Tags : Forts & Palaces
Timings : 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Lunch break: 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Closed on Wednesday and National Holidays
Time Required : Less than 1 hour
Entry Fee : No entry fee
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The Britannica Encyclopaedia enlists the Serfoji Sarasvati Mahal Library as 'the most remarkable library of India'. In an era when physical libraries are becoming obsolete, and people are moving to the digital books more and more, this establishment has held its own among the few. And the fact that it has its origin dating back to the 16th-17th century further adds to the significance of the library. Established by the Nayak rulers of Thanjavur, it was later nurtured by the Maratha king Serfoji II, who was also one of the most prominent rulers of the land. Thanks to him, the library is not only one of the few ancient ones that are still there in the world, but also a well-stocked one. Not just books, the library boasts a large collection of art, paintings, maps, and manuscripts as well.
The library section is restricted to scholars only, but the digitized catalogs have been made available online for anyone academically or professionally interested in looking up. With prior permission, they can access the vast collection of knowledge the library possesses. For the public, the library museum is quite a treat. Though not as big as the actual library, it has enough to mesmerize the visitors with its historic charm.
As you step in the well-maintained and organized museum, you will be transported back to the era of Nayaks and Marathas. Stories of gods and goddesses, birds and animals, saints and sages, wars and weapons - everything is depicted in the collections of the museum. There is an audio-visual show as well, which narrates the history of Thanjavur and all its rulers in chronological order, giving a clear idea to the visitors about the background and context of the library and its origin.