Last Updated on January 26, 2022 by asoulwindow
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What can I buy in Thanjavur?
I explored the lanes of Thanjavur and was intrigued by the interesting souvenirs for sale on the streets. You can also by these from the state-owned Government Emporiums. The prices in these showrooms are mostly reasonable and the quality is good. Let’s have a detailed look at what we can buy in Thanjavur?
The city of Thanjavur or Tanjore is home to several dying art forms when it comes to fine arts, music, dance, drama, theatre etc. Livelihood of several local artisans depends on these. You should support and encourage the local artists by allowing them to display their talent and buy their products.
It is the duty of a tourist to engage with these art forms and help them revive by doing a little shopping in Thanjavur. I believe travel is meaningful only when you add value to the local people’s economy.
Below are some of the best things to buy in Thanjavur. This is the most comprehensive Thanjavur Shopping Guide.
What makes the world-famous Thanjavur paintings stand apart is its beautiful gold work. Studded with real gold and semi-precious stones, the recurrent theme of the Thanjavur paintings is the Gods from the Hindu pantheon such as Shiv Bhagwan, Shri Krishna, Ganesh ji, Ram ji, Seeta Ji, Hanuman Ji, South Indian deities and scenes from Hindu epics such as Mahabharat, Ramayan and Geeta Updesh.
However, this classical art form comes for a price and a good one at that. The real and authentic Thanjavur paintings can burn a hole in your pocket. But worry not! Cheaper replicas of Thanjavur paintings are also sold for a low budget in the streets of both Trichy as well as Tanjore. Do visit South Keezha Veedhi for some reasonably priced Thanjavur paintings. It makes for a great souvenir.
Traditional local crafts
As I moved around Thanjavur, I had my eyes peeled at the exquisite crafts made with wood, brass products such as brass sculptures and brass plates had also filled the stores at both Trichy and Thanjavur. Do pic some if you have space in your luggage and of course, the walls at the home.
As I allowed my nose to be distracted by the smell of fresh Idli and Sambhar from the local stalls, my travel blogger friend Ami Bhat packed in a beautiful Thalaiyatti Bommai head nodding doll for her daughter for just INR 300 for a piece. These South Indian bobble-head dolls are traditionally made with terracotta.
I liked the way the head of these colourful dolls move at the slightest hint of wind. The prices of these clay dancing Tanjore dolls, available in many colours and sizes are shown higher on internet than what I had seen in the actual market. Also, you do not need to pay any hidden shipping charges like online shopping portals.
I had travelled to many places in South India on the luxury train Golden Chariot. In fact, during the Golden Chariot reception of all the guests at a luxury hotel in Bengaluru, the renowned local dancers had dressed up as Thanjavur dancing Dolls and danced like puppets. It was fun to watch.
The Live Thalaiyatti Bommai or Doll dance of Thanjavur arranged by Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation in a luxury hotel was spellbinding.
Popular with both kids and adults alike, do buy the Thalaiyatti Bommai nodding dolls which are unique to Tanjore. The Thanjavur nodding dolls are also known as Raja-Rani Bommai or Gundu Chatti Bommai (Round Pot Doll).
Where to buy: Though it is available everywhere in Tanjore, there are some good shops near Punainallur Mariamman Temple. I also see many of the dancing dolls sold at the temples in Trichy. These Thanjavur dolls are also available for sale at shops near Tanjore temple.
You will find many local vendors selling handy travel guide books for as low as INR 150 a book. Do buy these guide books on Brihadeshwara Temple and Trichy temples to enhance your knowledge and support local economy. I did buy some and enjoyed reading these.
Replica of Brihadisvara Temple
Since Brihadisvara Temple located in Thanjavur is one of the largest temples of the world, you can see many local shops selling decorative replicas of the ‘Big temple of Thanjavur’. The price of this special souvenir depends on the material used and size. Many idols made with grains are also available for sale.
I also saw many shops selling musical instruments on the shops in Trichy and Tanjore. Musical CDs are also available for sale.
Thanjavur is the cradle of Tamil culture. Jewellery, as we know is an inseparable part of collective culture. Women can also pick jewelleries which are unique to Tanjore.
I do not support cruelty on animals; therefore, I do not recommend buying the famous silk weaves. Many vendors sell Ahimsa Silk which is a sham. Silk of any kind can never be cruelty free. Though Ahimsa Silk is made without boiling alive the silk worms, it still harms them by keeping the worms captive in an unnatural way. This is why, I do not recommend buying silk in Thanjavur.
Several shops sell Brass/Bronze Sculptures in the local markets of Thanjavur. It is the top thing to buy in Thanjavur because artists have practised making various artefacts from times immemorial.
Tamil Art Books
Everyone knows that Thanjavur has remained an epicenter of rich art and culture since a long time. It therefore makes sense to buy some high-quality Tamil art books in Thanjavur.
The rich Tamil literature is famous across the world. If not in Thanjavur, then where else, will you buy some of the finest works by Tamil writers, both old and new? There are many shops around Tanjore which sell Tamil books.
Wooden crafts are very popular in Thanjavur. I saw many street side shops selling colourful wooden toys on carts. You can also buy many wooden wall hangings, masks, artefacts etc in and around the bustling markets of Thanjavur.
You can buy some are antiques from Thanjavur. Needless to say, the old antiques come for a price. You must check for authenticity of the antique before making payment.
Thanjavur is known as rice bowl of India. You must buy some raw local rice if baggage weight permits (and even if not!). I had actually bought the local fragrant Kala Namak Chawal during my visit to Shravasti, Kapilvastu, Kushinagar in my home state Uttar Pradesh near the border with Nepal.
Spiced cashew-nuts are some of the best things to buy in Tanjore. You can pick some high quality kaju from shops near the railway station.
Shopping places in Thanjavur
Where to do shopping in Thanjavur? You can pick local handicrafts and souvenirs at Handicrafts Sales Centre, Government managed emporiums or street side shops. There are many street-side shops in the vibrant markets of Thanjavur which sell everything from expensive Thanjavur temples to very affordable Thalaiyatti Bommai nodding dolls made of clay.
Poompuhar is run by Government. They sell trinkets and souvenirs. Their prices are fixed. You can also do shopping from Kandiya Heritage, which is located right opposite the palace. They sell bronze pieces, jewellery, precious antiques, dancing dolls, wooden toys and even old European pottery.
Conclusion: Shopping in Thanjavur
There are several shopping places in Thanjavur where you can both spend on a low budget or splurge, depending upon how deep your pocket is. Shopping in Thanjavur is easy due to availability of several shops at every few steps. The wide choices and great range of products available in Thanjavur make it a shopper’s delight!
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