also an epoch of the cultural renaissance. Thanjavur Chola rulers were the cradle of Tamil tradition. Civilization, Literature, and rare Tamil manuscripts in the Thanjavur library confirm this truth. Another important thing is the ancient culture and civilizations have not suffered much devastation of alien invasions, onslaughts and internal conflicts.

The populaces have resolutely concentrated their histrionic skills and talents in the field of literature, art, music, drama and dancing are well known for their prosperous cultural and religious passion. Here, the three main religious groups are Hindus, Muslims, and Christians, celebrate their festivals and fairs for the purpose of making mutual respect. On festival time, the Hindu devotees out-number all other participants in the shrines belonging to other religions. At the same time, in case of some Hindu festivals, the temples are assembled by a substantial number of peoples belonging to other religious group as well, who have a good faith and come in full respect to pay worship to the presiding deities.

In the Sangam age, the Cholas ruled over Thanjavur for about one thousand years. Here, there is a plant were formulated to extend the Chola regime by spreading their glory from Kanniyakumari in the south to Himalayas in the north. They also have their erected temples, cultivated fine arts, Anaicut, built ports and cities. Among Chola kings in Sangam literature, Koccengan and Karikala were the most significant. The name Karikala which means Tamil refers to a man with charred leg, because this king was met fire accident. He was imprisoned, assiled and deprived of his birth right by his villains. However, he managed to retain and great battle at Venni he overwhelmed Pandya and Chera rulers and positioned for himself and domination over them. He compacted both external and internal opposition and became complete master of his country. He modernize headquarter of Uraiyur, built up the eminent port of Puhar (Kaveripoompattinam) and patronized liberal arts and letters. Karikala was overwhelmed by two kings called Nalangilli and Nedungilli respectively.

They ruled from Puhar and Uraiyur correspondingly. The next Chola King Killivalavan the Chola of later Sangam age, Koccengan was more intelligent and memorable in both war and peace. He gave equal zeal for both Saivam and Vaishnavism, and built several Saivite temples including the very famous Jambukeswara Temple at Tirunaraiyur. After a good set back of Chola regime between 3rd to 9th centuries A.D., the Cholas became the powerful race of rulers. After that, Vijayalaya Chola (850 to 870) was the founder of the new Chola dynasty. He throngs away the Muttaraiyar Chieftains from Thanjavur and assisted the Pallava King to twig the surge of the Pandiyan over lordship. His son Aditya 1 (870 to 907) quickly over threw the Pallava King Aparajita and kicked out him from his province. After victorious the Kongu country and Pandyas, he again extended his Empire. He was an passionate Saivite like his father and construct many temples along the banks of Cauvery from Sahyadri to the sea.

After that, Parantaka 1 (907 to 955) was more influential and under his rule Cholas acquired an authority which foreshadowed the great empires of Rajaraja and Kullottunga. With the climb of Rajaraja 1 (985 to 1014), the days dawned to bring about new and intelligent chapter in the history of Cholas.

Both war and peace Rajaraja and his son Rajendra confirmed as the most outstanding personalities of their time. Rajaraja Chola overwhelmed Chera Country (Kerala) the entire of the Pandya country and Malainadu (Coorg) and extended his territory. He also invaded Ceylong and obliterated Anuradhapura, its capital. He is also the great statesman, administrator of his best to start his empire on a firm footing. He constructs the most important temple of Rajarajeswara at Thanjavur, the well sample of Tamil architecture. Another interesting thing is Rajaraja was overwhelmed by his son Rajendra 1 (1014 to 1044). So he had the benefit of possessing an empire which had already been structured on sound lines.

He undertook the voyage to north in search of the Ganges and assumed the title of Gangai Konda Cholan. His most significant voyage was to Kadaram which exhibits the astounding naval strength of the Cholas. Then Rajendra 1 was overwhelmed by four rulers. Namely, Rajahiraja, Rajendra II, Virarajendra and Adirajendra’s regin was large and it became weak inhis time and later the regime passed on to the Eastern Chalukyan. Rajendra Kulottunga (1070 to 1120) was a astonishing personality. He was more a statesman than a warrior. From the year 1120 to 1163, there are three Chola kings, like Vikrama Chola (1120 to 1135) Kulottunga II (1136 to 1150) and Rajaraja II (1151 to 1163) overwhelmed Kulottunga 1 and under all these rulers no wars or there is no invasions distracted the country. During the regime of Rajaraja III (1216 to 1246) and Rajendra III (1247 to 1279), the Pandyas are in the south and Hoysalas are in the north monopolized all the powers. In the beginning of the 13th century, the Chola Empire became vanished and it paves way to Pandyas primacy.

Pandya's regime



In the beginning of the 13th century, the Chola Empire became vanished and it paves way to Pandyas primacy. But the Pandyas regime was short lived. When the Pandyas Kingdom was in the thrones of civil war, the Sultan of Delhi, Muslim ruler Aladdin Khiliji, took advantage of it and overwhelmed the Pandyas, after that Thanjavur came under the Muslim rulers.

Nayak's regime

Thanjavur also retained under the rule of the Vijayanagara rulers for a long period. The Nayak regime was established during this period and Sevappa, the founder of Nayak rule of Thanjavur made his look on the scene (1532 to 1560). In the year 1560, Sevappa Nayak made over rule to his son Achuyutappa Nayak. But his rule unlike of his father was not one of unbroken peace. In a short period after getting old he renounced the circlet in favor of his son Ragunatha (1600 to 1630). During his regime, a Danish settlement was established at Tranquebar in the year 1620. The Nayaks of Thanjavur are very loyal to Vijaynagar after the battle of Talikotta and recuperate Vijayanagar in resisting the attacks of the Nayak of Madurai and their momentary helper Golkonda, but the commencement of the 17th Century was the end of the Vijayanagar Empire.

Maratta's regime

The Marattas came to Thanjavur in the late half of the 17th century. That time, Ekogi was the first Maratta ruler of Thanjavur (1676 to 1683). The Marattas ruled some time but they became vassals of the Mughal Governor of Karnataka. After, there were hostilities between the Arcot Nawab and the Maratta ruler of Thanjavur. The French and English also began interrupting in the internal affairs of South India. In later only the supremacy of English established. Saraboji II the adopted son of Tuljaji, was made King of Thanjavur in the year 1798 after accepting all the conditions imposed by the British Government. An agreement was signed between the Maratta rulers and English by high merit of which the status of the Raja was dwindling to a mere vassal.

British rule

The regime of Thanjavur was entirely given to English under the Treaty of 1799. The ruler of the Thanjavur was admitted to hold the fort of Thanjavur only with limited power of administration. When the ruler died in the year 1841, the Thanjavur fort was annexed to British and it became part of the Madras, it was remained under the British until 1947 when Bharath attained freedom.