Tanjore: The Temple Town

Posted: January 8, 2019

Tanjore is a place which is rich in culture and history. The author narrates a memorable trip to the beautiful temple city.

Tanjore or Thanjavur is a town situated in the state of Tamil Nadu in south India. It has a strong association with the history of Tamil Nadu. It was ruled by many great kings like Cholas, Nayakas and Marathas. This town is well known for its paddy production and is popularly known as ‘Storehouse of Paddy’. ‘Chola Nadu Chorudaitthu’ is an adage that can be found in Tamil Literature which highlights the quality of good hospitality. It is a sign of prosperity and assures that no one is deprived of food. Moreover, it is a place of origin of rich art and culture. The biggest testimony stands in the form of the temple in Tanjore. It is a world heritage site. The temple of Tanjore is called  Bruhadeesvarar Temple and was built by Raja Raja Chola.

My travel experience with this place is filled with many memories of hot and sweltering summer days. It all happened during the summer vacations. We hired a mini-van to accommodate all our family members and started to travel to Tanjore. It took about 7 hours to reach the place from Chennai. Though we started early in the morning,  by the time we reached the temple, it was noon. Without chappals in the big temple corridor, our feet turned red and we jumped and hopped, trying to find shade. We were unable to sit because of  the rock flooring. As we entered the main part of the temple, we were overjoyed, as it was cool. We did the darshan of the lord and forgot about the sufferings.

Tanjore is a place that inspired many poets and poetess to write their best works in Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit and Marathi. The great trinity of Carnatic music was patronised by the great kings of Tanjore. The king Karikaalachola built a dam across the river Cauvery, which is a famous tourist attraction, as it is built with rocks and named as Kallanai. There are many Saivites and Vaishnavites shrines in and around Tanjore.  Tanjore dolls, Tanjore Paintings and Tanjore plates are three major symbols which depict Tanjore’s cultural heritage.

There are many Universities and Libraries in Tanjore. One of the Marathas’ mahal has now become a world famous manuscripts library called ‘Thanjavur saraswathi mahal’. During all these visits, we also relished tender coconuts, raw mangoes, cucumbers topped with red chilly powders, guavas, ice apples, ice creams, fruit juices and the special halwa made out of moong dal called Asoka, which is a speciality of Thanjavur. Musical instruments like Veena, Thavil, Mrudangam and Kangira are finely crafted in this place. With loads of memories and shopping bags we got back to Chennai.

Image Source: Facebook/Tanjore City

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