The lively, modern city of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu is well worth a visit. Once the capital of the great Chola Empire, Thanjavur (formerly known as Tanjore) is where old meets new, offering the combination of busy streets and the Great Living Chola Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Step back in time as you marvel at the collection of Chola Temples, built between the 11th and 12th century by the kings of the Chola Empire. Brihadeeswara is the most popular of the temples, stunning architecture, tall tower, superb sculptures, and shrines to many Indian deities.
The Maratha Palace, constructed by the Narak and Maratha dynasties, is not to be missed. Take in the brightly coloured frescos and shady, crumbling courtyards as you tour the compelling maze of rooms.
Thanjavur is said to be the birthplace of Carnatic music, the traditional music of southern India, mainly improvised around melodies passed down from generation to generation. Catch strains of this diverse, unique and captivating sound as you wander the streets.
Tanjore is awash with distinctive souvenirs to take home. Bag yourself a Thanjavur Dancing doll, art plate, painting or a saree made from Thirubhuvanam silk. Or even a sitar-like Veena if you’re a music lover.