Thanjavur, formerly Tanjore, is a city in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The city is an important center of South Indian religion, art, and architecture. Most of the Great Living Chola Temples, which are UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, are located in and around Thanjavur. The foremost among these is the Brihadeeswara Temple, located in the centre of the city. Thanjavur is also home to Tanjore painting, a painting style unique to the region. It is famous for its fine paintings done with studded gems and gold leaf.
Thanjavur thrived as the ancient capital of the Chola kingdom, later of Marathas and Nayaks. Thanjavur was at the height of its glory during the Chola period between the 10th and the 14th century and became a great centre of learning and culture. The Chola Empire eventually grew into one of the most powerful empires India had ever seen.