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Thanjavur was the ancient capital of the Chola kings whose origins, go back to the beginning of the Christian era. Power struggles between these groups were a constant feature of their early history, with one or other gaining the ascendancy at various times. The Cholas' turn for empire building came between 850 and 1270 AD and , at the height of their power. Probably the greatest chola emperors were Raja Raja who was responsible for building the Brihadishwara Temple ( Thanjavur main attraction ) and his son Rajendra-I whose navy competed with the Arabs for controls of the Indian Ocean trade routes and who was responsible for bringing Srivijaya under Chola control.
Many of the smaller towns in the Thanjavur area are well known for their impressive Chola temples. The distances of each from Thanjavur are in brackets
Thirukandiyur (10 km) the temple here, Brahma Sirakandeshwara and Harsaba Vimochana Perumal, are noted for their fine sculptural work.
Thiruvaiyaru (13 km) the famous temple here is dedicated to Siva and is known as Panchanatheshwara. Accommodation is completely booked out every January, when an eight day music festival is held in honour of the saint, Thiagaraja.
Tiruvarur (55 km) the Thyagarajaswami Temple ar Turuvarur, between Thanjavur and Nagapattinam, boasts an 807-pillared hall and the largest temple chariot in Tamil Nadu. It's dragged through the streets during the 10 days car festival in March. There are numerous cheap places to stay around the bus stand.
Velenkanni (94 km) this is the famous Christian pilgrim centre, the site of the famous Catholic Roman Church of our Lady of Good Health, people from all religions flock to the Church, many donating gold and silver models of cured body parts. A major festival is held at the beginning of September.
By RAIL: Thanjavur is well connected by rail with Trichy , Madurai, Nagore, Tirupati, Rameshwaram and madras directly.
By ROAD: Thanjavur is served by a good road system connected to all the major cities of the country.
Brihadeshwara Temple & Fort
Thanjavur Palace & Museum
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