History of district:
Thanjavur district is in the east coast of Tamil Nadu. The district lies between 78O 45’ and 70O 25' of the Eastern longitudes and 9O 50' and 11O 25' of the Northern Latitudes. The District is bound by Coloroon on the Northwhich separates it from Ariyalur and Tiruchirapalli district; Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts on the east; Palk Strait and Pudukottai on the South and Pudukottai and Tiruchirapalli on the West.
The area of the district isn 3396.57Sq.Km. It consists of nine Taluks- Thiruvidaimarudur, Kumbakonam, Papanasam, Pattukottai, Peravurani, Orathanadu, Thanjavur, Thiruvaiyaru and Budalur. The district headquarters is Thanjavur. Thanjavur district is called ‘the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu’ because of its agricultural activities in the delta region of river Cauvery. The temples, culture and architecture of Tanjavur are famous throughout the world. It is an historical place ruled by Chola, Pandya, Nayak, Marathas and was under British rule till Independence. The pursuits of these rulers are reflected in the great monuments like Grand Anaicut, BigTemple and Serfoji Palace and Saraswathi Mahal Library, etc. in the district.
Population of the district is 2405 thousand numbers as per Census 2011.The population density is 708 persons per sq.km.The district is 35% urbanized and constitutes literacy rate of 82.72%.
Main occupation of the district:
The major occupation of the inhabitants of the city is tourism and service-oriented industry, while the traditional occupation is agriculture.
Thanjavur is known as the "Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu". Paddy is the crops and the other crops grown are blackgram, banana, coconut, gingelly, ragi, red gram, green gram, sugarcane and maize. The total percentage of land fit for cultivation is 58%. There are three seasons for agriculture in Thanjavur - Kuruvai (June to September), Samba (August to January) and Thaladi (September, October to February, March). The total rice production has been maintained at 10.615 L.M.T and 7.077 L.M.T. The city acts as a focal point for food grains transported from the adjoining areas of the Cauvery Delta. Organic farming is gradually being known to the farmers of Thanjavur. To maximise agricultural produce organic farming is being implemented. Though agriculture is the main economic activity, only 7% of the population is involved in it. There is a lot of agricultural related trading that forms the key economic activity in the city.
Thanjavur is an important centre of silk weaving in Tamil Nadu. There were 200 silk weaving units in the city in 1991 with around 80,000 people working in them. The sarees produced in the villages surrounding Thanjavur are sold in Thanjavur and neighbouring towns. Increasing production costs and competition from large-scale producers have reduced the number of people involved in the production. The city produces bell metal craft like Thanjavur metal plates, bronze images bowls, napkins and powder boxes made of copper and bronze. The city is a major manufacturer of pith works consisting of models of Hindu idols, mosques, garlands and other bird figurines. Manufacture of musical instruments like veena, tambura, violin, mrithamgam, thavil and kanjira is another economic activity in the city.
Road: The National Highways 67, 45C, 226 and 226 Extn pass through Thanjavur. The city is connected with Chennai, Coimbatore, Erode, Karur, Tirupur, Vellore, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Salem, Cuddalore, Viluppuram, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, Kumbakonam,Mayiladuthurai, Karaikal, Mannargudi, Pattukkottai, Dindigul, Pudukkottai, Karaikudi, Tirunelveli, Bengaluru, Ernakulam, Nagercoil, Tirupathi, Trivandrum and Ooty through regular bus services. Thanjavur had a single bus terminus located at the heart of the city. An integrated bus terminus, called New Bus stand was constructed in 1997 near Raja Serfoji College to handle the passenger traffic. Thanjavur has a well-maintained sub-urban public transport system. Government and private buses operate frequently between the two bus termini and other towns and villages like Vallam, Budalur, Mohamed Bunder, Nadukkavery, Pillaiyarpatti, Vallam Pudursethi, Sengipatti, Vadakkur North and Kuruvadipatti.
Train: The railway line connecting Tiruchirappalli Junction railway station to Chennai Egmore via Thanjavur, the Main Line is a historical line established by South Indian Railway Company in 1879. The Great South Indian Railway Company (GSIR) operated a broad gauge rail service between Nagapattinam and Tiruchirapalli via Thanjavur between 1861 and 1875. During 1875 it was converted to a meter gauge line (MG line). Modern day Thanjavur railway junction has three rail heads leading to Tiruchirapalli, Kumbakonam and Thiruvarur. Thanjavur is connected by rail with most important cities and towns in India. There are daily express trains to Chennai, Mysore, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Coimbatore, Erode, Tiruppur, Tiruchirapalli, Salem, Karur, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Rameswaram, Tiruchendur, Cuddalore, Dharmapuri, Viluppuram, Chengalpattu, Mannargudi, Bengaluru, Dindigul, Karaikudi, Manamadurai and weekly trains to Tirupati, Nellore, Itarsi, Visakhapatnam, Hubli, Vasco da Gama, Goa, Vijayawada, Nagpur, Jabalpur, Satna, Katni, Allahabad, Varanasi and Bhubaneswar. There are frequent passenger trains from the city to towns like Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Karaikal, Tiruchirapalli, Kumbakonam, Mayiladuthurai and Nagore.
Thanjavur is an important pilgrim centre and a major tourist destination of Tamil Nadu. South Zone Culture Centre in Thanjavur is one of the regional cultural centres established by the Government of India to preserve and promote cultural heritage of India. There were 2,002,225 Indian and 81,435 foreign tourist arrivals in 2009 to Thanjavur. The most visited monument in Thanjavur is the Brihadeeswarar Temple, whose construction, the historian Percy Brown described as "a landmark in the evolution of building art in South India". Built in the 11th century by the Chola king Raja Raja Chola I (985 - 1014), the temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The walls of the sanctum are covered with wall paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods. The temple was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It is replicated in the Gangaikonda Cholesvarar Temple constructed by Raja Raja's son Rajendra Chola I (1012-44).
The Thanjavur Maratha palace was the official residence of the Bhonsle family who ruled over the Thanjavur region from 1674 to 1855. It was originally constructed by the rulers of Thanjavur Nayak kingdom and after their fall, it served as the official residence of the Thanjavur Marathas. When most of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom was annexed by the British Empire in 1799, the Thanjavur Marathas continued to hold sway over the palace and the surrounding fort. The southern side of the third quadrangle of the palace has 190 ft (58 m) tower like building, called the Goodagopuram.
The Saraswathi Mahal Library, established around 1700 and located in the premises of the palace, contains over 30,000 Indian and European manuscripts written on palm leaf and paper. Over eighty per cent of its manuscripts are in Sanskrit and many of them are on palm leaves. The Tamil works include treatise on medicine, and commentaries on Sangam literature. The Rajaraja Chola art gallery is located inside the palace - it has a large collection of stone and bronze images from the ninth to 12th centuries. Most of the idols present in the gallery were collected from various temples in the Thanjavur district. The Sivaganga Park is situated to the east of the Brihadeeswarar Temple and encompasses the Sivaganga Tank believed to have been built by the king Raja Raja Chola. It was created as a people's park by the Tanjore municipality in 1871-72. It has a collection of plants, animals and birds and serves as a zoo for children within the city.
Schwartz Church, a historic monument located in the palace garden, was built in 1779 by Serfoji II as a token of affection for Rev. C.V. Schwartz of the Danish Mission. There are five museums in the city namely Archeological Museum, Tamil University Museum located with the Tamil University premises, the Saraswathi Mahal Library Museum located inside the Saraswathi Mahal, Nayak Durbar Hall Art Museum and Rajaraja Chola Museum. Raja Rajan Manimandapam is one of the tourist attractions in Thanjavur, built during the Thanjavur Tamil Conference in 1991. "Sangeetha Mahal" has a permanent handicrafts exhibition centre. Thanjavur is the cradle for many of the arts and crafts in South India. Carnatic music was codified in Thanjavur and the art flourished during the Nayak rule in the 16th century. Bharathanatyam, a classical dance form of South India, had its major styles developed in Thanjavur.
Sathaya Thiruvizha is the annual birthday festival of Raja Raja Chola held during October every year. Thanjavur is the base for the Tyagaraja Aradhana, a Carnatic music festival held annually during January - February at Thiruvaiyaru, located 13 km (8.1 mi) away from the city. Thanjavur painting is a major form of classical South Indian painting from Thanjavur. It dates back to about 1600s, the period of Nayakas of Thanjavur, who encouraged art, classical dance, music literature, both in Telugu and Tamil. The art is usually a combination of raised and painted surfaces, with the Hindu god Krishna being the most popular image depicted. In modern times, these paintings have become souvenirs of festive occasions in South India, wall decors, and collectors' items for art lovers.