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Apart from his
avid collection of books and manuscripts, Serfoji was a writer himself and is
credited with the authorship of 'Kumarasambhava Champu', 'Mudrarakshasya', to
name a few.
Serfoji was more than a bibliophile. He established the Dhanvantari
Mahal where physicians of Allopathy, Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha researched their
systems of medicine and left eighteen volumes as a result of their studies. He
had the important herbs studied and catalogued in the form of exquisite hand paintings.
Serfoji patronized music, dance and the fine arts. He constructed several rest
homes for pilgrims and initiated poor-feeding, besides funding several Vedic yagnas.
All in all, the Maratha rule in Tanjavur encouraged a golden period before its
eventual culmination at the hands of the British. The two hundred years of Maratha
rule left behind a rich legacy of art, music and architecture, the aroma of which
still lingers within the city's structures.
In these majestic paintings,
the king of Tanjavur, Raja Serfoji II is depicted in all his glory as he was seen
during the regular processions that were functionary at that time.
SERFOJI II- THE LAST MARATHA KING OF TANJAVUR
Perhaps the most famous
and lasting rule was that of Serfoji II, who ascended the throne in A.D. 1798.
By this time, the British had veritably ruled most of India and Tanjavur had to
be handed over to the British throne. Serfoji was deprived of all power except
in the fort of Tanjavur and its neighbourhood. The revenue and judicial systems
were taken over by the Company, leaving Serfoji a mere titular head.
on 24th September 1777, in the royal household of Chatrapati Shivaji, Serfoji
was the adopted child of Tulajaji. Rev. Schwartz, a Danish missionary was appointed
as the boy's teacher and guide. Serfoji was trained and tutored in Madras under
the direct supervision of Rev. Christian Fredrich Schwartz in the St. George School
and in course of time became a scholar in his own right.
his life to the pursuit of culture, and Tanjavur became renowned as a center for
learning. Serfoji's love for learning and his thirst for knowledge led him to
establish the Saraswati Mahal Library which was endowed with manuscripts collected
from all over India, and books from all over the world. This library boasted of
treatises on Vedanta, grammar, music, training of elephants and horses etc.
The administration of Tanjavur district attained a perfection hitherto unknown
under Raja Serfoji. For the first time administrative orders and proceedings were
meticulously recorded and dispensed under Shastric injunctions.
He had a
small museum where he collected old coins. His scientific bent of mind is demonstrated
by his collection of various instruments like the air pump, electric machine,
an ivory human skeleton to name a few.
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