I am a marketing professional holding a postgraduate degree in management. I live in Chennai and have traveled extensively in Tamil Nadu.
Trichy is an important city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The official name of the town is Tiruchirappalli. It is the fourth largest city in the state after Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai. Trichy houses major engineering companies such as BHEL and Ordinance Factory.
It is also an important center for education. The list of institutes includes the Indian Institute of Management (IIM, Trichy), the National Institute of Technology (NIT, Trichy) and the Bharathidasan Institute of Management (BIM).
This town was part of the earlier Chola kingdom, and some traces of its historic past can be seen in places near Trichy. The Kaveri river flows through this town and agriculture flourishes along the banks of this river.
The Top 10 Places to Visit Near Trichy
- Rock Fort Temple
- Srirangam Temple
- Our Lady of Lourdes Church
- Viralimalai Temple
- NIT, Trichy
- Kallanai Dam
- Street shopping near Main Guard Gate
- Thanjai Periya Koil
- Rock-cut Temple, Pudukottai
1. Rock Fort Temple
Rock Fort Ganapathi Temple is not just a popular temple but an iconic location in Trichy visible from most places in the town. An express train connecting Chennai and Trichy is named Rock Fort Express, reflecting its popularity.
The Rock Fort houses three Hindu temples—the Ucchi Pillayar Temple, Thayumanavar Temple and the Manikka Vinayakar Temple.
The Ucchi Pillayar Temple is on top of Rock Fort at an altitude of 273 feet. It is a 7th-century Hindu temple built by the Pallavas, dedicated to Lord Ganesh. The Ganesh temple is a small shrine with a stunning view of Trichy city. There is a Manikka Vinayakar Temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh at the foot of the hill.
The Nayak rulers later built a fort on the hill. The fort complex has seen many battles between Nayaks and other invading forces. This fort witnessed more battles when the British Empire was getting established in India.
2. Srirangam Temple
Srirangam is a locality within Trichy that is famous for the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. This locality is on a river island formed between Kaveri and Kollidam rivers. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture. The main deity is Ranganatha, a reclining form of Lord Vishnu. It is believed to have existed since the 2nd century BC.
This temple is also called Bhoologa Vaikundam. The temple had stood the test of time, braving many battles from various invaders. It is the biggest functioning Hindu temple in India. At 236 feet, this temple tower (Rajagopura) is the tallest in India.
Over one million visitors throng the temple during the annual 21-day Margazhi festival conducted during the winter months (Dec / Jan).
3. Our Lady of Lourdes Church
Our Lady of Lourdes Church is one of the oldest and the most beautiful churches in South India. It was built in 1792 by Schwartz. It is in the center of the town near the Teppakulam and the Main Guard Gate.
It is also called the St. Joseph's Church, and it is inside the premises of the St. Joseph college. This is an important colonial era church in Trichy. The tall church and the Rockfort Temple are the prominent structures dotting the city skyline.
Mukkombu is a favorite picnic spot for the locals. The check dam is built at a point where the Kollidam river branches off from Kaveri. It is sometimes referred to as the Upper Anicut.
It also has a park that is packed with families during the weekend. There are few spots where swimming in the river is allowed in the shallow waters. This is a perfect place to feel connected with nature.
5. Viralimalai Murugan Temple
Viralimalai is a small town near Trichy and is famous for its Murugan Temple. At a distance of 28 km from Trichy, it can be reached within half an hour of drive time. Aditya Chola built this temple in the 9th century. Like most abodes of Lord Muruga, this temple is on top of a hill.
This rocky hill is small, but there are over 200 steps to reach the temple. There are beautiful pavilions (mandapas) on the way for devotees to rest. The hill is blessed with a thick green cover. Peacocks can be seen roaming freely.
6. NIT, Trichy
The Government of India has set up one National Institute of Technology (NIT) in every state. NIT, Trichy in Tamil Nadu is the top-ranked one among all the NITs in India. NIT was formerly known as the Regional Engineering College.
The college also has a Department of Management Studies (DOMS) offering an MBA program. I have spent two years at NIT, Trichy for my MBA program. The college entrance looks good and one can see the main entrance from the highway connecting Trichy and Tanjore.
7. Kallanai Dam
The Kallanai Dam is built across the Kaveri river. An ancient check dam was constructed about 2000 years ago by Karikala Cholan. The Britishers had taken steps to strengthen the old structure. This is probably the oldest manmade structure to channelize river water for irrigation.
Kallanai Dam is also known as Grand Anicut. "Kallanai" in Tamil means a dam built of stones. It is a great picnic spot for families since there is a park for kids. This place is full of scenic beauty.
8. Street Shopping
The narrow street inside Main Guard Gate is dotted with hundreds of street vendors on either side selling anything from fashion jewellery to electronic goods. If you enjoy the action and crowds, this is the place to visit.
One should be prepared to haggle, as prices are never fixed. For a more organized shopping experience, the city now has the Femina Mall spread over several floors. It is a hypermarket worth visiting.
9. Thanjai Periya Koil
The Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur (Thanjai), also known as Periya Kovil, is at a distance of 57 km from Trichy. It is a testament to the advancements in temple architecture during the Chola period. It was built in the year 1010 AD by Raja Raja Cholan and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Brihadeeswarar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is known for its grandeur and splendid sculptures. The temple complex spreads over a vast area measuring 33,000 square feet.
The 13-tier tower built in Dravidian style is the major attraction of this temple. There is a Kumba (ball-like structure) on top of the tower that weighs 80 tons. It is a mystery how they lifted an object weighing 80 tons and placed it on top of a 200-foot tower a millennium ago.
10. Rock Cut Temples, Pudukottai
The rock-cut temples are on the granite hillocks in Malayadipatti village in Pudukottai district. "Malayadipatti" in Tamil means a village on the foothills.
There are two rock-cut temples on the hillocks. The earliest one was a Shiva temple built in the 8th century by the Pallavas. There is a rock-cut mandapa inside the temple. There are many old sculptures worthy of admiration in this temple.
The later one is a Vishnu temple on the western end of the hillock. The rock-cut Vishnu temple is known for the paintings seen on walls and ceiling besides the sculptures. Some works inside this temple are dated from the 16th to 17th century AD.
There are other caves with inscriptions and sculptures from the 3rd century AD with a Jain influence.
Travel and Stay
Trichy is well connected by road, rail and airways. It takes about five hours of drive time from Chennai to reach Trichy. The stay options worth considering are Femina Hotel, Breeze Residency and SRM Hotel.
© 2021 Mohan Babu
Mohan Babu (author) from Chennai, India on January 15, 2021:
Thank you, Liz. Hope you are doing well.
Liz Westwood from UK on January 14, 2021:
This is a well-illustrated and interesting article. You highlight great places to see in Trichy well.