The British called it Trichinopoly, the original name is Tiruchirappalli and popularly it’s called Trichy or Tiruchi. Similar to that of Thanjavur this town has a recorded history since the Cholas around 3 BC. Later on, it was ruled by the Pandyas, Pallavas, Vijayanagar Empire, Nayaks, Carnatic state and finally the British.
This is basically a temple town with two very famous temples, other than temple this town also has two very important churches and a Dargah, with a distance of only sixty kilometers from Thanjavur this place can easily be visited as a day trip.
The following places are a must if you ever plan a trip to Tiruchirappalli:-
1) Grand Anicut / Kallanai Dam
2) Rockfort / Thayumanaswami Temple
3) Christ Church
4) Our Lady of Lourdes Church
5) Hazrat Nathervali Dargah
6) Sri Ranganathar Swamy Temple
7) Arulmigu Jambukeswarar Akhilandeswari Temple
8) Erumbeeswarer Temple
Grand Anicut / Kallanai Dam
Just like the town, this ancient dam is as old as the Chola rule of this region. This dam was originally built by the Chola dynasty king Karikala in 190 AD. This makes it one of the oldest dams in the world even though what we now see is a dam with lock gates which was built during the British rule of India.
The waters of the river Cauvery which passed through this region before flowing into the Bay of Bengal but since there were no ways to divert this water the region faced severe droughts. Thus it was decided to divert the waters into canals to help in agriculture by the Chola King.
In the year 1839 British engineer Sir Arthur Cotton designed the under splices over Kollidam (Coleroon) thus now the Cauvery river gets diverted into four different sources which are Cauvery, Vennar, Kollidam and Grand Anicut Canal.
These is a small children’s park near the dam and just opposite to this is the Karikala Cholan Manimandapam which was built to honor the Chola king Karikala for his initiative to build the dam in the first place.
As the name suggests is a fortified structure like a fort which was built on a large rock thus giving it a natural defence. During the Nayak dynasty rule of this region, this fort structure saw some of the fiercest of battles. However, this place is more famous for the temples.
Manikka Vinayagar Temple = this temple is situated at the foothill of Rockfort and is the first amongst the three temples. This temple is dedicated to Lord Manikka Vinayakar.
Thayumanaswami Temple = this temple is situated at the base of the rock and can be approached directly by a car or on foot and there is no need to climb any stairs. This temple was built during the Pallava dynasty rule by king Mahendravarman I in the year 6 AD. This is a Shiva temple and is represented by a linga.
Sri Malaikottai Uchipillaiyar Temple = this temple is situated at the top of the hill and you have to climb stone stairs. The main deity of this temple is Ganesha. From the top of the temple you will get a fantastic panoramic view of Trichy town and at night when the lights of the temple are switched on it creates a fantastic illusion of a rock with a glowing crown. This temple’s history has links to mythology with Vibhishana and Lord Vinayaka as the central character.
Pallava Cave Temple = this temple is under ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) and one of the most beautiful temple structure that I have seen in Rockfort. This temple can be accessed by walking ahead of Thayumanaswami Temple and then take a right where a signboard tells the visitor of its presence. This temple is an example of Pallava architecture, the rock has been cut from a side section of the main rock and beautifully carved into sculptures. I would personally recommend that one must visit this temple just to understand the finesse of stone works in that era.
Similar to Thanjavur Christ Church we have a similar church built by the same person Rev. Christian Frederic Schwartz in the year 1766 which is much before construction of the church in Thanjavur. The land for the church was provided by the Nawab of Carnatic. Often people ignore this church due to its small size when compared with Our Lady of Lourdes Church but this church has a history of its own.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church
This church dwarfs other churches in this town due to its sheer size and architecture brilliance. Built in the honour of Our Lady of Lourdes this church was constructed in the year 1840 by Jesuit Fathers. The architecture style is a replica of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in France.
Hazrat Nathervali Dargah
Nathervali was the pioneer in bringing Islam to Southern India and in Sri Lanka. He had come to the Indian subcontinent in the 11th century AD as a part of a contingent under Mohammed Rasoolallah. He is deeply revered as a saint across all religion in this region and his death anniversary is celebrated as an Urs where people come to seek his blessings.
Sri Ranganathar Swamy Temple
The sheer size and the temple complex cannot be well explained in words, it’s much more than massive with classic Dravidian architecture style this is the largest functioning Hindu temple complex in the world after Angkor Wat which is not a functional site. In order to go around the full temple site in details, it will take nearly a day. There are several gates or Gopura in the complex and each of them built uniquely highlighting the brilliance of architecture and stone works.
As per some records, this temple site was built around 10th century AD which means was started by the Cholas but with obvious additions from other dynasties like Pandya, Hoysala, Nayaks, and Vijayanagar dynasties who have each contributed to the entire temple complex.The main deity is Ranganatha which is an incarnation of Vishnu.
Note: To photograph the interiors you need to buy a ticket which is available at the counter near the main entrance. Do keep the ticket as you might need to show at the exit counter also the same ticket is valid for photography in the next temple. Photography inside the main temple not permitted.
Arulmigu Jambukeswarar Akhilandeswari Temple
Next to Sri Ranganathar Swamy Temple this is the most important historical temple, the location of this temple often makes it difficult in accessing and the main entrance to this temple sits right between houses which completely obscure the view. However, once you cross the gate you will be able to see the sheer size that this temple occupies. This Shiva temple was built by Kochenga Chola around 2nd century AD.
Note: The security guards might ask for a photography permit (ticket), please show them the ticket purchased earlier which is also valid here. Photography inside the main temple not permitted.
This temple is bit out of the town and is between the highways that connects Thanjavur to Trichy thus it’s on your way back or on your way to Trichy. This Shiva temple was built by Aditya Chola around 10th century AD. This temple was part of a series of a temple built by him to commemorate the Thirupurambiyam Battle against Pallavas.
Other Places Near Trichy Which You Can Visit:-
Location on Map
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