10 Things to do in Thanjavur

1.Brahadeshwara Temple

The biggest attraction of Thanjavur - The Brahadeshwara Temple, also known as the Big Temple. Built during the reign of the Great Chola emperor, Raja Raja Chola, this temple is an architectural marvel. Protected by deep trenches on either sides and the Grand Anaicut River running through another, this temple is a favorite among the pilgrims. The shrine itself is a 216 feet structure. The sanctum is dotted with paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods. The statue of Nandi the Bull welcomes at the entrance.

2.Gangaikonda Cholapuram

A place which is a testimony to the architectural and engineering genius of the region and the pride of one of the greatest empires of India - Chola Empire, Gangaikonda Cholapuram is a place worth exploring. The magnificence of the Brihadishwara temple along with few others will enchant you and thrill you with its history and engineering.

3.Shiva Ganga Garden

This garden lies within the Vijayanagar Fort and is open to the public. This garden is very well maintained and hence a pleasure to visit. A square tank is located in the Siva Ganga Garden built by the 16th century rulers for providing water to the Tanjore Palace is still in use and is well known for its sweet tasting water.

4. Vijayanagar Fort

This famous tourist spot is located nearly 2 km from the Brahadeeswara temple. This majestic fort was built by Nayaks and partly by Maratha rulers during the early 1550 AD. The fort houses a Tanjore Palace, Sangeetha Mahal, Library and an exquisite art gallery that includes many sculptures and paintings. The Shiva Ganga Gardens are also a part of the complex. Though the fort is mostly in ruins, it still echoes its strength and grandeur it must have once possessed.

5.Thanjai Mamani Koil

Thanjai Mamani Koil near Thanjavur is a set of three Vishnu temples, together called a Divyadesam. It is among the 108 such more temple premises in India. The temple has a local origin myth that has its roots in one of the many canonical myths about Lord Vishnu. He is worshipped over here chiefly in his Narasimha avatar, which he mainly took to defeat the evil king Hiranyakashipu to save his devotee Prahlad. Their idols are present here as well.

6.Alangudi Guru Temple

Alangudi and its temple are famous for being the Holy Sthala surrounded by the three holy rivers Cauvery, Kolidam and Vennaru. The place and the temple are intimately connected with each other and have some historical, mythological and local folklores tied to its past origin and present legend. The Alangudi Guru Temple is devoted to Abathsahayeswarar form of Shiva - the one who digested the poison of Vasuki Nag to save humanity from its toxin during samudra manthan. It also houses his female counterpart Elavarkuzhali and some other deities as well. The temple is also known for being the home of Devguru Brihaspati or the planet Jupiter. As per Hindu Mythology, the nine planets are considered to be gods of heaven, where Earth, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are replaced by Sun, Moon, Rahu and Ketu. Tamil Nadu has nine temples dedicated to each of these nine celestial beings, and this one is for Jupiter. Staying true to the yellow hue of the planet we see in pictures, gifting yellow garments here is considered sacred. The transition of Jupiter from one zodiac to another's constellation is celebrated here as a big festival. Other festivals like Thai Poosam and Chithhtirai Purnima are also celebrated with pomp and show.

7.Chandra Bagwan Temple

This temple is dedicated to the Moon God. Located almost 25km from the town, this temple is largely visited by those who believe that they are under the bad effects of the Moon as per their horoscopes. They believe that by offering prayers with utmost faith to the Moon God, their ill fates can change for the better.

8.Bangaru Kamakshi Amman Temple

Bangaru Kamakshi Temple is located in a very well-known and crowded locality of Thanjavur, which is a residential as well as a commercial hub. This temple is situated amidst a few others, but it sure holds its own importance. A large part of its popularity lies in the history and legend of the temple. The word Bangaru means 'gold'. This is an obvious reference to the golden body of the deity. However, if you visit the temple, you will see that the goddess' face is black. This once again has a direct connection to its past. When the idol was shifted to Thanjavore from Kanchipuram, to hide it from the invaders and thieves, the face of the goddess was smeared with a black substance called 'punugu'. The temple authorities maintain that tradition to date, and it has become a part of the temple's legacy. Lots of people from the surrounding areas visit this temple to offer prayers to Goddess Kamakshi.

9.Schwartz Church

The Schwartz church in Thanjavur is one of the oldest churches of India, though it has not gained much popularity throughout the country. It is because unlike the rest, the cornerstone of this church was laid down by an Indian king, Maratha ruler Sarfoji II. When the Marathas ruled over Thanjavur, he came in touch with the Prussian Lutheran missionary Rev Friedrich Schwartz and became his disciple. Although he retained his original Hindu religion, there was a great deal of love, friendship and respect between the two. To pay tribute, Sarfoji built the church in around 1779. Earlier it was just called Big Church, and it stood tall and white in the Thanjavur Gardens or the Sivaganga Park.

10. Swami Malai Temple

Located in Thanjavur, the Swami Malai temple has great religious significance in the Hindu community of south India. It is one of the Arupadaiveedu, the six main abodes of Murugan, each of which marks the six different phases of his life. The temple stands on the ground where Lord Murugan is believed to have passed on profound knowledge of the universe to his own father Lord Shiva as his Guru. Thus, this particular temple is a commemoration of that.