There are no references to Thanjavur in any of the Sangam period records though some scholars believe that the city has been existing since then. Kovil Venni, situated at a distance of 15 miles to the east of Thanjavur, was the site of the Battle of Venni between Karikala and a confederacy of the Cheras and the Pandyas. The Cholas seemed to have faced an invasion of the Kalabhras in the 3rd century AD after which the kingdom faded into obscurity. The region around the present-day Thanjavur was conquered by the Mutharayars in the 6th century CE and ruled up to 849 AD.
During the first decade of the eleventh century AD, the Chola king Raja Raja Chola I constructed the Brihadeeswarar Temple at Thanjavur. The temple is considered to be one of the best specimens of South Indian temple architecture.
The Cholas came once more into prominence through the rise of the Medieval Chola monarch Vijayalaya in about 850 AD. Vijayalaya conquered Thanjavur from mutharayar king Elango Mutharayar and built a temple to the Hindu goddess Nisumbhasudani at this place. His son Aditya I consolidated their hold over the city. The Rashtrakuta king Krishna II, a contemporary of the Chola king Parantaka I claims to have conquered Thanjavur but there exists no evidence to support his claim. Gradually, Thanjavur became the greatest and most important city in the Chola Empire and remained its capital till the construction of Gangaikonda Cholapuram in about 1025 AD.
Day 01: Pondicherry – Thanjavur
In the morning after breakfast you are driven by car to Thanjavur (approx 189 Kms / 3-4 hrs). Upon arrival check in at the hotel. Rest and refresh. Rest of the day is at leisure. Thanjavur was once the royal city of the Cholas and the Nayaks. It is still considered the centre of all the classical arts and music, and is also well known for its unique painting style called Tanjore Painting
Day 02: Thanjavur
Today after breakfast you are taken for a brief city tour of Thanjavur. Home to 93 temples, Thanjavur stands out as a towering monument proclaiming the glory of the Chola regime, and its commitment to the arts and culture. Visit the Gangaikondacholapuram Temple. The Gangaikondacholapuram Temple lies right to Kumbakonam. The son of Chola king Raja Raja, Rajendra Chola, had built the temple on the lines of the big Temple of Thanjavur. Till date, even the ruins of the temple are visited for the splendid specimens of Chola sculpture.
Day 03: Thanjavur – Madurai
Today morning after breakfast you are driven by car to Madurai (approx 170 Kms / 5-6 hrs). Madurai was the capital city of the great Pandya kings, and today it is Tamil Nadu’s most happening cultural arena. Upon arrival check-in at the hotel, rest and refresh. Rest of the day is at leisure.