Things to do in Thanjavur for a Great Trip

Thanjavur, the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, is one of the important UNESCO heritage sites of India. This city is a written document of our ancestors, history, art & culture. Its art & culture is renowned in the world. The list of places to visit here is endless.

Table of Contents

  1. Things to do in Thanjavur
  2. About Thanjavur
  3. How to Plan a trip to Thanjavur
  4. Places to stay in Thanjavur

Things to do in Thanjavur

There are many places near Thanjavur that can help you make the most of your trip. Here are a few tourist places nearby that can be worth a visit.

  • Visit Cuddalore. It is famous for its beaches and temples. The approximate distance is 150 km.
  • Marvel at the unique architecture of houses at Karaikudi. This is at a distance of around 105 km from Thanjavur.
  • If you want to continue your religious pilgrimage or want to witness some inspiring temple architecture, then plan a trip to Srirangam – a temple island at a distance of around 60 km from Thanjavur.
  • Plan a trip to Velankanni which is around 100 km from Thanjavur. People from all religions & faith visit this town. It is one of the famous spiritual destinations in India

You can also hire a car rental in Thanjavur to cover all the spots in and around Thanjavur with ease.

Temples in Thanjavur

While there are many tourist attractions in Thanjavur, it is primarily famous as a religious destination. The temple town has around 90-100 temples. Here is a quick look at some famous temples in Tanjore.

Brihadeshwara Temple or Peruvudaiyar Kovil

Brihadeeswarar Temple History

According to the Brihadeeswarar temple history, the temple was built in the year 1010 CE by Raja Chola I. In the Tamil language, the word ‘Brihadishvarain’ means ‘Big Lord’. Hence, this temple is often referred to as Thanjavur Big Temple. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Brihadeshwara temple architecture epitomizes a fully-realized Tamil architecture-based temple.

Interesting Facts
  • This temple has the tallest vimanam or temple tower in the world. The kumbham or the structure on the top weighs around 80 tons.
  • It is believed that the temple was made using around 130,000 tons of granite.
  • Temple Mystery: Locals believe that the Tanjore temple shadow never reaches the ground (a fact that scientists have proven wrong)
Temple Timings & Dress Code

The Brihadeshwara temple timings are from 6 am to 12:30 pm and 4 pm to 8:30 pm on all days.
While there is no dress code specified, it is better to be traditionally dressed and avoid modern clothes like mini-skirts, low-wait jeans, shorts, and even sleeveless tops while visiting the temple.

Brihadisvara Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram

Brihadisvara Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Thanjavur
Temple History

As a part of the new capital at Gangaikonda, this temple was built by Rajendra Chola I in 1035 AD. It shares the same design as the Brihadeshwara Temple but is more refined and smaller in size. The King used to instruct all other kings that he defeated in battle to send him pots of water from the River Ganga. These pots were emptied into the temple’s water tank or Kunda. The name Gangaikonda is derived from two words – Ganga and Kunda.

Interesting Facts
  • The Nandi idol is sculpted in stucco and fallen stones in a way that reflects sunlight to the sanctum.
  • The vimanam is slightly smaller than the Brihadeshwara Temple
Temple Timings & Dress Code

The temple is open for visitors from 8 am to 9 pm on all days. While there is no dress code specified, it is better to be traditionally dressed and avoid modern clothes like mini-skirts, low-wait jeans, shorts, and even sleeveless tops while visiting the temple.

Airavateswara Temple

Airavateswara Temple, Thanjavur
Airavateswara Temple
Temple History

The smallest but most exquisite temple of the three Great Living Chola Temples, the Airavateswara Temple was built by Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century. The temple is named after Airavata, the white elephant of Lord Indra. According to legends, Airavata’s skin had turned black due to a curse by the sage Durvasa. It was restored to white after bathing in the temple’s tank. Another story associated with this temple narrates Lord Yama taking bath in the temple’s tank.

Interesting Facts
  • The temple features singing steps that produce musical notes when walked on.
  • It is an amazing confluence of religion, art, and culture.
Temple Timings & Dress Code

The temple is open for visitors from 6 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 9 pm on all days. While there is no dress code specified, it is better to be traditionally dressed and avoid modern clothes like mini-skirts, low-wait jeans, shorts, and even sleeveless tops while visiting the temple.

https://twitter.com/tskrishnan/status/1410421086127202305

Famous things from Tanjore

  • Lush green fields Temples – the Great Living Chola Temples and various other temples and places of religious interest
  • Carnatic Music – It is believed that Carnatic Music and Bharatnatyam originated from this place.
  • Dancing dolls – Where the weight and center of gravity are put at the bottom of the doll making it dance in oscillations.
  • Silk Weaving – Thanjavur weaving is famous for fine counts of silk and exquisite zari work.
  • Tanjore Paintings – Tanjore paintings are known for their extravagant depictions of deities using vibrant colours and gaudy embellishments, especially gold foil.

Places to visit in Thanjavur

Apart from the temples mentioned above, you can book a cab in thanjavur and visit the following places for a complete experience.

Martha Palace

Thanjavur Palace
Thanjavur Palace

One of the most beautiful sightseeing places, the Maratha Palace or Nayak Palace was the official residence of the Maratha rulers from 1674 to 1855. It is an amazing architectural structure and definitely worth a visit.

Entry fee for the palace

The entry fee is Rs 50. You can carry your camera along for an additional charge of Rs 30.

Location

It is located at the center of the city on East Main Street and close to the Brihadeshwara Temple.

Schwartz Church

Schwartz Church- things to do in Thanjavur

Built in 1779 in the honor of the Danish missionary FC Schwartz by Raja Serofji, the Schwartz Church is a must-visit to experience its pristine beauty and serenity.

Entry fee for Schwartz Church – None

Location

It is located in the Thanjavur Palace Garden and is merely 500 meters from the Brihadeshwara Temple.

There are many other tourist places like Saraswati Mahal Library, Shiva Ganga Garden, Vijayanagar Fort, Poondi Madha Church, Manora Fort, Cholan Art Village etc. All kinds of travelers can find things to do that will keep them mesmerized.

Things to shop

Here are some things that you can buy in Thanjavur:

  • Silk Weaves
  • Tanjore Paintings
  • Dancing Dolls
  • Traditional Handicrafts

Best place to eat in Thanjavur

Here are some best places to eat:

  • Anbu Lassi Shop, South Rampart – famous for Badam Milk and Bombay Lassi
  • Dhivya Sweets, East Main Street – try the hot samosas and masala sandwiches
  • Sahana Vegetarian Restaurant, Attar Mohalla – for lip-smacking veg thalis
  • Vasantha Bhavan, South Rampart Road – best place for south Indian food
  • Sathars Restaurant, Gandhiji Road – for Mughlai food

About Thanjavur

Thanjavur, formerly known as Tanjore, is an important center of religion, art, and culture in South India. It is home to most of the Great Living Chola Temples that feature in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Monuments. Further, the famous Tanjore painting finds its roots in here. It is also known as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu due to the extensive paddy grown in the region. Thanjavur’s history is very fascinating and attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is located in the eastern part of Tamil Nadu.

Architectural splendor

Thanjavur is known for temples that stand testament to the exemplary South Indian architecture of yesteryears. Of these, the most famous Brihadeshwara temple is one the best examples of Dravidian architecture constructed in granite. There are various other temples and structures that allow you to marvel at South Indian architecture in all its glory.

How to plan a trip to Thanjavur

Best time to visit

The months October to March are the best for visiting Thanjavur since the temperature is comfortable (between 20 and 29 degrees C) and you can make the most out of your trip. During summers, temperatures can climb up to 37 degrees C making it difficult to move around during the day. This town can experience heavy rainfall during the monsoon months.

How to Reach Thanjavur from Chennai

Thanjavur is well connected to all important cities via a network of highways and well-maintained roads. Here are some ways to travel from Chennai:

By Train

Trichy or Tiruchirappalli is the closest railhead to Thanjavur. There are around 67 trains that ply between Chennai and Tiruchirappalli regularly. Of these, around 36 trains run every day. The fastest train is the Chennai Egmore – Madurai Tejas COVID-19 special which takes under 4 hours to reach. Trichy is at a distance of around 55-60 km from Thanjavur. When reached, you can book a cab from trichy to thanjavur to reach there with 1 hour.

By Road

Chennai is around 350 km by road from Thanjavur. You can take the Chennai – Villupuram – Trichy – Kanyakumari Rd (around 345 km) or the more scenic and shorter East Coast Rd and NH36 (around 320 km). You can book a Chennai to Thanjavur taxi and reach within 6-7 hours.

By Flight

Tiruchirappalli International Airport is the closest airport. There are six flights between Chennai and Trichy every week. The distance between Trichy and Thanjavur is around 57 km. You can book a cab from Trichy to Thanjavur and reach there in less than two hours.

How to Reach Thanjavur from Coimbatore

Here are some ways to travel to Thanjavur from Coimbatore:

By Train

Trichy or Tiruchirappalli is the closest railhead to Thanjavur. There are around 12 trains that ply between Coimbatore and Tiruchirappalli regularly. Of these, around 8 trains run every day. The fastest train is the Coimbatore – Mayiladuturai COVID-19 Jan Shatabdi Special that takes under 4 hours to reach. Trichy is at a distance of around 55-60 km from Thanjavur. From Trichy, you can book a cab to reach your destination.

By Road

Coimbatore is around 270 km by road from Thanjavur. You can take the NH81 for an amazing drive. You can book a Coimbatore to Thanjavur taxi and reach within 5-6 hours.

By Flight

Tiruchirappalli International Airport is the closest airport to Thanjavur.

Best places to stay in Thanjavur

Here is a quick list of hotels and resorts to stay in Thanjavur:

  • Svatma, Blake Higher Secondary School Road
  • Naadi Stay Inn, Sri Saratha Nagar
  • Hotel RK, Ramakrishna Nagar
  • Rams Inn, Medical College Road
  • Sangam Hotel, Opposite Vinothakan Hospital
  • Grand Ashok – A Bergamont Group Of Hotels, Opposite RTO Office
  • Hotel Raks, Near New Bus Stand

Best Road-trips to Thanjavur

Route NameDistanceTime
Madurai to Thanjavur190 km3 hours
Pondicherry to Thanjavur216 km4 hours
Coimbatore to Thanjavur272 km5 hours and 37 minutes
Yercaud to Thanjavur211 km 4 hours and 42 minutes
Kodaikanal to Thanjavur254 km5 hours

Download our Savaari car rental app for a smooth and pleasant journey.

Tamil Nadu is filled with historic places, temples & monuments and you can access all these places like Thanjavur from Chennai very easily. Access Savaari’s curated list of such places near Chennai.

About the author

An engineer by degree, a writer by passion, I’m a lover of fiction, classics and Shah Rukh Khan. When I’m not busy challenging the status quo, one word at a time, I fancy reading, shoe-hoarding and petting my cat.

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