The fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu is situated on the banks of rive: Cauvery. Built around the Rockfort, it has many structures dating back to 1760. Even though the Cholas and Pallavas held sway over this area for some time, it is said that the greater part of the city and the fort as they are existing today were built by the Nayaks of Madurai. The Karnataka wars brought Robert Clive to the scene and finally it came to the Britishers.
Legend tells that Trishira the step brother of Ravana did penance here to please Lord Shiva, and accordingly, this place came to be called as Thrisirapally. Another story relates that Shiva, Parvati and Vinayaka took abode on the three rocks on,the nearby hill, and as such the name was given as Thrishkaragam. However, the city and the area possess not only the heritage of antiquity but also abundant places of historical and archaeological interest.
Places of interest around the city :
Koluna Eswarar or Mathrubhuteshwarar, popularly known as Arulagiri Thayumanuswamy and his consort, Aruliga Mattuvarkuzhalamba. There is a hundred pillar hall having a gold plated dome. The summit has a temple dedicated to Vinayaka commonly called as Uchi Pillaiyar. Atop the rock gives a panoramic view of the township. On the southern face of the rock are several beautifully carved rock-cut cave temples of the Pallava period. The imposing rock dominates the skyline of the city and with its fort and
Rock Fort: Every visitor to the city is attracted by the Rockfort rising to a height of 83 metres. It is said that the hill is about four hundred million years old. The ascent to the rock hill is by a covered stone staircase from the south through 344 steps hewn out of the rock. Out of the western reef of the rock, there rises a magnificent temple inside which are grand shrines for Shiva dedicated to Malai shrines, it is a great attraction. At the foot of the rock is the Teppakulam, a large masonry tank with a small and graceful Mandapam in the centre said to have been constructed by Vishwanath Nayak.
Government Museum: This place is a treasure house of sculptures from various places around Tiruchirapally. Bronze and stone idols exhibited here are worth seeing.
Tiruvanaikovil: 7 kms. This ancient place of Shiva popularly known as Jambukeshwara is notable for its architectural adornment. Dating back to the Chola times, the temple has five enclosures, with a lofty tower at the main entrance, which is elaborately sculptured. The ancient name is Thiru-Anaika, meaning sacred elephant grove. This place is one of the Pancha Lingas, called here as Appu Linga, as the aspect associated with water. It may be noticed that the main Linga in the shrine is always covered by water which constantly flows through a spring of water. The legend goes to say that an elephant once worshipped the Lord under the Holy Jambu tree. Goddess Parvati is called here as Akhilandeshwari and the place is known as Upadesha Kshetram as goddess Parvati acquired the knowledge from Shiva. Another special peculiarity of this temple is that the mid-day worship, Uchai kala pooja is done by the priest clad with a saree in female dress.
Srirangam: 10 kms. This holy Srivaishnava pilgrim centre is a flourishing village situated on an island formed by the two branches
Soaring Srirangam Temple
of river Cauvery and connected with the mainland by a bridge. This lovely temple situated in the middle of the town encircled by massive ramparts with stupendous towers and broad court yards is formed as a complex by itself. In a corner of the temple is the thousand pillared hall wherein Chanda Sahib and his friends took refuge. The Seshashayi Mandapam is remarkable for its sculptural art. This 13th century temple has 21 towers and is surrounded by seven concentric walls within which the town is situated. It is the biggest temple complex in the country. The main tower at the entrance is so huge that it can be seen from far off places. It amazes the visitor by its huge proportions. Inside the shrine is the huge idol of Ranganatha reclining on the lap of Adishesha. The temple is very well preserved with its beautiful sculptures and painted walls. Srirangam is connected with the city by regular bus services.
Church of Our Lady of Lourdes: A Roman Catholic Church over hundred years old, is a notable monument of Gothic architecture. Tradition says that the construction of this ancient church was supervised by a mason from Tirunelvelli.