A former capital of the grand Chola Empire, Thanjavur is a bustling and innovative Indian city. The past weaves its way through the fabric of modern life in Thanjavur with its collection of ancient temples, gardens, galleries, museums and shrines.
Things to do in Thanjāvūr
Visiting the city’s temples is an excellent way to connect with the past and present. At Brihadishwara Temple, you can admire Shiva figures in dancing poses as well as 81 statues depicting classical Bharatnatyam dancers. Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple is home to the largest shivling in India, built from a single chunk of limestone that rests atop a rare chandrakanta stone.
From Brihadishwara Temple, you can walk to Shiva Ganga Garden, originally built by Chola King Vesappa Nayakkar with sacred waters from the Ganges. It’s a fun place for kids to enjoy a toy train, small zoo, amusement park and cable car. You can also swim in the park’s pool or rent a boat for paddling around the lake.
Thanjavur Palace Complex is host to the 16th-century Royal Palace as well as the extraordinary Thanjavur Art Gallery. This is where you’ll find collections from the Chola period dating back to the 8th century, including bronze and stone idols. The Saraswati Mahal Library holds about 60,000 rare manuscripts.
You’ll find both traditional and contemporary cuisine in Thanjavur. For lunch, fill up on thalis and vegetarian dishes at Sahana. In the evening, try North Indian curries and biryanis at Vasanta Bhavan or sample local Chettinad fare at Diana restaurant.
Getting around Thanjāvūr
Tiruchirappalli International Airport has rental cars for the 64-kilometre ride to Thanjavur. In the city, bike rentals, buses and auto rickshaws are accessible near the central bus stand and the New Bus Station.