Tamil Nadu is an influential and prosperous state, which lies in the southern region of the large Indian peninsula. Encompassed by hills, mountains and the expansive sea, it depicts diversity when it comes to geography. The same range of diversity is reflected by its rich heritage, which is a melange of splendid performing arts, literature, paintings and cuisine. Inhabited by native Tamilians since ancient times, this state abounds several impressive edifices and traditionally-built temples from olden times. Many of the sites in the state have international recognition and mention on the highly-regarded World Heritage List by UNESCO. Tamil Nadu tour packages are either focused on its natural splendor or the spectacular heritage it is proud of.
In terms of tourism, the state ranks amongst the top five in India. Grand architectural masterpieces from ancient and medieval times are dotted across the region that fascinate archaeologists, architecture aficionados and history buffs from all over the world.
The Dravidian Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu speak of its architectural splendor during various periods while the Vivekananda Rock Memorial is exemplary of modern architecture. When talked of impressive edifices, a place that draws hordes of travelers is Thanjavur. Known for its cultural, religious and heritage sites, this city in Tamil Nadu is a popular tourist destination.
Thanjavur: A Cultural Destination
This city serves as the headquarters of its namesake district in Tamil Nadu. It is believed to have derived its name from a demon named Tanjan, who appears in the Hindu mythology. This city flourished during the reign of Medieval Cholas, who ruled large parts of the state during the mid-9th century. They greatly affected the art, architecture and traditions of this place during their long rule. The most significant reminders of their long reign are the Great Living Chola Temples situated in and around the city that have their names inscribed on the famed UNESCO World Heritage List. These temples are fine specimens of the traditional Dravidian style of architecture, which developed and evolved in the state over a period of several centuries.
The most notable one amongst the aforementioned group of temples is the Brihadeeswarar Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva – the transformer. Its construction was commissioned by the great emperor Raja Raja Chola I during the 11th century. Also known as the Big Temple popularly, it turned one millennium old in the year 2010. Built using axial and geometrical patterns in the layout, it marked the beginning of the new Chola style. A beautifully-carved gopuram (temple tower), Chola frescoes and mural paintings are the most prominent features of this Shiva shrine.
Another famous landmark to be visited during the Tamil Nadu tour in the city is the Thanjavur Maratha Palace, which was the palatial residence of the Bhonsle family. They ruled the region from the 17th to 19th century, after the downfall of the Nayaks. The Bhonsles had a control on the palace even after the region was annexed by the British in the ending years of the 18th century. The city has several other landmarks and constructions, which justify its fame as a significant heritage destination in the south of India.