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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thanjavur trip

We made this one day trip to Thanjavur a.k.a. Tanjore on 26th Dec 2013. We traveled by Train from Bangalore. It is a small place so the local travel was best done by hiring auto-rickshaws from each location. We stayed at a hotel that is slightly away from the town area. It was a calm and nice location on the Pudukottai road. 

Overall it was an interesting trip, the highlight being that of Big Temple, a.k.a. Brahadeeswara Temple / Brihadisvara Temple / Peruvudaiyar Kovil / Raja Rajeswara Temple. The other places in Thanjavur, including Maratha Palace, Sarasvati Mahal and other museums around were all in a bad state and craving for maintenance. It appears like the responsibilities to take care of these historic pieces of importance have all been disowned by all the concerned people. It was a pity to see these priceless ancient structures in pathetic shambles.


Here are the places we visited during this one day trip and the ticket rates.

1) Big temple - Entry free; Footwear storage Rs 2 per set
2) Archeological department common entrance - Entry Rs 10 per head; Still camera free for Indians
    [Save the ticket; the same ticket holds good for some the other entrances spread in the area]
       i) Royal Museum - Entry Rs 2 per head
      ii) Rajah II Serfoji's Hall, Sadar Mahal Palace - Entry Rs 4 per head; Still camera Rs 30 for Indians
     iii) Maratha (or Mahratta) Palace Darbar Hall - Use the common entrance ticket
     iv) The Art Gallery - Rs 7 per head; Still camera Rs 30 for Indians
       v) Sarasvati Mahal Library - Entry free
      vi) Bell Tower - Use the common entrance ticket
      vii) Sarja Maadi - Use the common entrance ticket


Here is a link to the Google map of places we visited during our trip with legends used in this map pin-ups.
     A = Thanjavur Railway Station
     B = Hotel
     C = Big Temple
     D = Maratha Palace
     E = Saraswathi Mahal Library
     F = Sarja Maadi
     G = Art Gallery
     H = Bell Tower

Note that D to H (except F) are all in one place and you can walk from one to another within the complex and you do not need to go around on the streets as seen in this map. Only F is about 300-400 meters walk on the nearby street.

Big temple

The huge 216 feet tall main tower of the Big temple complex will surely inspire awe to anybody. The sheer size and height of the tower makes one agree that the engineering skills even in the 11th century were probably superior to what most engineers in India possess today. The big Nandi facing the main shrine is gigantic. There several paintings on the roofs and walls in the mandaps and corridors here. Most of them spoiled naturally or man-made spoiling when they have tried to actually restore them! Tonnes of inscriptions, said to be Sanskrit and Tamil are seen all over the walls. There are multiple small shrines, towers and sculptures around the main shrine. There are hundreds of Shivalinga statues in the peripheral corridor construction as well. You need a clear couple of hours minimum if you are to go through each structure and admire them. The place is well maintained. The place is also vast and hence even if there is some crowd it does not baffle you.


For all the rest of the places, what can I say. They have so much importance and content in them but the sheer bad state of maintenance and the dirty surroundings made us hesitantly feel how soon we can leave the place. The rest of those places (Maratha Palace, Saraswathi Mahal Library, Sarja Maadi, Art Gallery, Bell Tower) are all in one place that is about 2 KM away from the Big Temple. So once you reach there it is just making entry with tickets at each place and walking around the darbars, sculptures, structures, statues, memorial halls, towers, etc. Spend a calm couple of hours if you can ignore the sight of bad maintenance, and you will still carry a good memory out from here.

The pictures below should give you more vivid details.

 Big temple from the road as we go near, outside view and pictures inside the complex

Maratha Palace and Dharbar

Royal Museum with some of its precious content

Way to Rajah II Serfoji's memorial hall and the adjoining Sadar Mahal (no entry)

Entrance to Sarasvati Mahal Library

Art gallery and the priceless possessions in there

Bell tower (climbing up not allowed)

Palace store selling some pricey stuffs and Exhibition-cum-sale of art / handicrafts nearby

Sarja Maadi exterior and inside

A few street views at Tanjore and the apartment hotel we stayed (a good one)

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  1. Nice reading yout blog post. When it comes to Thanjavur, his city is home to Brahadeeswara Temple, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in the 11th Century AD. If you are planning a visit to the historical city, there are hotels in Thanjavur that provide accommodation in budget.

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