The splendid Vijaynagara Fort is an ancient monument and sprawling complex dating back to the 16th century. Built originally by the Nayak rulers of Thanjavur, the fort was updated by the later Maratha kings in early 1550 CE. Inside, you can find an incredible art gallery with beautiful paintings and sculptures, a library and the Sangeeth Mahal and Tanjore Palace. The complex also includes a large Shiva Ganga garden. Today, much of the fort lies in ruins, but you can still see the grandeur of its vision in its scale. The fort complex is a popular spot for guests arriving in the temple city of Thanjavur, located just 2 km northeast of the more famous Brihadeshwara Temple. CHECK OUT: Chennai to Thanjavur: How to reach Thanjavur from Chennai by road
The Vijaynagara Fort was first built by Vijaya Raghava Nayak, the fourth and final Sevappa Nayak king of Thanjavur. He would later be defeated in battle and beheaded by the ruler of Madurai, Chokkanatha Nayak. A few years later, Chokkanatha Nayak would lose his kingdom to his former allies, the Marathas, who would contribute to the fort construction in the coming years. Within the fort, you can see excellent stonework as you approach the Tanjore Palace, including a long pillared corridor leading to a small inner courtyard. You can still see the 190-foot Vimana or tower that once served as an arsenal and watch tower for the rulers. The Maratha ruler Serfoji II would later refurbish the palace as an armory. ALSO READ: Did you know these facts about the Great Living Chola Temples of South India?
The fort also has two Durbar halls of the Nayaks and Marathas, including the Raja Serfoji Saraswathi Mahal, which is now a sprawling library with more than 30,000 ancient European and Indian manuscripts, some of which are rare editions written out on paper and palm leaf. The library was put together by both the Nayaks and Marathas, covering more than 300 years of their rule. October to March is the best time to visit the fort, and the site is best visited after exploring the Brihadeshwara Temple.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THANJAVUR
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Thanjavur is as given below. The best time to visit Thanjavur is also specified.