Thanjavur Nayak kingdom or Thanjavur Nayak dynasty were the rulers of Thanjavur principality of Tamil Nadu between the 16th to the 17th century. The Nayaks were appointed as provincial governors by the Vijayanagar Emperor who divided the Tamil country into three Nayakships viz., Madurai, Tanjore and Gingi. Thanjavur Nayaks were notable for their patronage of literature and the arts.
A few indicators point out the affiliation of the Tanjore Nayaks to the Balija social group. A translation from Sources (p. 284) on Raghunathabhyudayam, says this about Timma, the father of Sevappa Nayak, the founder of the Tanjore Nayak line: In the Shudra caste born from the feet of Vishnu was born a king called Timma. The Mannaru (Vishnu) of the Mannargudi temple was their kula daivam (family deity).
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