Rock Fort Temple
¤ An Exotic Landmark
The stoen Rock Fort Temple at Tiruchirapalli is the most famous land
mark of this busy town. It is a spectacular monument, outcropped out
of a massive stone rock, which rises abruptly from the plain to tower
over the old city. It is as high as 83 m and as old as 3.800 million
years, older than the rocks of Greenland and the Himalayas.
The Rock Fort temple complex in Tiruchirappalli is an aggregate of
three temples - the Manikka Vinayaka temple situated at the foot of
the hill, the Uchhi Pillayar Koyil situated at the top of the hill and
the Taayumaanava Koyil (Shivastalam) situated on the hill.
This extraordinary temple has a 100-pillared hall, and a Vimana,
veiled with gold. The southern side of the rock, has several
beautifully carved, rock-cut cave temples, of the Pallava period. This
temple was built by the Nayaks, who established the city of
Tiruchirapalli. During the British-French struggle, the Rock Fort
Temple was one of the main centers, around which, the wars of the
Carnatic were fought in the 18th century.
¤ The Highlights of The Temple
The temple owns the presence of Kangaala Moorthy, one of the 64
manifestations of Shiva. The temple can be reached through a flight of
covered stairs. As you arrive to the end of the climb, you can see the
Tayumanavar temple situated towards the west and the Uchipillayar
temple towards the east.
The Uchipillaiyar Koil temple is situated at the top of the stone
rock and is dedicated to Lord Vinayaka, offering a scenic view of
Tiruchirappalli. A walk down a few steps will lead to the
Mathrubutheswarar of Thayumanaswami temple, dedicated to Lord Siva
where the lingam is a projection of the rock itself.
Beneath the Siva temple, there are two Pallava cave temples having
gorgeous sculptures of the 6th and 7th centuries. The Rock Fort has a
tank and a pavilion at its foot, used during the float festival of the
temples. Nearby the tank is the house where Robert Clive lived when he
was in Tiruchirappalli. There is also an 18th century Church built by
Reverend Schwartz of Denmark.
The history of the stone Rock Fort Temple is related to the history
of Tiruchirappalli, which itself has a long history. The history of
Trichy dates back to the centuries before the Christian era, when it
was a citadel of the Chola dynasty. In the 12th century, Cholas were
defeated by the Vijayanagar kings of Hampi, who also defeated the
invading Muslims. The Nayaks of Madurai came to power in less than
fifty years later and went on to construct the ravishing Rock Fort
temple. They were the ones who firmly established Tiruchirappalli as
the trading city.
The festivals celebrated at the Rock Fort Temple are the annual
Brahmotsavam in Chithirai, Aadi Pooram and the float festival in
¤ Things to Keep in Mind
The rock Fort Temples remains open daily from 6 am to 8 pm. A minimum
amount has to be paid as entry fee and extra charges are levied on
carrying a camera. Shoes should be left at the entrance of the temple.