Tiruchirapalli also known popularly as Trichy is located on the banks of the river Cauvery. It is situated 320 kms from Chennai, 150 kms from Madurai.
Trichy was originally under the early Cholas & then passed into the hands of the Pallavas. There was an ongoing struggle between the Pandyas and the Pallavas to gain Trichy, and finally the Cholas took control. Later Trichy was under the control of the Nayaks of Madurai, the Marathas, the Nawabs of Carnatic, the French and finally the British. The Nayaks contributed the most and built the town and the Rock Fort. This fort played a major role in the 18th century Carnatic wars.
Half way to the top is located a shrine for Lord Siva - Thayumanaswamy or Mathrubutheswarar. The Lingam is a natural projection of the rock. The history of the temple is inscribed on the walls & the Lingam has a golden roof. There is a hundred pillared hall.
At the foot of the rock is the Teppakulam where the annual float festival takes place in teh month of March.
There are two excavated cave temples of the Pallava era. The Government of Tamil Nadu Museum located on Bharathiar road houses a wonderful collection of bronze and granite sculptures, hand woven cottons, glass bangles, anklets, palm leaf boxes, wooden and clay toys, mats. Nearby is the St. John's church built in 1812.
The temple, one of the largest in India boasts of 21 magnificient towers built around the 13th and 14th century, the biggest & most beautiful ones being the ones on the south (at the entrance -236 ft) and east (Vellai Gopuram-146 ft) of the 4th prakaram. It is surrounded by seven walls, within which the town is located. The island town is connected with the mainland by a bridge with 32 arches.
The main sannadhi of the Lord is crowned with a gold plated Vimanam. There are a total of 7 concentric prakarams around this shrine, with several mandapams, tanks and mini shrines. There is a 1000 pillared hall of the later Chola period in the 4th prakaram.
The eight pillars with the huge horses belong to the Vijayanagar period. There is a Garuda mandapam in the 3rd prakaram & its pillars were additions by the Nayaks of Madurai.
The Moolavar is Sri Ranganathar seen in Bujanaga Sayanam (reclining) posture facing south. Thaayaar is Sri Ranganayagi. Utsavar is Nam Perumal in standing posture. The theerthams are Chandra and Surya Pushkarini(in the third prakaram), Cauvery, Kollidam, Vedasrungam.
Murugan temple at Vayaloor (8 kms), Maariamman temple at Samayapuram (20 kms), Murugan temple and peacock sanctuary at Viralimalai (30 kms) are other interesting locations near Tiruchy.
This temple was constructed by the king Rajendra Cholan to celebrate his victories. It is built in the style of the Thanjai Peria Koil. The gopuram is 3mts shorter than the Thanjai Peria koil gopuram, but the Lingam here is 4 mts taller. The sculptures and carvings in this temple are a wonderful testimony to the craftsmanship of the Chola period. Some of the interesting sculptures in this temple are the Nartana Ganesha, a lion-headed well and a wonderful image of king Rajendra being crowned by Siva & Parvati.