Tourist places in Thanjavur

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 has lot of tourist spots, mostly Hindu stunning temples. Let's see important tourist places one by one.

Thanjavur Brahadeeswarar Temple (Big Temple)

The Brahadeeswarar Temple is also called as Big Temple which is dedicated to Lord Siva. It was built by the great Chola King, Raja Raja Chola I in the year 985 to 1012 A.D. It is an exquisite, outstanding, stunning, humongous, marvelous, beautiful, excellent, gorgeous example of Chola architecture. Recognizing its unique architectural brilliance, UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Monument. The 64.8 meter tall Vimanam (Tower) is authentication to the engineering skill of the Cholas. It has gigantic “Mahalingam” in the shrine, with the size of 4 meters in height.

Another interesting thing is, a monolithic Nandhi chiseled out of a single rock, with the size of 5.94 meters of length,2.51 meters of breadth and 3.66 meters in height. It is the second largest Nandhi in India. Here, Nandhi or bull is the vagana (vehicle) of Lord Siva. Exquisite Chola fresco paintings decorated the inner walls of the temple. It is one of the outstanding temples in world; it contributes higher in Dravidian temple architecture. What makes the unique comparing the other renowned temples in India? The answer is, at the big temple the vimanam as oars high while the gopuram is smaller. The 64.8 Meter tall, 14 tier pyramid shaped vimanam raised from a square base is topped by an enormous monolithic cupola carved from an 81.3 tones of bloc granite. It was raised with the aid of a 6 KMs long inclined plane.

Thanjavur Royal Palace

The Thanjavur Royal Palace or Maratha Palace, known locally as Aranmanai, it is the official residence of the Bhonsle family who ruled over the Thanjavur region in the year 1674 to 1855. It was constructed by rulers of Thanjavur Nayak Kingdom. After the fall of Nayak regime, it functioned as the official residence of the Thanjavur Maratha. It is located 1 KM away from the Brahadeeswarar Temple. It is surrounded by huge fort walls and it belongs to 14th century A.D. here museum also situated with vast collection.

Thanjavur Art Gallery

This art gallery has an exquisite collection of bronze icons, stone sculpture and pieces of art. The collection is very unique for its representation of Hindu gods and goddesses, myths and legends. It is opened on all days except national holidays.

Saraswathi Mahal Library

Thanjavur Saraswathi Mahal Library is one of the few libraries in the globe with texts of the medieval period. It is a fortune house of knowledge carefully fostered and cherish by successive regime of Nayaks and the Marathas of Thanjavur. It contains a rare and very valuable assortment of manuscripts, books, paintings and maps on all aspects of Literature, Culture and Art. The Encyclopedia Britannica, on its world survey describes “the most remarkable Library was made a public library in 1918.

Sangeetha Mahal

Sangeetha Mahal is located in the Palace. Acoustically it is a perfect music hall. It is one of the striking examples of the engineering expertise of prehistoric builders.

Royal Museum and Serfoji Memorial hall

It is located in within Thanjavur Royal Museum. It has excellent collections. Serfoji II (September 24, 1777 – March 7, 1832) was the last ruler of the Maratha principality of Tanjore to exercise complete dominion over his dominions. His offspring, however, have managed to thrive as titular Maharajahs of Thanjavur to the present day. Serfoji belonged to the Bhonsle clan of Marathas and was inclined from Shivaji's half-brother Venkoji. He ruled Thanjavur from 1798 until his death in 1832.

Schwartz Church

This Church belongs to 18th century; it is the legacy of Thanjavur colonial past, stands to the east of the Sivaganga Tank. It was founded by the Danish missionary, reverend Frederick Christian Schwartz, in the year 1779. When he died in the year 1798, the Maratha ruler, Serfoji II, donated a striking marble tablet, which is made by John Flaxman and this has been placed at the western end of the church.

Rajaraja Cholan Manimandapam

It is located in the southern part of Thanjavur. It was built in the year 1995 at the time of 8th World Tamil Conference. It has a museum in its ground floor. It is opened for all days except Wednesdays.

Sivaganga tank and park

This water tank lies beyond the North West of big temple. It is surrounded by huge walls and it is well known for its sweet water. Currently, the government created the excellent park here.

Rajagopala Beerangi (Cannon)

This is an enormous cannon placed at the eastern gate of the fort. The place is known ‘Beerangi Medu’. Here, the cannon are amazing in size and it is the biggest cannon in India. There is no holiday. Timings are 10.00 AM to 6.00 PM.

Tholkappiyar Sedukkam

This Square was constructed during the 8th World Tamil Conference. You can have a panoramic view of Thanjavur town from this tower. There is no fee collected. Timings are 10.00 AM to 7.00 PM.

Poondi Madha Basilica

It is located in 35 KMs away from Thanjavur and the nearest railway station is Budalur. It is one of the Roman Catholic Pilgrim Centre like Velenakanni. Here the accomodation is provided by the Church authorities.


Here the presiding deities are Arulmighu Mullaivananathar and the Karpagarahshambigai. This temple is located in the riverbed of Vettaru a tributary of Cauvery, away from 20 KMs northeast of Thanjavur at distance of 20 KMs southwest from Kumbakonam. It is one of the very old temple which is quoted by the Great Shaivite saints Thirugnana Sabandar and Thirunavukkarasar.


Sri Durgai Amman temple is located at Pateeswaram, a village located near Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India. This Durga when worshipped by the Cholas was so very dominant that the Chola kings have left an unforgettable mark in the history of India by their constructional work. With the blessings of goddess Durga, the Chola princes were able to construct 1,000 Sivalingams. This Durga is very powerful.

Manora fort, Thanjavur

Rajah Serfoji was built this 8 storey victory town in the year 1814 for the purpose of commemorate the victory of the British over the Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo. It is located 20 KMs away from the South of Pattkottai town, in Tanjavur distirct.


Papanasam taluk is located 30 KMs away from Thanjavur town. Here, there are two temples; The pallaivanatha Swamy temple built by the Chola Kinga and other is the 108 Sivalayam temples. Here, there is a Granary (Storehouse of Paddy) which has 86 feet width and 36 feet height and the capacity of 3,000 kalam. It is constructed by Nayaks between 1600 to 1634. State Archaeological Department recognized as a monument. You can see the 108 Sivalingams only in the temple which is in Papanasam.

Swami Malai

It is very famous temple and it is one of the house of Lord Murugan. It is situated 32 KMs away from Thanjavur. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shbramanya (Lord Murugan).


It was constructed by Raja Raja Cholan II, it is known as Airateswara or Darasuram temple. It is an excellent, exquisite example of 12th century chola architecure. It has unique miniature and sculptures. It has been declared as a world heritage Monument. During the 14th century the large stone statues encircled the temple were replaced with brick and mortar statues like those found at the Big temple, in Thanjavur.


Kumbakonam is the temple city which is located 40 KMs away from Thanjavur. Here there are humongous numbers of temples are located. Here, I am going to tell some important temple details only.

Uppiliyappan Temple

Uppiliyappan temple is 6 KMs away from Kumbaknona and 46 KMs away from Thanjavur. You can see the statue of Lord Venkatesaperumal like the Tirupathi Balaji. Tirupathi Balaji also called as Uppiliyappar.


It is 8 KMs away from Kumbakonam and 48 KMs away from Thanjavur. The River Cauvery passes through this village. The village is also known as Madhyarjunam and the presiding deity of the temple is Mahalingeswarar and goddess Perunamulaiyammai.

Chakarapani Temple

It is one of the very famous temple in Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to lord Vishnu situated in Kumbakonam. It is situated 2 KMs away from North west from the Kumbakonam railway station. In this temple the Vishnu appears in the form of a Chakra or discus for the pride of Surya (the sun), who subsequently became his devotee. Like lord Siva, Chakrapani has a third eye on his forehead.

Sarangapani Temple

Sarangapani Temple is the Hindu temple which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, situated in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the Divya Desams, which means, 108 temples of Vishnu revered in Nalayira Divya Prabandham by the 12 poet saints, or Alwars.


Here, there is a cluster of Navagraha temples which is located near Kumbakonam. But each temple is situated in different village. Each temple is considered as abode of one of the navagrahams. However, the most of the temples dedicated to Lord Siva. The Navagraha temples are (9 temples) enumerated below.


It is one of the Navagraha temple which is dedicated to shrine Raahu, one of the celestial bodies of Navagrahas. Legend says that serpents Aadi Seshan, Dakshan and Kaarkotakan worshipped Shiva here. Legend also has it that King Nala worshipped Shiva here as in Tirunallar.

Thirunallar temple

It is the only temple in India dedicated to Lord Sani (Planet Saturn). When the planet Saturn transits between zodiac signs, accurately millions trong this shrine. The legendary king Nala is said to have been relieved of his sufferings which were due to the malefic influence of Saturn, after worshipping here. Here, there are several Teerthams (tanks) which is situated, the Nala teertam is the most significant one. By bathing here, it is assumed that one is washed away of all kinds of misfortune and affliction.


It is one of the ancient Saivite temple which is located in the Thanjavur District. It is onf the nine celestial bodies worshipped by Shiva. Rahu and Kethu are linked with the lengend of the churning of the milky ocean by Lord Shiva. There is a holy place which is dedicated to Kethy in this temple.

Vaitheeswaran temple

In Vaitheeswaran temple, there is a special shrine which is dedicated to Ankarakan or Chevaai (Mars). The assumption is that offering prayers to Ankarakan will give guts, heroism, victory and strength. While entering the temple, first we should go Siddhamrita tank. Here the water has curative properties for various skin ailments. There is a huge assumption that a visit here would remove all hurdles which delay marriage.

Suryanar temple

It is located 21 KMs away from Swamimalai, Thanjavur District. This temple was constructed by King Kulottunga Chola I in the year 1100 AD. Suriyanar temple is dedicated to Lord Sun (Suryan). Surya is worshipped for health, success and prosperity. Every year in the mid January, the harvest festival is celebrated for the purpose of thanks giving and honour for Surya.

Alangudi - ‘Gurusthalam’

Alangudi is considered as ‘Gurusthalam’ (Abode of Jupiter) where Lord Dankshinamurthy is detained in immense admiration. The shrine lures large number of devotees in the globe. The consort of Lord Siva, Parvathi is said to have reborn on the banks of Amrita Pushkarini with the temple area before reunited with Siva.


There is vague about when this temple was built, historical people agree that this temple existed since before the perception of the Bhakthi period (before the 7th Century A.D). This temple is dedicated to the Lord Moon (Thingal in Tamil and Chandra in Sanskrit). A visit to this temple will paves comfortable and long life. According to Astrology, Chandra is the planet that eliminate stress and sadness.


Kanchanur Temple is dedicated to Lord Sukran (Venus) and this temple maintained by Madurai Adhinam. It is located the village of Tiruvaavaduturai. This temple is also called as Palaasavanam, Agnistalam and Bhrammapuri. Bhramma (Lord for creation) is said to have been sacred with vision of Shiva’s marriage with Parvathi here. Humans visit to implore for the well-being of their wife.


This temple has reference in Valmiki Ramayana. Therefore it confirms that, the temple is existed more than 3,000 years. This temple is dedicated to Budhan (Mercury) and it is located in Tiruvenkadu. Budhan is said to give knowledge and intelligence.

Other temples

Airawatheswarar, Durga Temple, Abathsageswarar Koil, Saptharisheeswarar Koil, Kambagareswarar Koil, Mahalingaswamy Koil, Naganathaswamy Koil, Suriya Baghavan Koil, Kabardeesar Koil, Swaminatha Swami Koil, Uppiliappan Temple, Senjadaiappar Koil, Durga Temple, Mahamariamman Koil, Srinivasa Perumal Koil, Saranatha Perumal Koil, Vanadurga Koil, Venkatachalapathy Koil, Thirupadalvanam, Abathsageswarar Koil, Satchinatha Swami Koil, Vinyagar Koil, Karparakshambigai Koil, Pasupatheeswarar Koil, Aadanoor, Ammankudi, Avoor, Azhaga puthur(arisirkarai pputhur), Darasuram, Enkan, Ganapathiagraharam, Haridwaramangalam, Innamboor, Kapisthalam, Koneri rajapuram(thirunallam), Kottaiyoor, (koteeswaram), Kudavasal(kudavayil), Adhi kumbeswara swami Temple, Nageswaraswami temple, Someswarar temple, Kasi viswanathar temple, Bana pureeswara temple, Sarangapani temple, Chakrapani temple, Ramaswamy temple, Kuttalam, Mannargudi, Mayiladuthurai, Nannilam(madhuvanam), Nalloor, Natchiar koil, Oothukadu, Pasupathi koil, Patteeswaram, Pazhayarai, Poovanoor, Senganoor, Sirugudi(sootchumapuri), Swamimalai, Therazhundoor, Thirucherai, Thirukkannamangai, Thirukkarugavoor, Thirukkodikkaval, Thirumanancheri, Thirumangalakkudi, Thirumarugal, Thirunaraiyoor, Thiruneelakkudi, Thiruppampuram, Thirupanandal, Thirupurambiyam, Thirubuvanam, Thiruvaigavoor, Thiruvalanchuzhi, Thiruvanchiyam (srivanchiyam), Thiruvavaduthurai, Thiruveezhimazhai, Thiruvidai marudoor, Thiruvisanaloor, Uppilippan koil, Valangaiman, Here, I have covered only few famous temples in Thanjavur District. But, it has vast, several temples in and around Thanjavur. Hope, I will cover all the temples in future.