early Chola capital from the 9th to the 11th century CE, Thanjavur, or Tanjore,
again gained prominence during the Vijayanagar, Maratha, and British periods.
Its attractions today include the spectacular Brihadishwara
Chola temple (built by Raja Raja in 1010 CE, this pinnacle of Chola
architecture is also a UNESCO
world heritage site, and the palace of Serfoji
Maratha prince. Industries include cotton mills, traditional handloom weaving,
and the manufacture of vinas (South Indian stringed instruments). [Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica]
Thanjavur is also home to a major collection of Medieval
manuscripts-Maharaja Serfoji's Sarasvati Mahal library-with about 59,000 titles
on both palm leaf and paper. A precious cultural resource today, it was fostered
by the royals of both the Nayak (1535-1676)
and the Maratha (1676-1855)
dynasties of Thanjavur. Its eclectic collection includes
4,500 works in French, English, German, and Danish. Over 39,300 are in Sanskrit,
written in Grantha, Devanagari, Nandinagari, and Telugu scripts (visit the library website
An Odissi dance performance at the Brihadishwara
temple by the Sutra Dance Theater of Ramli Ibrahim (Malaysia). Odissi is said to be over 2000 years old. It originated and
developed in the temples of Orissa and later flourished in the courts too.
One of the six recognized schools of classical Indian dance still practiced
today (the other five being Bharata Natyam from Tamil Nadu, Kathak from
North India, Manipuri from Manipur, Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh, and
Kathakali from Kerela), many of its dance poses are sculpted on the exterior
of the temples of Bhubaneswar, Konarak, and Puri.