Upon having reached Thanjavur we visited the Maratha Palace complex also known and referred to as Aranmanai, which was the official residence of the Bhonsle family, who ruled over the Thanjavur region from 1674 through to 1855.
As we made it to the Saraswathi Mahal Library within the complex we found out it was already closed. I had been keen on having a look at some of its rare manuscripts (44,000 in total), particularly the ones written on palm leaf. The library was established around 1700 AD and is considered one of the oldest libraries in Asia.
We soon walked into the Royal Palace Museum itself which houses a remarkable collection of stone and bronze South Indian sculptures, mostly dating from the 9th and 12th centuries. Equally remarkable were the ceiling and wall paintings on its main hall.
Siva (slayer of the demon elephant) - late Chola - mid 12th century AD, Darasuram
Duralapalakar (guardian deity at the entrance) - 9th-10th century, Pateeswaram
Dakshinamoorthy (the teacher of the South) - 15th-16th century, Umayalvathi
Arthenari (Siva with his one half as Parvati) - early Chola -11th century, Thiruvalanjuli
Durga (Virgin Parvati as slayer of the buffalo demon) - early Chola - 10th century, Thiruvalanjuli
Buddah - 14th-16th century, Vijayanagar
Bikshatana Murthi (Siva as mendicant) - early Chola - 10th century, Thiruvalanjuli
(To be continued)