Thanjavur (District)

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Thanjavur District
தஞ்சாவூர் மாவட்டம்
District map
State Tamil Nadu
Administrative headquarters : Thanjavur
Area : 3,411 km²
Residents : 2,405,890 (2011)
Population density : 705 inhabitants / km²
Website :

The district of Thanjavur ( Tamil : தஞ்சாவூர் மாவட்டம் ; formerly: Tanjore ) is a district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu . The administrative center is the eponymous city of Thanjavur . The district of Thanjavur has an area of ​​3,411 square kilometers and around 2.4 million inhabitants (2011 census).

The district of Thanjavur is located in the Kaveri Delta , an important ancient cultural landscape. The neighboring districts of Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur were only split off from the Thanjavur district in the 1990s. Wherever the district of Thanjavur or Tanjore is mentioned in older sources, the entire Kaveri delta region is usually meant.


Rice fields in Thanjavur district

Thanjavur District is located in central Tamil Nadu. Neighboring districts are Pudukkottai in the southwest, Tiruchirappalli in the west, Ariyalur in the north, Nagapattinam in the northeast and Tiruvarur in the east.

The area of ​​the district of Thanjavur is 3,411 square kilometers. The northern part of the district belongs to the Kaveri Delta . The westernmost point of the district is at the Grand Anicut Dam , where the Kaveri River divides into several estuary arms. In the north, the Kollidam , the northernmost estuary of the Kaveri, marks the border of the district. Several branches of the mouth of the Kaveri River flow in a west-east direction through the district of Thanjavur. The fertile Kaveri Delta is used intensively for agriculture and is known as the "Tamil Nadu rice bowl". The southern part of the Thanjavur district, on the other hand, no longer belongs to the Kaveri Delta, but consists of a slightly elevated plateau and is comparatively dry and barren. In the south, the district has a share of the coast to the Palk Bay between India and Sri Lanka .

In the district of Thanjavur there is an alternately humid tropical climate . The annual mean temperature in Thanjavur is 28.7 ° C, the annual mean precipitation is 938 mm. Most of the rainfall occurs during the northeast monsoon between October and December. It also rains during the southwest monsoons in August and September.


The Brihadisvara Temple of Thanjavur was built during the heyday of the Chola Dynasty

The area of ​​the district is the historical heartland of the most important South Indian ruling dynasty, the Cholas . In the middle of the 9th century, Thanjavur became the capital of the Chola kings. At the height of its power in the 10th and 11th centuries, the influence of the Chola Empire extended to Bengal and Southeast Asia . In the 13th century, the Cholas were defeated by the Pandyas residing in Madurai . In the 14th century, the area was briefly under Muslim rule before it came under the rule of Vijayanagar at the end of the same century . The kings of Vijayanagar installed military governors ( nayaks ) in Thanjavur , who became self-employed in 1535. In 1675 Thanjavur fell into the hands of the Marathan leader Venkaji , a brother of Shivaji . The Marath dynasty founded by Venkaji ruled over the kingdom of Thanjavur until they had to recognize the suzerainty of the British in 1799 . The king of Thanjavur was only allowed to keep his capital, the rest of the kingdom was subordinated to the province of Madras and thus under British administration as the district of Tanjore (Thanjavur) . When the last king of Thanjavur died without an heir in 1855, the kingdom fell entirely to the British.

After Indian independence in 1947, the district became part of the state of Madras, which in 1956 was reorganized according to the language borders of Tamil and renamed Tamil Nadu in 1969. Originally, the Thanjavur district comprised the entire Kaveri Delta, but the area gradually shrank through the establishment of new districts. In 1974, a smaller area of ​​Thanjavur District was added to the newly established Pudukkottai District . In 1991 the Nagapattinam District emerged from the eastern parts of the Thanjavur District. In 1997, the Tiruvarur district was again formed from six taluks from Nagapattinam district and one taluk from Thanjavur district.


Farmers harvesting rice in Thanjavur district

According to the 2011 Indian census, the Thanjavur district has 2,405,890 inhabitants. The district is densely populated: the population density of 705 inhabitants per square kilometer is above the average for Tamil Nadu (555 inhabitants per square kilometer). At the same time, however, the degree of urbanization is lower than the mean value for the state: 35 percent of the residents of the Thanjavur district live in cities, while in the whole of Tamil Nadu it is 48 percent. 19 percent of the district's residents are scheduled castes . At 83 percent, the literacy rate is in line with the state average (80 percent).

According to the 2011 census, Hindus make up the vast majority of the residents of the Thanjavur district, at 86 percent. There are also minorities of Muslims (8 percent) and Christians (6 percent). As in all of Tamil Nadu, the main language is Tamil . According to the 2001 census, 98 percent of the district's residents speak it as their first language.


The Airavatesvara Temple in Darasuram

The Kaveri Delta, to which the Thanjavur district belongs, is a region with a rich cultural history and numerous important Hindu temples from the Chola period. From an architectural point of view, the Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur should be emphasized , which was built between 1003 and 1010 under King Rajaraja I as a monumental symbol of the Chola rule. It is regarded as the highlight of medieval Hindu temple architecture and, together with the Airavatesvara Temple in Darasuram (also in the Thanjavur district) and the Brihadisvara Temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram (in the Ariyalur district ), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (see Great Temples of the Chola Dynasty ) .

From a religious point of view, the city of Kumbakonam with its numerous Hindu temples is particularly important. The Mahamaham festival takes place here every twelve years and attracts millions of pilgrims. But there are also significant Hindu shrines in numerous small towns and villages in the Thanjavur district. 55 of the 274 holy places of Tamil Shaivism ( Padal Petra Sthalams ) and 13 of the 108 shrines of Tamil Vishnuism ( Divya Desams ) are in the district of Thanjavur. There are also four of the nine Navagraha temples , a group of Hindu temples in the Kaveri Delta, which are associated with the heavenly bodies, and Swamimalai, one of six pilgrimage sites of the Hindu god Murugan ( Arupadaividu ). An important Catholic pilgrimage site is the Basilica of Our Lady of Lourdes in Poondi .

At the beginning of May, the annual festival Narasimha Jayanti in honor of Vishnu takes place in Melattur , where the religious dance drama Bhagavata Mela is performed.

Administrative division

Thanjavur District Taluks

Thanjavur District is divided into the following eight taluks (sub-districts):

Taluk main place Population
Kumbakonam Kumbakonam 436,592
Orathanadu Orathanadu 246,871
Papanasam Papanasam 273,511
Pattukkottai Pattukkottai 396.236
Peravurani Peravurani 123.861
Thanjavur Thanjavur 511.865
Thiruvaiyaru Thiruvaiyaru 185,803
Thiruvidaimarudur Thiruvidaimarudur 231.151


In the district of Thanjavur there are three cities with their own municipalities ( municipalities ), 22 small towns administered according to the Panchayat system ( Town Panchayats ) and nine census towns ( Census Towns ). The number of inhabitants is given according to the 2011 census.

Town panchayats
Censorship cities


  • The Imperial Gazetteer of India. Volume 23: Singhbhūm to Trashi-Chöd-Zong. New edition. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1908, pp. 225–242 , keyword: Tanjore District .

Web links

Commons : Thanjavur District  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Census of India 2011: Primary Census Abstract - Tamil Nadu. (PDF; 873 kB)
  2. ^ Kathleen Gough: Rural Society in Southeast India, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981, pp. 4-5.
  3. Climate data from .
  4. ^ Census of India 2011: Primary Census Data Highlights - Tamil Nadu. Chapter - I Population, Size and Decadal Change.
  5. ^ Census of India 2011: Primary Census Data Highlights - Tamil Nadu. Chapter - II Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Population.
  6. ^ Census of India 2011: Primary Census Data Highlights - Tamil Nadu. Chapter - III Literates and Literacy Rate.
  7. ^ Census of India 2011: C-1 Population By Religious Community. Tamil Nadu.
  8. Census of India 2001: C-15: Population by Mother Tongue (Tamil Nadu), accessed under Tabulations Plan of Census Year - 2001 .
  9. a b Census of India 2011: Primary Census Abstract Data Tables: Thanjavur.