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Thanjavur Travel Guide

Verdant and green, full of paddy fields and coconut palms, Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur district is one of the prettiest in the state. Thanjavur, or Tanjore as the British called it, is extremely fertile, prosperous and scenic; it was the natural choice for capital city of one of the greatest empires of the south. Now a small city in the state of Tamil Nadu, it rose to glory during the Chola period from the 10th century to the 14th, when it came to be the centre of art and education. The Cholas built extensively during this period and 74 of their temples are still standing. As the centre of cultural development Thanjavur attracted master craftsmen, and it still continues to produce attractive handcrafted ware.

A popular pilgrim destination, the legacy of the days of glory endures. Thanjavur's heritage as a centre of learning, culture and craft is reflected in the variety of handicraft work that goes on here. Thanjavur is still famous for its bejewelled, gold leaf Tanjore paintings, fine silk carpets, bell metal work, musical instruments, pith work and bronze sculptures. Tanjore should be on your travel list in south India.

Thanjavur derives its name from Tanjan, a wicked asura who created the kind of mayhem demons are prone to, troubled the residents and generally made a complete nuisance of himself. Defeated and put to sword by Lord Vishnu, the demon’s last wish that the city be named after him was granted and so Thanjavur acquired its name. Nandi ‘the joyful’, Shiva’s faithful companion and friend symbolises strength, devotion and constancy. Nandi also embodies sexual impulse. These impulses are controlled by Shiva, who rides the bull and keeps a tight rein on lustful thoughts!

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