Thanjavur district is a district of Tamil Nadu state with its administrative headquarters located at Thanjavur city. The district got its name from its headquarters city, Thanjavur. There is an interesting mythological story associated with the name of the place. Tanjan, a legendary demon in Hindu mythology was killed in this place by Lord Vishnu in the guise of Neelamegha Perumal. It is believed that the term Thanjavur is derived from the name of the demon. During the rule of King Vijayala Chola from Chola dynasty, the place was at its peak since he made it the head quarters of Chola dynasty. Later the downfall of the Chola dynasty was started and after sometime the city was ruled by various dynasties like Pandyas, Nayaks, Marathas and the British during different periods of time. Finally, the region was absorbed into the British India in the year 1855 with the help of the Doctrine of Lapse as Shivaji II (1832-55), the last Thanjavur Maratha ruler, died without a legitimate male heir. The British referred to the city as Tanjore in their documents and records. Five years after its annexation, the British replaced Negapatam (present day’s Nagapattinam) with Thanjavur as the seat of the district administration. Under the British rule, Thanjavur emerged as a significant regional centre. Thanjavur as a separate district came into existence in the year 1799.
Geographically, the district lies at 10°78'N latitude, 79°14'E longitude and 2 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 10.27% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 3,411 sq. km. and bounded by Kollidam River, Tiruchirappalli district and Perambalur district on the North, Nagapattinam district on the North East, Palk Strait of Bay of Bengal on the South and Pudukkottai district on the West. The climate of the district remains neither too hot in the summer and nor too cold in the winter. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1415.2 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 9 taluks namely Budalur, Kumbakonam, Orathanadu, Papanasam, Pattukottai, Peravurani, Thanjavur, Thiruvaiyaru and Thiruvidaimarudur. Moreover, it comprises 34 towns and 805 villages. The administrative language in the district is Tamil.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 24,05,890 out of which 11,82,416 are males and 12,23,474 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 1035 (females for every 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 8.56% including 7.82% were males and 9.29% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 86.28% of the total population. The population density in the district is 705 persons per sq. km. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Tamil with 97.42%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 40,311 out of which 20,666 were males and 19,645 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 24,797 out of which 15,086 were males and 9,711 were females.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The district has most of the fertile areas in the Tamil Nadu state since lies at the Kaveri delta region. It produces a huge quantity of rice in the state so it is popularly known as “Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu”. Some other chief agricultural crops in the district are blackgram, banana, coconut, gingelly, ragi, red gram, green gram, sugarcane, maize, etc. The district has several places of interest and thus, tourism is another significant source of income in it. Industrially, also the district is quite well developed but it is mainly restrained to agro-based industries. Numerous rice and oil mills are commonly found all over the district. In the year 2011-12 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 16,66,259 lakhs at current price and Rs. 11,15,057 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2018-19 was Rs. 38,24,658 lakh at current price and Rs. 27,32,085 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost during the period 2016-17 was Rs. 1,10,859 at current price and Rs. 82,631 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district is well known as an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education since it has four recognised universities namely Tamil University, SASTRA University, PRIST University and Periyar Maniammai University. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 82.64% including 89.04% are males and 76.5% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 17,90,998 including 9,44,264 are males and 8,46,734 are females.
S. Muthiah Mudaliar, an eminent Indian politician who served as the Minister of Education and Excise from 16th March, 1928 to 27th October, 1930 in the Madras Presidency was born in the year 1883 at Kumbakonam in the district. At the very beginning he was member of the Justice Party but later, he joined Indian National Congress (Swarajya Party).
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Peruvudaiyaar Temple, built by the Cholas and another prominent temple named Airavateswara temple are called UNESCO World Heritage Site which are located at Thanjavur city. Rajarajan Manimandabam, a memorial constructed by the Government of Tamil Nadu in order to honour the Great Chola King Rajarajan is located at centre of the Thanjavur city. It is surrounded by womderful gardens, delightful lamps and also decorated with fountain which made it even more beautiful. Sivagangai Poonga, situated in the district is a perfect destination for recreation. Manora fort, situated at a distance of 65 km. from the Thanjavur city is an 8-storied, hexagonal tower which was created by Serfoji II, a Maratha ruler in 1814-1815. The main purpose behind its construction was to commemorate the successful advance of the British over Napoleon Bonaparte.