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Tanjore, also known as thanjavur, is a city and a municipality in tanjore district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. tanjore is also the capital of the tanjore District and lies 322 km to the southwest of Chennai. The city lies on the south bank of the Kaveri River. tanjore was the capital of the Mutharayars and Cholas when they were at the peak of their power. Since then, tanjore has been one of the chief political, cultural and religious centres of South India.Tanjore is in the famous Brihadeeswara Temple, one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites tanjore derives its name from Tanjan - an asura (demon) who according to local legend caused devastation and was killed by Sri Anandavalli Amman and Sri Neelamegapperumal. Tanjan's last request, that the city might be named after him, was granted.

The tanjore area, where a majority of Mutharayar and other families are presently located, has a rich historical heritage and is a prism of ancient as well as the modern south Indian civilizations. The city was once the stronghold of the historic Mutharayar and Chola dynasties.Mutharayar was the founder of tanjore. Perumbidugu Mutharaiyar ruled his kingdom with tanjore as the capital. Later it was ruled by the Nayaks of Vijayanagara and the Maratha rajas.tanjore contains over 90 temples, as it was favored by the Chola rulers between the 1st - 12th centuries, the Nayakas in the 16th century, and the Marathas in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Under the Cholas

        Tanjore or Tanjapuri as it was called in the ancient times was chosen by the Mutharayar king and later conquered by Vijayalaya Chola. Vijayalaya built a temple for his favourite goddess Nisumbhasudani in the city. Although subsequent emperors made Kanchipuram a subsidiary capital, tanjore maintained its position as the chief city. The great Brihadisvara Temple, built by Rajaraja Chola I was completed around 1010 CE. It remained the centre of the Chola administration for many years, channelling the state revenue into a number of civic projects. 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 impression we get from the inscriptions is of a wealthy, progressive city, although totally dominated by the temple.

The inscriptions tell us about a number of royal palaces in the city and of the districts where palace servants lived. We also learn the names of a number of streets: the big street of Virasola and the big market of Tribhuvanamadeviyar. During the reign of Rajaraja we learn that the city was divided into two parts: Ullalai (inner) and Purambadi (outer) city. Purambadi could have been an extension to the city built during Rajaraja's reign. Among the new streets built by Rajaraja were two running east to west in front of the Brihadisvara Temple and called Northern and Southern Talichcheries. People who worked in the temple occupied these streets. There were other temples then, such as the Jayabhima temple and Tanjai Mamani found in the inscriptions, which do not exist anymore. There was also a public hospital attached to a Vishnu temple named after Sundara Chola called Sundarachola Vinnagara Salai which was endowed by Kundavai, the sister of Rajaraja CholaThe influence of tanjore began to diminish when Rajendra Chola I built a new city named Gangaikonda Cholapuram and moved his capital there.

After the Cholas

          A Mighty Cannon of forge-welded Iron. This cannon was built during the reign of Raghunatha Nayak (1600 - 1645CE), and it was located at the defense barricade at the Eastern entrance to the city.After the Cholas the Pandyas conquered the Chola country. Madurai was the Pandya capital and tanjore remained in the background, as a province of Vijaynagar empire.Later in 1535,the Vijaynagar king installed a Nayak king hence the era of Tanjore Nayaks which lasted till mid-17th century, until attacked by the Madurai Nayaks. Later slipped into the hands of Marathas.Tanjore was conquered by the Marathas in 1674 under Venkaji, the half-brother of Shivaji the Great; his successors ruled as rajas of Tanjore. The British first came into contact with Tanjore by their expedition in 1749 with a view to the restoration of a deposed raja of Tanjore Nayak lineage. In this they failed, and a subsequent expedition was bought off. The Maratha rajas held Tanjore until 1799. A Protestant mission at Tanjore was founded in 1778 by the Reverend Christian Friedrich Schwarz. His church dates from 1779.In October 1799, the district was ceded to the British East India Company in absolute sovereignty by Raja Serfoji II, a pupil of the missionary Schwartz. The raja retained only the capital and a small tract of surrounding country. He died in 1833 and was succeeded by his son Sivaji, on whose death in 1855 without an heir the house became extinct.

Tanjore - Periyakoil

        The Brihadeeswarar temple (also spelled Brihadeshvara Temple or Birhadeeshwara temple), originally called as Peruvudaiyar Koil in Tamil, is an ancient Hindu temple located at tanjore in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. This 10th century CE temple, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Great Living Chola Temples", is a prominent example of the Dravidian style of temple architecture. The central temple known as the Periya Kovil (Big Temple) stands within a fort, whose walls were later additions built during the 16th century. The name periya kovil came from its original name "periya aavudayar kovil" (aavudayar being a local name of Lord Shiva). The vimana (main tower) of the temple is approximately 65 m (215 ft) high and is the tallest in the world. It was so designed that the vimana never casts a shadow at noon during any period of the year.

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