Beside the Cauvery river and located in central Tamil Nadu, Tiruchirappalli is a bustling educational and industrial town which is commonly referred as Trichy. The city was once under rule of Cholas, Pandyas and Pallavas, and came to be known as Trichinopoly when it fell into the hands of the British. While Sri Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam is one of the major attractions near Trichy, there are quite a few other places of interest too. The erstwhile dynasties and rulers have left their imprints on this city in the form of various temples and other structures. Here are a few places which are definitely worth visiting while in Tiruchirappalli apart from the popular Sri Ranganathaswamy temple.
Rock fort temple:
Also referred locally as Malaikottai, Rock fort temple is a large 83 metre high rocky outcrop with a 7th century temple atop it. This landmark structure which is visible from all parts of the town was first built by the Pallava kings and later by the Nayakars of Madurai in the 16th century. Located next to a large theppakulam (temple pond), the temple’s entrance is lined with numerous shops selling temple paraphernalia. A long fleet of steps leads you past sculptures, inscriptions and small shrines all the way to the top through a fortified wall. There are two major temples here and the one mid way to the top is Thayumanaswamy temple dedicated to Shiva. The temple is adorned with wonderful carvings and sculptures. Further ahead of the Shiva temple is Pallava cave with inscriptions on the walls along with carved pillars. The other main temple is at the summit of the rock which is Ucchi Pillaiyar temple, dedicated to Ganesha. The top of the rock offers magnificent panoramic views of the city and river Cauvery. The sunset view is breathtakingly beautiful and is quite windy in the evenings.
Located a bit away from the town in Thiruvanaikaval, this is one of the most prominent temples in Tiruchirappalli. Located near Cauvery, Jambukeswarar temple was built in the 2nd century by the Chola dynasty and is dedicated to Shiva and Parvati. The temple has five precincts with tall walls, carved pillars, colourful gopurams (entrance gates) and perennial springs. The enclosure before the inner sanctum has elaborately sculpted large pillars and corridors which are laced with beautifully carved pillars. The inner sanctum too has numerous pillars and a few other shrines apart from the main one which is a Shivlinga. Within the enclosure is another big shrine dedicated to Akhilandeswari amman.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church:
Built in 1895 CE, Our Lady of Lourdes Church is another prominent structure in the city. The main spire of this church soars to a height of 220 feet and has neo gothic architecture with stained glass windows. The church built on the model of Our Lady of Lourdes church in France has Gallo Catholic design and wonderful works on its outer facade. The interior has beautiful arches and is adorned with lovely glass paintings. The church houses statues of five saints in Christianity and the altar has wooden carvings.
Hazarath Natharsha Dargah:
This colourful dargah is the final resting place of the revered sufi saint, Baba Natharvali who came to India in early 11th century and resided in Tiruchirappalli. The dargah also has inscriptions on its interior walls and is a prominent sacred place for Muslims.
Grand Anaicut Dam:
Just outside the town, this dam is an engineering marvel built by the Chola kings in the 2nd century to stop the Cauvery from flooding. The 300 metre dam is one of the world’s oldest functional stone dams and is locally referred as Kallanai. There is also a small children’s park and a memorial in the name of Chola kings near the dam.
A few kilometers from Trichy in Thiruverumbur, Erumbeswarar temple built on a 60 feet high rocky outcrop is another popular rock temple in the town with a fleet of steps leading up to it. Dedicated to Shiva, the temple was built by the Chola kings in the 10th century CE. The temple has a large pond at its base, two enclosures, carved entrance gates and inscriptions on its walls. The place also offers wonderful views of the setting sun and the surrounding areas.
Tiruchirappalli is a fairly big town and is well connected to other places in Tamil Nadu. Tiruchirappalli also has an airport and there are trains that connect the town with places across the country. There are frequent buses from Chennai and Bengaluru to Tiruchirappalli.
Food and Accommodation:
Tiruchirappali has numerous hotels and restaurants which caters to all types of travellers.