Sarasvati Mahal Library
By Swami Harshananda
It is known to contain one of the largest and the most important collection of manuscripts in the world, the Sarasvatī Mahal Library of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. It was probably established by the end of the 16th century A. D. Its full official name is “Thanjavur Maharaja Serfoji’s Sarasvati Mahal Library”.
Since it was originally under Telugu Nāyaks, many Sanskrit manuscripts are in Telugu script. After the Maratha conquest in the 18th century A. D. there was a phenomenal growth of the Library. Later Mahārāja Serfoji Rao added a large number of manuscripts as a result of his visit to Vārāṇasi during the period A. D. 1820-30.
Formation of Trust
This personal library of the Mahārājas was made a public trust in A.D. 1918. The total number of manuscripts now exceeds 50,000. Quite a few of these have been edited and printed.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore