Located on the banks of River Cauvery, Tiruchirappalli, also known as Trichy is the fourth largest city in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is rich in cultural heritage and a heaven for Hindu pilgrims, and people who love history. The Cholas ruled Trichy from the beginning of the 3rd century BC followed by the Pallavas, Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire, Nayak Dynasty, the Carnatic state, and the British. Recognized for its holy significance, Trichy is a house to a lot of sacred architecture.
Here are fifteen places to explore when visiting Trichy:
1. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Designed in the Dravidian style of architecture from 1336 to 1565, the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is one of the most distinguished Hindu temples in South India dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Kaveri flood destroyed the initial temple built by Dharma Varma Chola. The existing temple was rebuilt by the later Chola king Killivalavan. The temple consists of 953 pillars made of granite spread over 150 acres of land.
2. Tiruchirapalli Rock Fort
The Rock Fort consists of three famous Hindu temples; Thayumanavar Temple, the Manikka Vinayagar Temple, and the Ucchi Pillayar Temple. The temple complex was constructed in Dravidian style at an altitude of 83m high rock during the Pallava period in 508AD. A total climb of 417 steps leads to a stunning view of Trichy, Srirangam, and the rivers Kaveri and Kollidam.
3. Samayapuram Mariamman Temple
The Samayapuram Mariamman Temple is a temple for the deity of goddess Durga. It was built by King Vijayaraya Chakkaravarthiat at the beginning of the 18th century. It is mainly made of sand and clay. This temple plays a significant role among other temples dedicated to the goddess Durga. It is the second wealthiest temple in Tamil Nadu.
4. Jambukeswarar Temple
One of the holiest places in Trichy, the Jambukeswarar Temple is also known as Thiruvanaikoil Temple. Completed in the 2nd century AD, it is a Dravidian architecture style temple devoted to Lord Shiva. It is a fine example of stone carving mastery as seen in the wide decorated pillars with intricate sculptures.
5. St John’s Church
Dating back to 1821, St John’s church is a landmark of spiritual significance in Trichy. It is one of the oldest churches in India built by the British. The church has a graveyard for the British soldiers that died during that period. It is a piece of magnificent architecture which is a must-visit when you travel to Trichy.
6. St Lourdes Church
Designed in Galo – Catholic Architecture, the church is devoted to Our Lady Of Lourdes. It was built in 1890 AD and is located close to the Rock Fort. The St Lourdes Church has rich architectural elements. The Gothic-style tower is filled with artistic petals and flowers. It consists of statues of five great saints. The colorful stained windows portray the life of Jesus and Evangelists.
7. Kallanai Dam
The KallanaiDam is an ancient dam built across the River Kaveri 2000 years ago. Its construction began in 100 BC – 100 AD during the reign of Chola king Kariakalan. During the 19th century, the dam was remodeled by the British. Surrounded by lavish greenery, this is the perfect spot for picnics with family and friends.
Inspired by the Kallanai Dam, Sir Arthur Cotton built the Mukkombu dam in the 19th century. It is located on the river banks of Cauvery and Kollidam. This place is a beautiful site for anyone who loves to watch or photograph blue waters, lush green land, fishes, migratory birds, and nature.
9. Vekkali Amman Temple
Another example of Dravidian architecture, the Vekkali temple is a temple dedicated to the goddess Vekkali, a form of goddess Kali. This temple does not have any roof and its Moolavar is open to the vast sky. The ancient kings believed that gods and goddesses facing North would bless them with victory in battles, hence the temple faces the north. It is yet another significant sacred space for pilgrims visiting Trichy.
10. Viralimalai Murugan Temple
Viralimalai Murugan Temple is one of the famous Hindu Temples dedicated to Lord Murugan. The temple hill has 207 steps and beautiful mandapams.
11. Brahmapureeswarar Temple
Brahmapureeswarar Temple is predominantly a temple for Lord Shiva but is very closely linked to Lord Brahma. The temple has seven entrances leading to the sanctum. During the months of March to April, for three days, the sun rays travel across the seven entrances and shine directly on the lingam. This temple also consists of twelve shrines of Lord Shiva.
12. Vayalur Murugan Temple
A temple dedicated to Lord Muruga, the temple is believed to be built during the Chola dynasty during the 9th century. The Vayalur Murugan Temple is around 1200 years old.
13. Gunaseelam Vishnu Temple
Gunaseelam Vishnu Temple is a famous Vishnu temple in Trichy on the banks of the Cauvery river. The name comes from ‘Gunam’ meaning cure and ‘Seelam’ meaning peace as mentally challenged people are taken to this temple. It is believed that Lord Vishnu cures their illness.
Sittanavasal is a hilly terrain that was famous in the 7th and 9th century among Jain pilgrims. This destination is known for its rock-cut caves which are also known as ArivarKoilwhich have fine architectural details. It is surrounded by prehistoric megalithic structures, dolmens and small rock cut temples that should not be missed.
15. Puliyancholai Waterfalls
Apart from all the sacred places, Trichy is home to the Puliyancholai Waterfalls too. It is located on the foothills of kolli hills. The calm and serene environment can be soothing and refreshing. It is a great spot for picnics and trek to the AgazhaGangai Falls.