Maratha’s of Thanjavur

Most of the people in  Maharashtra do not know about Thanjavur. If you want to be proud of being Marathi and Maharashtrian, then this is the city you should definitely visit. Maratha history is not complete without Thanjavur. Thanjavur situated in the delta of the Cauvery river known for its Arts, Literature, a Prosperous Agriculture and for the world-famous ancient Brahideswara temple.

Thajavur railway station

Built by King Raja Chola in the 10th Century of  Chola dynasty, Brihadeswara temple is an outstanding example of ancient South Indian architecture.

Kallanai dam built on Kaveri river by Chola king Karikallan in the 2nd century is the oldest water diversion and water regulation structure in India which is still in use.

In fact, before going here, I read a lot about the city and on a special Muhurta Thanjavur’s campaign opened. If you talk about Thanjavur, then there were plenty of dynasties ruled here. Chola, Pandya, Thanjavur Nayak, Malik Kafar. In 1674, Vyankoji Raje Bhosale captured Thanjavur on the order of Vijapur in Adilshahi, but he did not join this station to Adilshahi rather he formed the new Maratha kingdom in Thanjavur and became king himself. Maratha ruled Thanjavur from 1674 to AD 1855 for almost 180 years, which further conquered by British.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s step brother, Vyankoji Raje Bhosale was the first Maratha king of Thanjavur. When Mahārāj was on his campaign in southern India, he added the northern region of the River Cauvery to Swaraj and offered the southern area of River Cauvery to Vinankji.

Maharaj wanted that Vankoji should join Swarajya. For the same purpose, he visited the city.

Tents for the meeting was laid on the banks of Kundaloon river (Thirumalwadi), north of Thanjavur city. Venkozi had also come for a visit, but in his mind, there was fear and misconception about Maharaj, so he escaped overnight. When Mahārāj returned to Swaraj, he attacked the remaining army, but the mighty Santaji Ghorpade gave a great retaliation to the Vyankhoji army. Although Vyankoji Raje did not join Swaraj, he also ran good governance in Thanjavur.

In the reign of Maratha, Thanjavur was enriched in art, literature, architecture, education, medicine,  etc. In the 17th century, Marathas painted the roof of Brihadeswara temple with beautiful pictures.

The world’s largest inscription in the Marathi language is on the walls of Temple. All the details of Shahaji Maharaj and Shivaji Maharaj were found in this inscription. It is a very big Marathi inscription, seeing this in Tamil Nadu is a matter of pride. The Maratha built Ganesha temple here which has been mentioned in a small inscription on the steps.

In 1677, on the request of Vyaknoji Raje, Samarth Ramdas Swami came to Thanjavur and started the Choliram Math. Samartha’s Math has some beautiful paintings from 300 years ago.

Brijeshwar Temple: Situated at the southwest part of “Shivganga Durg”, Bhuikot fort of Thanjavur. The temple built by the Chola King Raja in the 10th century is 60 meters tall. Charming craft is engraved on a temple that has a complete masonry structure. The temple complex is very magnificent and is surrounded on four sides. There are Ganesh temple, Shiva temple, Goddess Temple in the complex. On the main walls of the temple, you can find Tamil inscription written in the 10th century.
The 17th century Marathi inscriptions are on the sidewalls of the temple. Formerly known as Raj Rajeshwar, this temple was renamed as Bhiwadeshwar temple by the Maratha kings. Maratha made the renovations of this temple and painted colorful roofs. A Ganapati temple was also built in the temple premises.

Brihadeswar Temple

Maratha Mahal: It is the residence of the Marathi kings. The Darbar Hall of Maratha Mahal exhibits the magnificent arts of the Marathi state. The picture of Sarfozi Raje in Darbar Hall is very wonderful. This hallowed colored hall is very attractive. The museum is on the first floor of the palace, where idols of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, cloth, weapon and Viththal Rakhmini idols, old photographs of Rajgad Fort can be seen.

Maratha Mahal
Darbar Hall, Maratha Mahal

Thanjavur is very well known for arts and literature, and the Marathas have a lion’s share in it. Sarfoji Raje Bhosale, who was the king in the 18th century, was very popular. Surfoji Raje had a special interest in literature and art. Surfosi’s contributions in the progress of Thanjavur’s literature and art are very valuable.

His work is so amazing that I had to make this list to write this.

Contribution to Arts and Literature by Maratha:

1. Painted the roof of the Brihadeswar temple and special section in the temple was dedicated for attractive paintings of Marathi kings in the temple.

2. Sangeet Mahal for music, Bharatnatyam and Marathi concerts

3. Sarfoji Raje made the world’s largest handwritten texts museum. (Saraswati Library) in which very rare manuscripts are still preserved.

4. The world’s largest Marathi inscription in which the history of Maratha is written.

5. The original handwritten print of Shri Shivchatritr Arambh, a book written by poet Parmanand on the life of Shri Shivaji Maharaja is still preserved in Saraswati Library.

6. A special development was made in Medicines , several hospitals were opened. The first tooth surgery was done here

7. Maharashtra gifted Sambhar item in food to south India.

8. Schools, clinics, the underground drainage system has been implemented. Special schools were opened for girls.

9. Donated 100 acres of land in Bhoodan movement of Acharya Vinoba Bhave.

10. Marathi settlers from Maharashtra have settled here, hence even today there are Marathi speaking people in Thanjavur.

Roof paintings of Brihadeswar Temple
Marathi inscription

The Marathi kings were outsiders but they won the love of the local population by their outstanding work.  One such example is that the oldest and central parts on the city of Thanjavur are known as “Shivaji Nagar” and Bhuikot Fort of Thanjavur is known as “Shivganga Durg”.

Being their for whole day was amazing experience. If you want to be proud of being Marathi, then your footsteps must reach to the city of Thanjavur.

Sanket Unche
Email ID: sanketunche04@gmail.com

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One thought on “Maratha’s of Thanjavur

  1. There’s a lot more to add into this. Thanjavur is home to a lot of dynasties apart from just Maratha rulers. Although, they were the last ones and still have their bloodline running the fort. You failed to mention about the abstracting and indexing that came up in Thanjavur due to its rulers and many more things that defines Thanjavur as a prominent historical part.So, I wish to state that it’s a good try to describe about such a historical city, but a lot of points remains untouched through his article. Good luck!

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