Thanjavur was the
ancient capital of the Chola kings whose origins, go back to the
beginning of the Christian era. Power struggles between these groups
were a constant feature of their early history, with one or other
gaining the ascendancy at various times. The Cholas' turn for
empire building came between 850 and 1270 AD and , at the height
of their power. Probably the greatest chola emperors were Raja Raja who
was responsible for building the Brihadishwara Temple ( Thanjavur main
attraction ) and his son Rajendra-I whose navy competed with the Arabs
for controls of the Indian Ocean trade routes and who was responsible
for bringing Srivijaya under Chola control.
is famous for its distinctive art style , which is usually a combination
of raised and painted surfaces. Krishna is the most popular of the gods
depicted and in the Thanjavur school his skin is white rather than the
The enormous gopurams of the Brihadeshwara Temple dominate Thanjavur.
The temple itself, between the Grand Anicut Canal and the old town is
surrounded by fortified walls and a moat. The old town, too used to be
similarly enclosed, but most of the walls have now disappeared. What
remains are winding streets and alleys and the extensive ruins of the
palace of the Nayakas of Madurai.
Poompuhar (A unit of TamilNadu Handicrafts), Gandhiji Road,
Tanjore Paintings Thanjavur is famous for a special style of decorating the paintings
which were done both on glass and board. In both types, the figures and
the background are richly embellished with gold leaf and gems as
ornaments. The relief work on board is achieved by applying gesso, a
mixture of gypsum or plaster of Paris and glue. Krishna in various poses
has been the main theme, but there are also various paintings in
temples, of all the other Gods and Saints.