The solvothermal process was employed to grow ZnO nanorods at low temperature on conducting substrate, which is extremely important for making efficient electrical contacts in various applications based on ZnO nanorods. Efforts were made to find the ideal growth parameters for better alignment of the ZnO nanorods with a view to tailor their luminescent properties. The ZnO nanorod arrays were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive analysis of x-rays (EDAX) and x-ray diffraction study. The ZnO nanorod arrays were found to have excellent UV emission properties at room temperature. Aligned ZnO nanorod arrays exhibit good field emission properties, revealing their applicability as cathode materials for field emission based devices.