Thanjavur • Chola temples • Tamil Nadu, India

Uncover the majestic Brihadishwara Temple, a gem of Tamil architecture, devoted to Shiva. Travel to Thanjavur, the cradle of the ancient Chola Empire, a living testament to India's intricate and rich history. In under 9 minutes, journey into the heart of Tamil Nadu and marvel at the splendors of the Chola period temples. Follow a path through the winding corridors of the Maratha Palace, a beacon of this region's tumultuous past. A visual and auditory expedition, unveiling an invaluable heritage. Thanjavur is ready for you to discover. Seize this opportunity without delay.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip India • South India 2018 • Tamil Nadu and Kerala (EN)

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.

00:42 • Brihadishwara temple

05:56 • Maratha palace



Thanjavur, a town in Tamil Nadu in southern India, is a town with a very ancient settlement that dates back to the beginnings of antiquity.

From the 3rd century BC, Thanjavur was the capital of the Chola Empire and will keep this status until the arrival of the British colonizer. Even though the history prior to the 3rd century remains fairly unknown, Thanjavur is known to be older.

As was the case throughout India at the time, numerous conflicts between neighboring kingdoms marked the entire period of rule of the Chola dynasty, with its ups and downs. Thus in the 3rd century after Jesus Christ the Chola kingdom was invaded and it took almost 500 years to see the rebirth of the Chola dynasty, under the leadership of King Vijayalaya who took over the city of Thanjavur in 850.

Brihadishwara temple

Thanjavur resumed a primordial importance in the region in the following decades and it was at this time that the Brihadishwara temple was built which remains considered as a masterpiece of primary importance of Tamil architecture.

This temple, whose name was originally Peruvudaiyar Kovil, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. It is one of the largest temples in South India. It was built between 1003 and 1010 CE by King Raja Raja Chola 1st (the temple is also known as Rajarajeshwaram). Its granite vimana tower is one of the tallest in southern India. The temple is also remarkable for the quality of its magnificent sculptures, even if the sanctuary has known degradation during its history, depriving us of some of these interesting statues.

The Chola dynasty declined around the 13th century and Thanjavur then passed into the hands of various kingdoms, including the Pandayas before being annexed to the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th century. Then it was the turn of the Nayaks to control the region before giving way to the Maratha.

At the start of the British era, Thanjavur retained a certain degree of independence before being integrated into the empire in 1855. Thanjavur flourished under the British and became the 3rd largest city under the presidency of Madras (from our days, basically Tamil Nadu).

the Maratha palace

Also known as Aranmanai, the Maratha Palace of Thanjavur was built by the Nayak kings in the 16th century. This palace also served as a fort, as certain aspects of its architecture prove, in particular the shape of the stairs.

The fort is partly restored today.


Spoken comments in the film: 

Thanjavur is a very important religious center in southern India. Most of the living Chola temples are in or around Thanjavur. These are large Hindu shrines built in the 11th and 12th centuries and are still in operation. These temples were built by the Chola dynasty and are classified as World Heritage by Unesco.


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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of indian traditional music in "Thanjavur • Chola temples • Tamil Nadu, India", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

about the place, Thanjavur:

Thanjavur is a very important center of religion in South India. Most of the Great Living Chola Temples are in or around Thanjavur. These are large Hindu shrines built in the 11th and 12th centuries and are still in operation. These temples were built by the Chola dynasty and are classified as World Heritage by Unesco.


Brihadishwara temple, Thanjavur • India • Tamil Nadu

sadhu in meditation, Thanjavur • India • Tamil Nadu

sadhu in meditation

Maratha Palace, Thanjavur • India • Tamil Nadu

the art gallery, Thanjavur • India • Tamil Nadu

the art gallery

Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. India.

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