If you are travelling to Thanjavur or Tanjore then there are few places you must visit and one of them is Manora. It’s around 65 – 75 kilometres from Thanjavur town and the best transportation option would be to hire a car. Instead of hiring the car for a full day you can book it for a point to point service which would be much cheaper.
The journey from Thanjavur town to Manora is a very smooth one as a considerable part of the journey is over newly constructed four lane highway, rest of the roads are also newly laid making it quite a smooth and comfortable journey.
Manora is a small town more of a fishing village on the shore of Bay of Bengal. Even though this is coastal region there are no sandy beaches as such, water starts right at the edge where the land ends. This section of the district is predominantly Muslims thus on the way you will find quite a few mosques. This fact is important and the reason you will know a bit later.
India has no direct connection with Napoléon Bonaparte but this place actually does have a very direct connection. The reason Manora is famous is due to its fort at the edge of the shore here in Manora. This place is however too small if you compare it with any other forts that you see around this region of India. Actually, the monument out here is the reason why people come here to see Manora. This monument has a direct connection with Napoléon Bonaparte.
This monument was built by the Maratha ruler of Thanjavur Serfoji II in 1814 – 1815 to honour the British victory over the French led by Napoléon Bonaparte at Waterloo. It is to be noted that the Maratha rulers of Thanjavur especially Serfoji II were very close to the British rulers in the Indian subcontinent and this was the perfect way to appease them.
This monument is a hexagonal tower with a height of 23 meters (75 feet). The tower has nine floors with a fort like surrounding structures. The entire structure is surrounded by moats from multiple directions. There are also rooms built around the tower. To reach the monument you need to fist take the ramp which takes you to a platform from where you can take stairs to reach the upper floors. From the top you get the view of Bay of Bengal, there is also a functional lighthouse to the right since this is a heavy sea traffic route. There is also a children’s park near the fort and thus is a good weekend picnic spot.
It is also said that Serfoji II used to visit this place on weekends with his family and used to use the rooms in the basement. There are several of these rooms across the fort which was used by the soldiers guarding the fort as well as to store arms and ammunitions. At a later stage, this structure was also used as a lighthouse. This fort and the monument were heavily damaged during the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and has only recently been extensively repaired.
There are lots of opinions on the origin of the name “Manora”, some say it’s because of the fact that the Maratha rulers referred to the beauty of the place as Manohara and thus the name was derived. While some say that it’s actually derived from the word “Minar” due to its minaret-like structure.
There is a fishing village nearby and a short trip to this place can also be done, there is a small port out here for the fishing trawlers and from the jetty, you get a good panoramic view of the bay. A trip to Manora is around half a day affair thus prepare and plan accordingly.
Hope you have liked travelling along with me to Manora, in my next and the last blog on Thanjavur, I would highlight about all the important tourist spots around Thanjavur.
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Location on Map
Click here to open the location of Manora Fort on Google maps.