Thanjavur or Tanjore is also known as the granary or the ‘rice bowl of Tamil Nadu.’ Home to several royal dynasties, Thanjavur has always been the epicenter of art and culture. Lying in the deltaic region of the river Cauvery, its fertile soil nourishes green paddy fields, coconut groves, vast gardens of mango, plantain trees and other verdant vegetation.

Attractions: The Brahadeeshwarar temple, also called the big temple, dedicated to Lord Siva is an outstanding example of architecture, declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Monument. About 1 km from the big temple is a magnificent palace, surrounded by huge fort walls, dating back to the 14th century A.D. Huge corridors, spacious halls, decorated rooms, tall observation towers, beautiful stucco works, wonderful fresco-painted walls and ceilings, an underground tunnel and intricate carvings await you here.

The city is dedicated owards promoting and reviving dying art forms, fine arts, dance, music, drama and theatre that support and encourage artisans to display their talent. Visit the Art gallery and the Royal Museum to see a priceless collection of statues and exhibits. The Maharaja’s library contains a rare and valuable collection of manuscripts, books, maps and paintings. Other places to see include the Durbar hall, the Sadukkam (Square) from where you can get a panoramic view of the town, the Cannon which is the largest in India, Sangeetha Mahal, an acoustically perfect music hall that is a striking example of the engineering skill of ancient builders and the Scwartz church built by Danish missionary Rev. Frederik Christian Schwartz, in 1779.

Tanjore is a base for other renowned temple towns nearby like Papanasam, Swamimalai and Kumbakonam that devotees throng to, in order to relieve themselves of doshas or impurities and attain the blessings of Goddess Durga, Lord Subramanya and the nine planets.

Shopping: Tanjore paintings that are intricately designed and inlaid with semi-precious stones, Tamil literature, handloom silks and fabric, hand-made clay dolls, temple jewelry, traditional musical instruments.

Accessibility: Easily accessible from all Indian cities by road, rail and air.

strong>Best time to visit: October – March when the weather is pleasant however the town is open to tourists through the year.