Thanjavur Saraswathi Mahal Library – The Treasure of Manuscripts

  • N Neela Head and Associate Professor of History
  • G Ambroshia Assistant Professor of History, Sri Meenakshi Govt. Arts College (W) (A), Madurai
Keywords: Tamil Literature, Chola king, Saraswati Mahal Library, Vijayanagar Emperors, Nayaks, Chola mandalam


Thanjavur District is one of the 32 districts of the state of Tamil Nadu, in south eastern India. It’s headquarter is Thanjavur. Thanjavur is a famous historical city for a period of almost 1000 years. The earliest rulers of Thanjavur known to history are the Mutharayars, who ruled from their capital at Sendalai, a fertile village near Tirukattupalli in Thanjavur District. But few details of their times are available except that in the middle of the ninth century, they were a dependency under the Pallava rulers. 1 The great Chola king Vijayala founded the Chola empire Thanjavur with its capital. The period of the Cholas was productive of immortal works in Tamil Literature. After the Cholas, about the end of the 14th century the Vijayanagar Emperors annexed Chola mandalam to their kingdom. They rued Thanjavur through their viceroys. One of the viceroys appointed in 1532 by king Achyuta was Sevappanayak and he founded the dynasty of Thanjavur. 2 All the Nayak kings were, without exception, great men of letters. The court was flourished with both Sanskrit and Telugu poets and dramatists. The Telugu and Sanskrit works produced during the rule of the Nayaks from 1532 to 1673 are in the archives of Saraswati Mahal Library.

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