Formally named Tiruchirappalli but known to one and all simply as 'Trichy', this sprawling city in eastern-central India's Tamil Nadu region can trace its history back to the second century BC. Now a thoroughly modern centre of industry, technology and education it is Trichy's wealth of architectural and historical riches that make the city a fascinating and rewarding destination to explore.
Downtown Trichy is dominated by a vast rock outcrop some eighty-three metres high. Known as the Rockfort for its use as a defensive position in many historical conflicts for control of the region, Trichy's most recognisable landmark is the site of two major temples, reached by a stairway hand-carved directly into the rock. Sri Thayumanaswamy Temple is halfway up the Rockfort, whilst VinayakaTemple is at the top, from which the panoramic views of the city and its outlying countryside are truly spectacular, particularly at sunrise or sunset.
In fact, temples and religious buildings are Trichy's forte: besides at least a dozen further ancient and exquisite temples scattered around the city, many fine churches remain as a consequence of the British Empire's occupation, including the beautiful, Gothic Lourdes Church and St John's Church which dates from 1821.
Temple-fanatics and history-buffs will be in their element on a trip to Trichy, but there are many more attractions and activities to satisfy every visitor to this enjoyable and colourful city.
Trichy sits on the shores of the wide Cauvery River, which possesses its very own town, Srirangam, situated on a nineteen-mile long and one-and-a-half mile wide island between the main river and its tributary, the Kollidam. Accessible by road, Srirangam is just a few kilometres north from central Trichy and is fascinating to explore in its own right. The island hoses a vast temple complex, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, which contains seven concentric walled enclosures ('prakaras'), each containing four high towers ('gopuram'). An architectural marvel, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is believed to be the largest operational Hindu temple in the world.
For a spot of relaxation after a hard morning or afternoon's temple exploration, the Karikalan Park, approximately twenty kilometres north of Trichy along the Cauvery River is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic. It's also the site of the world's oldest dam, the Grand Anicut, which was built in the second century BC on the orders of the King, Karikala Chola. Still in use today, the Grand Anicut is a remarkable and unmissable example of ancient Dravidian engineering.