A distant view of Tanjore across a tank; a boat and two villagers in the foreground
Artist: Trapaud, Elisha (1750-1828)
Watercolour of the landscape at Thanjavur by Elisha Trapaud (1750-1828), dated c.1785. Inscribed on front in pencil: 'Distant view of Tanjore. Trapaud'; on back in ink: 'Distant view of Tanjore.'
Thanjavur was established and used by the Chola rulers in the 9th-12th centuries; it later became a Nayaka stronghold in the 16th-17th centuries and was also used by the Marathas in the 18th century. The tall pyramidal tower of the Brihadishvara Temple, also known as the Rajarajeshvara Temple, can be seen in the far background of this view. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and was built in the 9th century. It is one of the great achievements of the Chola era. This monumental temple stands in the middle of a large rectangular courtyard surrounded by smaller shrines. Its steeply pyramidal tower stands at about 66 m and consists of 13 storeys, each with pilastered walls covered with carved figures of divinities. This is a distant view depicting the landscape of Thanjavur, as can be seen across a tank, with a boat and two villagers in the foreground.