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Home >> Destinations>> Tanjore

Tanjore Royal Palace Tanjore is nowadays is most famous for its Sri Brihadeeswarar Temple, a remarkable example of Dravidian artisanship, which has exquisitely detailed Gopurams (towers) carved with images of Hindu deities on the outside, whilst on the inside the carvings are all Buddhist. Just before sunset the hues given off the stonework and the flocks of birds swooping and diving give the temple a magical quality and it is a popular place for the locals to gather and gossip about the day.

However, Tanjore also has a fascinating history; it is nestled in the highly fertile delta of the Cauvery River, and was the capital of the Chola dynasty from the 10th to the 14th century. The long religious revival that began under the Pallavas in Kanchipuram culminated in the building of Tanjore's magnificent Brihadiswara Temple by the two greatest Chola Kings, Rajaraja 1 and his son Rajendra 1 in the 11th century.

Brihadeeswara Temple - Tanjore Brihadeeswara Temple
This temple, the main attraction of Tanjore was built by Rajaraja Chola and reflects the contribution of the Cholas to the development of arts here. Listed as a World Heritage site, it is characterised by its unique structure. Unlike other South Indian temples, the Brihadeeswara temple has a towering vimana and a small gopuram. It was constructed out of a single piece of granite weighing around 80 tonnes. The statue of Nandi was weighs 25 tonnes and is one of the largest of Nandi bulls in India. The temple is endowed with a spacious ground, a number of pillared halls, shrines and around 250 lingams.
Tanjore Palace - TanjoreThe Palace
The Palace of Tanjore also makes for an important tourist destination. It is characterised by its vast corridors, large halls, its shady courtyards and observation towers. It started being built by the Nayaks in the mid-16th century but was completed by the Marathas. The palace now functions as the Royal Museum, housing a collection of royal remains.
Art Gallery - Tanjore Art Gallery
The Art Gallery is another place that should not be missed while at Tanjore. It has a collection of around 250 Chola bronze statues and 150 stone statues dating back to the 9th and 12th century and belonging to the many groups like the Bhairava, Umasahita Shiva, Kali and Rama Lakshmana.
Saraswati Mahal Library - Tanjore Saraswati Mahal Library
Built during 1700 AD and located by the art gallery, this library has a huge collection of 30,000 palm leaf and paper manuscripts written in Indian and European languages. It also has some Tamil treatises on medicine and commentaries from the Sangam period. The nearby museum houses some interesting exhibits like the Ramayana written on a palm leaf.
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