Rustik Travel

The Thanjavur Marathas Influence

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Thanjavur Marathas of the Bhonsle dynasty were the rulers of Thanjavur principality of Tamil Nadu between the 17th to the 19th century C.E. This travel experience helps you to discover the different aspects of the Maratha influence on the architecture, sculpture, literature, painting, dance, music and theatre traditions of Thanjavur, which was once the capital of the Chola Empire.

I am not a great cook, I am not a great artist. But I love food and I love art. So I am the perfect traveller.

Michael Palin

Overview

  • Destination: Tamil Nadu
  • Location: Thanjavur
  • Google Map Co-ordinates: 10.7825° N, 79.1313° E
  • Nearest City (Airport): Thiruchirappalli
  • Nearest City (Railway Station): Thanjavur
  • Duration: 3D/2N – 4D/3N
  • Dates: On request and Fixed Departures: 10 – 13 Dec, 23 – 26 Dec
  • Guide: An experienced subject matter expert will be the guide.
  • Price: On request

Experience


Thanjavur was the capital city for the Chola dynasty, the Nayaks and the Marathas. The Maratha rule of Thanjavur started in the year 1676 CE, when Ekoji (the step-brother of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the great Deccan warrior and founder of the Maratha Empire) took control of Thanjavur in a bloodless coup from the Nayaks, their predecessors. The Marathas had limited military power, and blessed as Thanjavur was with the bounty of the Kaveri river, focussed their energies on patronising the arts and encouraging philosophers. Of its rulers, Serfoji II was one of its most illustrious and played a very significant role in developing the cultural landscape of Thanjavur as we know it today. The Maratha rule came to an end in the year 1855 when the last king Shivaji II died without leaving a male heir to the throne and the kingdom went into the hands of the British.

The Marathas are known to have nurtured several art forms, the Tanjore style of painting, oil paintings, metal plate making and embroidery on textiles as also the classical arts, theatre and literature. The greatest composers in Carnatic music, revered as the “Trinity”, Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastry, were all connected to the Maratha court. The Saraswati Mahal Library, one among few medieval libraries existing in the world today, had its collections of books and manuscripts vastly enhanced by Serfoji II. The Marathas also encouraged architects and sculptors to build several ornate Chattrams (rest-cum-feeding houses), bridges and towers, and enlarged and renovated existing temples. Manora, a unique 8-storey tower erected by Serfoji II in honor of the English victory over Napoleon Bonaparte of France, is the only extant victory tower in honor of the English outside Europe. The tower is an engineering marvel.

Key Highlights:

• Visit the Saraswati Mahal Library, one among few medieval libraries existing in the world today, and Manora, a victory tower erected in honour of the English victory over Napoleon Bonaparte of France.
• Enjoy a traditional Maratha lunch.
• Visit the Maratha royal palace and get exclusive access to their private museum (subject to receiving permission).
• Thanjavur Painting or Plate making demonstration, a major craft of the Marathas.

The trip will be led by a subject matter expert from our panel. Our panel has experts who are historians, archaeologists, authors, architects, art historians, musicologists, naturalists, who are well known experts in their chosen field of work. They have written books, they speak often on national and international platforms, they write extensively in the leading newspapers and journals of the day and are conducting regular research in their field. More than anything they are good storytellers who are very passionate about their work and are only happy to share their knowledge with others.

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive at your hotel/ homestay in Thanjavur by evening. Meet the trip expert and rest of the group over dinner.
Day 2 / After Breakfast
8.30AM-9.30AM: An introductory lecture, to set the context of the trip, by the trip expert on the history of Southern India, the Maratha dynasty and significant impacts on heritage and culture of Thanjavur. | 10.00AM-11.30AM: Visit the Brihadeeshwara Temple, which was revived by the Marathas and is still part of the large group of temples managed by the royal family. The visit will focus mainly on the Maratha mandapas, sculptures and paintings in the temple. | 12.00PM-1.00PM: A traditional Maratha lunch will be served. | 1.00PM-3.00PM: At leisure. | 3.30PM-5.30PM: Visit the Maratha Palace with its Arsenal tower, Bell tower, Durbar halls, Royal costumes, and the Saraswati Mahal Library, the only medieval library of its kind in Asia today. | 6.00PM-7.30PM: Visit the private quarters of the Maratha royal family and get exclusive access to their private museum (subject to receiving permission). 7.30PM: Rest of the evening @ leisure
Day 3 / After Breakfast
8.30AM-11.00AM: Visit Manora Tower, a unique 8-storey tower erected by Serfoji Maharaj II in honor of the English victory over Napoleon Bonaparte of France. This is the only extant victory tower in honor of the English outside Europe. The tower is an engineering marvel. | 11.30AM-12.30PM: Visit Maratha chattrams, rest houses that were built for pilgrims and travelers, on the route from Manora to Thanjavur. The Orthanad chattram is the largest Maratha chattram, it is chariot-shaped and exhibits wall paintings and wood carvings, it is an amazing structure. | 1.00PM-2.00PM: Lunch @ Thanjavur. | 2.00PM-4.00PM: At leisure. | 4.30PM-5.30PM: Craft demonstration- Thanjavur Painting or Plate making, both of which flourished under Maratha rule. | 5.30PM-7.00PM: Shopping for Maratha handicrafts (if interested). | 7.00PM: Rest of the evening @ leisure.
Day 4 / After Breakfast
8.30AM-11.00AM: Visit Tiruvaiyaru to view the Maratha bridges that were built across rivers Vennar, Vettar, Vadavar, Kudamurutti and Kaveri. Also visit many structures built during the Maratha period- Maratha Secondary Palace, Pigeon Houses and the Vithoba Temple which is a miniature replica of the famous Vithoba Temple in Pandarpur, Maharashtra. | 11.30AM-2.00PM: Visit a traditional Agraharam (place where Brahmins stay) for a traditional Tamil Brahmin vegetarian lunch. 2.30PM: Head back to the hotel | 4.00PM: The trip comes to an end! Some changes may be made to the final itinerary in case of unforeseen situations, in which alternate arrangements will be made.

Inclusions

Inclusions

  • Accommodation – on Twin sharing basis in a 3 star hotel.
  • Activities – entrance fees to any monument that requires a ticketed entry, charges for arts/crafts demonstration.
  • Services of a professional trip expert who will be a subject matter expert.
  • All applicable taxes, toll fees, parking charges, etc.
  • Food & Beverages: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Tea.
  • Transportation: A vehicle, in keeping with the group size, will be arranged from Day 2 onwards for travel over the next 3 days. If all participants are part of the same group a vehicle can also be arranged from Chennai or Trichy airports/railway stations. At the end of the trip participants will have to arrange their own transport to get to the airport or railway station of choice for their onward journey.

Exclusions

  • Any expense that is not mentioned in the Inclusions list above. These will have to be paid at actuals directly by the guests.
  • Service Tax
  • Porterage, gratuities, personal expenses, etc.
  • Cost: The above costs are valid for a limited period.

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