Thanjavur tourist places are some of the most magnificent spots to visit in India. They are also listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites and offer a sneak peek into the grandeur that ancient India possessed. Also called the ‘Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu’, Thanjavur is home to widespread agricultural fields that receive their irrigation water from the cascading Kaveri delta. The city takes great pride in boasting about its rich cultural heritage that dates back to the early 10th century. The classic Thanjavur paintings glimmer with gold foils, exotic bright colors, and studded gems. Thanjavur, or Tanjore, also happens to be a religiously important city in Tamil Nadu.
After the release of the recent blockbuster, ‘Ponniyin Selvan’, everyone wants to get a glimpse of the Chola capital! Thanjavur still has some of the finest Chola architectural delights and it is a great experience to see the majestic structures up close. The temples built by the emperors are believed to be holding immense spiritual energy!
If you are planning to explore Thanjavur soon, then book your affordable accommodations in Treebo Hotels. The properties are located very close to the tourist hotspots and you’ll save a lot of time on commuting.
We have listed 15 important Thanjavur tourist places for you to explore while you are in the city. Add them to your itinerary, and thank us later!
Travel enthusiasts will also enjoy reading 15 SPLENDID PLACES TO VISIT IN SOUTH INDIA
Splendid Thanjavur Tourist Places to Visit
1 – Brihadeshwarar Temple
The Brihadeshwarar Temple stands as a marvel that depicts the rich architectural talent that our ancestors had. The temple is built during the 11th Century when Rajaraja Chola I was ruling the various kingdoms around the Kaveri belt. The granite used to build the structure was transported from faraway quarries, which in itself was considered to be an impossible stunt in those times. The temple houses a huge Shiva Lingam in the Sanctum Sanctorum and the walls have intricate carvings depicting mythological tales. As soon as you enter, you come across a towering ‘Vimana’ that stands at a height of 66 meters and has detailed carvings from the Hindu scriptures. This UNESCO World Heritage site attracts thousands of visitors every month and stands as the most spectacular Thanjavur tourist places.
Timings – 6:30 AM to 12:30 PM; reopens at 4:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Address – Membalam Rd, Balaganapathy Nagar, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613007
2 – Thanjavur Royal Palace
The Thanjavur Palace has an Indo-Saracenic architectural build which is a perfect juxtaposition of Indian, Islamic, and European styles. It was constructed much later during the rule of Thanjavur Nayaks and was slightly renovated by the Thanjavur Marathas. It later became the residence of the Bhonsle Dynasty. Tourists can explore the humongous Durbar Hall, Queen and King’s courtyards, the halls, and a museum displaying the armor of the Chola dynasty. The well-manicured gardens are protected by huge fortified walls on all sides. You can spend some quality time exploring the colorful carvings on the walls and pillars that shine like diamonds when the natural sunlight falls on them.
Timings – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Address – Q4RP+CCV, Rajakrisnapuram, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613001
3 – Sri Airavatesvara Temple
Following the principles of Agama Shastra, this temple was built during the 12th Century by Rajaraja Chola II. It has an Indo-Dravidian architectural style and remains to be one of the most sought-after Thanjavur tourist places. People offer prayers to Lord Shiva’s Airavatesvara form in this holy shrine. The temple was once a prominent center of Shaivism and served as a hub for scholars, artists, and devotees. It was patronized by the Chola kings and played a significant role in promoting art, culture, and religious practices during that era. Over time, the temple underwent several renovations and additions by subsequent dynasties, including the Vijayanagara Empire.
Timings: 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM; reopens at 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Address: Gurunathan Pillai Colony, Dharasuram, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur District, Tamil Nadu 612702
4 – Schwartz Church
The Schwartz Church, also popular officially as St, Mary’s Church, is one of the Thanjavur Tourist Places where Protestant worship happens. It was built as a part of the Danish mission to spread Christianity in the Danish-colonized regions of the world. It is named after Christian Frederich Schwartz for his contribution to the mission over the years. The Schwartz Church is a blend of European and Indian architectural styles. Its design reflects the colonial influence, featuring a simple yet elegant structure with Gothic-style arches and windows. The church also houses a memorial plaque dedicated to Reverend Schwartz, honoring his contributions to the goal and his tireless efforts in social reforms and education.
Timings – Only Sundays – 7:00 AM to 8:30 AM; reopen 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Address – Q4PJ+7GG, Fort, Sivaganga Garden,, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
5 – Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Gangaikonda Cholapuram used to be the working capital of the Chola empire during the 11th Century. It was constructed to commemorate the victory of the Chola warriors over various Kingdoms around them. The name itself means ‘The town of the Cholas who captured the Ganges’. This spectacle finds its place in the list of Thanjavur Tourist places because of its well-thought layout. Even during ancient times, this town functioned as a systematic civilization with a palace, temple, marketplace, water reservoir, and other important business hubs. Though most of Gangaikonda Cholapuram’s grandeur has been lost over the course of time, it now stands as a village that hosts the magnificent Gangaikondacholisvara temple. The huge Nandi statue is a tourist favorite, and the walls of the shrine depict the love that the Cholas had for art and architecture.
Timings – You can visit anytime
Address – Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Tamil Nadu, 612901
6 – Shiva Ganga Garden
The Shiva Ganga Garden is a part of the Vijayanagara Fort in Thanjavur. This well-maintained garden is a visual treat for travelers who love greenery and nature. Though the fort itself is in ruins, the garden still looks beautiful amidst the mess. Probably, it is trying to tell us that the things which we think are lost forever still hold something precious. There is a central water tank in the Garden that was used to supply water to the Thanjavur palace. Though not in regular use, the tank is still functional and the water is drinkable.
Timings – 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM; reopens at 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Address – W Main St, Balaganapathy Nagar, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613007
7 – Thanjai Mamani Koil
Thanjai Mamani Koil, also popular as Thanjai Periya Kovil, is one of the most visited Thanjavur Tourist places. It is a divyadesham, an abode of three Vishnu temples that rest under the same roof. The positive spiritual energy in this region is so palpable that people from across the world come here to seek the blessings of the deity who appears as Lord Varaha ( The Boar-faced God). The construction is in the Indo-Dravidian style with granite stones. The temple celebrates the extravagant Brahmotsavam festival during the Tamil months of Panguni, Chittirai, and Vaikasi.
Timings – 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM; reopens at 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Address – Q4MJ+2FC, Balaganapathy Nagar, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613007
8 – Kandiyur
Kandiyur is a village that is close to Thanjavur city. After a 9km scenic road trip, you will reach the heart of this paradise that will remind you of the bygone era. If you want to witness the lifestyle of common men during the Chola rule, then Kandiyur will give you that experience. The people here live in huts and houses that resemble the constructions of the Chola empire. Moreover, the practices and religious beliefs are also the same. It is a perfect getaway from the usual hustle and bustle of city life. The people are friendly and welcoming. Do visit the Sri Hara Saabha Vimochana Perumal temple of Lord Vishnu before coming back from the village.
Timings – You can visit anytime
Address – Kandiyur, Tamil Nadu 613205
9 – Thanjavur Art Gallery
The Thanjavur Art Gallery is a part of the Nayak Durbar Hall of the Thanjavur Royal Palace. You will be surprised to see that some of the best sculptures and paintings from ancient times are still intact here. You can also find the original Thanjavur paintings that you can take back home as souvenirs. On the second floor of the gallery, you can get a bird’s eye view of the entire Royal Palace. Also, the skeleton of a 92 feet long whale that got washed over to the shore is visible from here.
Timings – 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Address – 31, 4th Cross, Thendral Nagar, 12th Cross Rd, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613007
10 – Alangudi Guru Temple
The Alangudi Guru Temple is also called the Apatsahayesvarar Temple. It also goes by the names Guru Sthalam and Tiru Irum Poolai. The religious abode is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is worshipped as Apathsahayesvar. His consort, Goddess Parvati, is present here as Elavarkuzhali. Though this place is about 56 km from Thanjavur, it is seen as a prominent Dravidian architecture wonder that deserves a visit. The 5-tier raja gopuram is the main attraction on the temple grounds.
Timings – 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Address – Sivan S St, Alangudi, Tamil Nadu 612801
11- Thanjavur Saraswati Mahal Library
This oldest library in the Asian continent deserves to be on the list of infamous Thanjavur Tourist places. It has several manuscripts, books, maps, and illustrations from the 10-11th Century onwards. The place was initially intended to be a palace but was later converted to a library to display the literary work of Thanjavur and the history of the ruling Kingdom, the Nayaks. Currently, it has about 49000 manuscripts. The main library is limited to scholars only, but you can take a tour along the alleys that are open to tourists and visitors.
Timings – Closed on National Holidays and Wednesdays; 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM, Lunch from 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM
Address – E Main St, Rajakrishnapuram, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613001
12 – Poondi Madha Basilica
It is also well-known by the name, Our Lady of Lourdes Basilica in the Thanjavur district. It is a great place to explore the Gothic architectural style with French influence here and there. The facade has the statue of ‘Veeramamunivar’ – the man who played an important role in the Pastoral Mission. The cross you see in the main sanctum sanctorum is believed to be the replica of the actual cross on which Jesus Christ was Crucified.
Timings – 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Address – VW7R+JGF, Thanjavur, Poondi, Tamil Nadu 613105
13 – Our Lady of Sorrows Church
Our Lady of Sorrows is a local church surrounded by peaceful greenery and silence. If you want to experience the tranquil bliss of silent prayers offered to the Lord, then you must visit this church close to Thanjavur. This place signifies that diverse cultures and religious beliefs can co-exist in the same city harmoniously. The third week of September is when the annual festival will be celebrated in the church, and people from across Tamil Nadu come here to be a part of the merry.
Timings – 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Address – Mappillai Naicken Patty, Tamil Nadu 613403
14 – Punnai Nallur Mariamman Temple
Dedicated to Goddess Mariamman, this temple is believed to bring fertility, prosperity, and protection to anyone who visits the place. The Goddess here is seen as a fierce power who can ward off evil with just a glare! People also worship her for rain and a good crop. The temple has the usual Dravidian style of architecture with a huge Gopuram at the entrance.
Timings – 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Address – No 10, Mariamman Kovil, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613001
15 – Swami Malai Temple
The Swami Malai Temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan and is believed to be his fourth residence among the six present in the country. It is present on a hilltop offering a spectacular view of the surrounding Thanjavur localities and has three gopurams. The shrines for Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva are present downhill. Every year the annual Vaisaki Visagam festival attracts thousands of devotees from across the country.
Timings – 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM; reopen at 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Address – 10, Vatampokki Street, Taluk, Swamimalai, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu 612302
To get the most out of your trip, cover these 15 significant Thanjavur Tourist places in and around the city, and you will have unforgettable memories to cherish for a lifetime.