(TRICHY) - TAMIL NADU
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.
What to See
Rock Fort Temple: This 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
Srirangam (Sri Ranganathaswamy 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.
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
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
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.
How to get there
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.