An integral part of Thanjavur Palace, Saraswathi Mahal Library is a treasure trove of knowledge. One of the oldest libraries in Asia, it is among the few medieval libraries left in the world that house extremely rare and priceless collections. Preserved here are nearly 49,000 volumes, including palm leaf manuscripts that date back to the 3rd-4th century BC. One can also scour important repositories of Tamil, Sanskrit and other South Indian literature. You can find volumes like the Madras Almanac (1807), Dr Samuel Johnson's 1784 dictionary, a pictorial bible printed in Amsterdam in 1791. It's exhaustive assortment of culture and heritage is further showcased in a small museum at the complex. Manuscripts, books, maps and paintings of all aspects of art, culture and literature can be found here. The library was established in the 16th century by the Nayak kings.

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