Tiruchirapalli

Rock Fort temple at night Rock Fort temple at night

Tiruchirapalli, more commonly referred to as Trichy, lies 320 km to the south of Chennai, on the banks of the Cauvery. Trichy itself, has a long history, going back to the centuries before the Christian era, when it was a Chola citadel. The Pandyas and Pallavas held sway over the region for short periods. In the 12th century, Cholas were subverted by the Vijayanagar kings of Hampi, who proudly withstood the invading Muslims. Less than fifty years later, the Nayaks of Madurai came to power, constructed the Rock Fort, and firmly established Trichy as the trading city.

Sightseeing

Rock Fort Temple

Rock Fort TempleThis temple crowns a massive outcrop of rock, that soars 83 metres upwards, from the surrounding plains. It is reached by a steep flight of 437 steps, cut into the rock. Halfway up is the Sri Thayumanaswamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has a 100-pillared hall, and a Vimana, covered with gold. On the southern face of the rock, are several beautifully carved, rock-cut cave temples, of the Pallava period. Non - Hindus are not allowed into the sanctum sanctorum, at the summit. Built by the Nayaks, who were the founders of the city, it was one of the main centres, around which, the wars of the Carnatic were fought in the 18th century, during the British - French struggle for supremacy in India.

Srirangam (Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple)

Srirangam Temple

This temple, 6 kms north of the city, is among the most revered shrines to Lord Vishnu in South India, and probably, the largest temple complex in India. Enclosed by seven rectangular walled courtyards, this 13th century temple has 21 gopurams. The town, and the temple, are set on a 250-hectare island in the Cauvery, connected to the mainland by a bridge. The temple is very well preserved, with excellent carvings, and numerous shrines to various gods, though the main temple is dedicated to Vishnu.

Tiruvanaikkaval

The Jambukeshwara temple, here, is dedicated to Shiva, and it houses five concentric walls, and seven gopurams. Legend has it, that an elephant once worshipped the Lord, under the holy Jambu tree, hence the name Jambukeshwara. The principal deity is the Shiva lingam, almost submerged in water, which flows from the subterranean spring, in the sanctum sanctorum.

Vayaloor

Vayaloor is located on the outskirts of Tiruchirapalli. There is a small Lord Muruga temple, set amidst the lush green vegetation.

St. John's Church

Built in 1812, this Church has louvred doors, which when opened, turns the church into an airy pavilion. Its excellent setting and marvellous architecture, makes it a site worth visiting.

Around Tiruchirapalli

Grand Anicut (Kallanai) (24 km): An ancient dam built by Karikala Chola across the river Cauvery in 2 AD.

Mukkombu (Upper Anicut) (18 km): A wonderful picnic spot, where the river Kollidam branches off from the Cauvery.

Vayaloor (8 km): The site of a temple dedicated to Lord Murugan.

Samayapuram (20 km): Famous for its shrine to goddess Mariamman.

Viralimalai (30 km): A temple dedicated to Lord Subramanya is perched atop a hill. It is also the site of a peacock sanctuary.

Sittanavasal (58 km): The site of an ancient Jain monastery with exquisite fresco paintings in a cave. It is also noted for its pre-historic burial grounds.

Narthamalai (37 km): An unusual temple, circular in shape, is probavbly one of the first structural stone temples. A cave temple is also to be found here.

Elakurichi: The site of an old church built by the renowned Catholic missionary, Constantine Joseph Beschi.

Puliancholai (72 km): A fine picnic spot, it is located in the foothills of the Kolli range.

Kodumbalur (42 km): A small town famous for its shrines.

Avudayar Kovil: The site of a fine ancient Shiva temple. It is noted for its fascinating life-size sculptures.

Festivals

Mohini Alangaram, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Garuda Sevai, Flower Festival and Car Festival, during the last week of December, and first week of January. The Float festival at Teppakulam, during the months of March-April.

Access

Trichy is connected by road to Madras (320 km), Madurai (142 km) and to all major towns in South India by regular bus services. Tiruchirapalli is an important junction on the Southern Railway. It connects Madras, Thanjavur, Madurai, Tuticorin, Tirupati and Rameswaram on the metre gauge, and Bangalore, Coimbatore, Cochin and Mangalore on the broad gauge. It has an airport, 7 kms away, and is connected with Madras, Madurai, Singapore, Colombo and Bangalore.

Accomodation

Hotel Rajali,
Hotel Tamil Nadu (unit I),
Hotel Tamil Nadu (Unit II),
Railway Retiring rooms,
Muncipal Tourist Bungalow.

Tamil Nadu