An influential Tamil temple town with a lovely setting amidst the delta of the Kaveri River, Tanjore is home to one of the most impressive monuments of southern India – the Brihadeeswarar Temple. Tanjore was once the capital of the Chola Empire sitting in the centre of a territory which, at its height, encompassed the majority of South India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. Over time the Chola rulers become known as great supporters of the arts, encouraging the development of Tamil literature and funding temple construction throughout the empire. Most of this, however, was centred on Tanjore with the majority of the town’s 93 temples dating to the Chola period. Undoubtedly the thousand year old Brihadeeswarar Temple, with its towering 60m vimana and exquisite Chola frescoes, is the main highlight of Tanjore but the town is also a good base from which to visit neighbouring Kumbakonam.