Visit The Magnificent Manora Fort in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu (2023)
If you are in Tamil Nadu and want to visit a true architectural wonder, then a visit to the Manora Fort is a must.The Manora Fort in Thanjavur is located just 20 kilometers from Pattukkottai and 60 kilometers from the center of Thanjavur city.
What is so unique about the Manora Fort? This is a unique fort of its kind in Tamil Nadu constructed in a hexagonal form. It is an eight storied, hexagonal tower that towers 23 meters and overlooks the Bay of Bengal. The fort has been named after the word Manora, meaning Minaret.
History of the Manora Fort
The Manorafort was built by the Maratha ruler Serfoji II from 1814 to 1815. The Manorafort was constructed to commemorate the successful advancement of the British forces over Napoleon Bonaparte. The Manorafort was also used as a residence for the royal family, and later as a light house.
Surrounded by a wall, this tower fort also has a moat around it. The monument looks more like a pagoda than your traditional fort. With arched windows, a circular winding staircase, and eaves that separate one storey from the other, this unique Manora Fort is a must-visit when you are in Thanjavur. You may even say that the fort actually looks like a pagoda.
The Manora Fort was significantly damaged in the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. In 2007, the Tamil Nadu Tourism department renovated the structure and improved its infrastructure by constructing additional facilities. The department upgraded the children’s park and also built a separate tourist shed. Apart from the development of the children’s park, the state government has also installed additional lighting, display boards, planted saplings along the road, and even laid a new road from Sethu Road to the Manora Fort to make it easier for tourists to reach the fort.
Interesting Information about the Manora Fort
There is a legend that says there is a hidden underground walkway that goes from the Manorafort and is directly connected to the main temple in Thanjavur, the Brihadeeswara Temple. However, no one has found any proof of this tunnel existing to date.
Today, visitors to the Manorafort are only allowed to go up to the second floor as there is a fear that the high towers may collapse. The floors above are closed to the public.
Sight Seeing Places to Visit NearManora Fort
There is a beach located near the Manorafort, which makes it a popular tourist destination. For tourists who are keen to learn more about the Dravidian architectural style, another reason to visit Manorafort is that it boasts of classical Dravidian architecture, which is rare to see at the forts in India.
There are many great sightseeing places near the Manora Fort that you can check out after touring the fort. Here are some of the attractions you can check out:
- Brihadeeswara Temple: This temple is one of the best tourist places in Thanjavur. It is located on Membalam Road in Balaganapathy Nagar. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is a major pilgrimage place in South India. People from all over the country come to this temple to pay obeisance. It is sometimes also known as the Rajesvara Peruvudaiyar Temple. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known as the ‘Great Living Chola Temple.’ This ancient temple was built between 1003 and 1010 AD by Raja Chola I. This temple is an exemplary example of Dravidian architecture, and the breathtaking sculpting of the temple will forever remain in your mind.
- Gangaikonda Cholapuram: This magnificent structure was the capital city of the ancient Chola Dynasty for over two centuries. This historic structure is today left in ruins and is nothing more than a small village, but it is still a must-visit to see the once glorious past of the Chola Empire. Gangaikonda Cholapuram was built by the Chola King Rajendra as a commemoration of the victory over the Pala Dynasty. The city today exists as a heritage town and is located right next to the Brihadeeswara Temple.
- Shiva Ganga Garden: Located within the Vijaynagar Fort, this garden has been very well maintained by the Architectural Survey of India. A popular tourist spot, there is a square tank located in the garden that was built in the 16th century to provide water to the Tanjore Palace. The tank is still in use today and is famous for its sweet-tasting water. To date, no one has been able to figure out why the water tastes sweet.
- Vijayanagar Fort: If you liked visiting the Manora Fort, you should definitely check out the Vijaynagar Fort nearby. The Vijaynagar Fort is located just two kilometers away from the Brihadeeswara Temple. Built by the Nayaks and by the Maratha rulers, this majestic fort was constructed in the early 1550 AD. The fort is home to the Tanjore Palace, Sangeetha Mahal, a library, and the Shiva Ganga Gardens. There is also a sprawling art gallery that includes many ancient paintings and sculptures. Even though the fort is mostly in ruins today, you can still feel the grandeur and glory of the Nayaks and Marathas from once upon a time.
- Thanjai Mamani Koil: Thanjavur is an ancient city that is full of history at every nook and corner. The Thanjai Mamani Koil is a set of three temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Together, these three temples are known as the Divyadesam, and it is among the 108 other such temple complexes in the country. This is one of the unique temples in Tamil Nadu as Lord Vishnu is worshipped in his Narasimha avatar. After visiting the Manora Fort, it is a great idea to visit this temple complex to get a unique opportunity to see the three abodes of Lord Vishnu at the same time.
So continue your exciting journey across Thanjavur by visiting all these nearby places. All of these attractions are located very close to the Manora Fort and you can easily visit these after exploring the Manora Fort.
What are the timings of Manora Fort?
The Manor Fort is open every day of the week from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.