THANJAVUR is the home of Tanjore painting that is unique and popular around the world. It is one of the oldest cities in India and has a long and varied history. The city rose into prominence during the rule of the Later Cholas when it served as the capital of the Chola empire. The historical buildings are the Vijayanagara Fort, which contains a palace, a Bell Tower and the Saraswathi Mahal Library, which contains over 30,000 Indian and European manuscripts written on palm leaf and paper. The Brihadeeshwara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola was completed around 1010 AD. It also acted as a repository of the empire’s records, as the great Rajaraja had its walls covered with numerous inscriptions, recording his conquests and his endowments to various charities. The Big Temple is a superb and fascinating monument. Thanjavur has produced many classical musicians and Bharathanatyam dancers. Tanjore is well known for bronze sculptures, unique Tanjore paintings, Thavil, a divine instrument Veena, Thanjavur dolls and Tanjore plates.

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