The Brihadiswara Temple built by Raja Raja Chola in the 10th Century dominates the town. Its dimensions are huge: the Vimana, which peculiarly is bigger than the Gopuram is 65 meters tall, the lingam is called the Mahalingam to suggest its greatness and the Nandi Bull guarding the temple is 3.7 meters tall. The frescoes compare well with those in Ajanta. The South Zone cultural Center organizes a programme on 2 nd and 4 th Saturdays at the Brihadiswar Temple for which entry is free. Tel: 40072
The Palace near the temple was built partly by the Nayaks in 1550, and partly by the Marathas of the west. It houses an Art Gallery, the Saraswati Mahal Library, the Royal Museum and a music hall. The art gallery displays bronze and granite statues from the Chola period, ancient manuscripts on palm leaves are on show at the library, and the royal museum displays the royal costumes, cutlery, utensils and weapons.
The Tamil University was set up in 1981 to support the research and study of Tamil.
There are many places of interest outside Thanjavur. Thiruvaiyur (13 km) is where the south Indian saint Thyagaraja lived. A festival is held in his honour every Jan.