Rock Fort - An Iconic Landmark of TiruchirappalliIf America reminds you of Statue of Liberty and Paris reminds you of the Eiffel Tower, Tiruchirappalli reminds of Rock Fort to the Tamilians living all over the world! It is rather unusual that Tiruchirappalli cannot be seen in a perspective that ignores Rock Fort as both are literally inseparable.
In fact, the majestic Dravidian structure endowed a popular name to the city known as 'Malaikottai Maanagaram' which is often used by the local population. Just a 10 minute drive from the city center, Rock Fort welcomes you with a singular view that is characterized by sheer magnificence. The historic Rock Fort is a fortress with a temple complex that is built on a monumental 273-foot high rock.
Chronicle of Rock FortThe Rock Fort was designed and constructed by various Pallava, Chola and Nayaks of Madurai at different time period. Also, the structure was extensively used for military fortification by Vijayanagar emperors and the British.
It was the Nayaks of Madurai who built the Rock Fort Temple Lake (Teppakulam) and the Ucchi Pillayar Temple, making the area as a commercial city and subsequently, their headquarters.
Architectural Brilliance of Rock FortCan you reckon that the ancient rock that houses the fort complex and temple complex is one of the oldest shape on earth? Get ready to have your jaw drop; yup it is almost 3.8 billion years old rock formation! If you want to get a glimpse of Ucchi Pillayar who is sitting on top of the rock fort, you should be ready to climb a little less than 400 stairs cut up on the rock. On entering the Rock Fort, you will realize the fact that you are now in a historic temple complex as there is very little if you are there to explore the fort exclusively, except a closed cave!
The temple complex comprises of three important temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva. You cannot afford to miss the blessings of Manikka Vinayakar at the foothills before proceeding to the steps. You will reach the Taayumaanavar temple where Lord Shiva in the form of Linga will stun you with his divine beauty. You are most likely to have an overwhelming feeling of wonder and admiration on your path to the following set of stairs. On your way, turn your head, see it to believe - all that glitters (golden tower over the Taayumaanavar) is - indeed gold!
This set of steps ends at a point where you will be more than happy to see a couple of small food stalls. Whatever you buy, beware of monkeys as this part of the temple is a paradise for these little pesters. The next set of few hundred steps will direct you to the illustrious Ucchi Pillayar at the top of the hill. Just pay more attention in these set of steps as they are non-uniform and it is best to take the support of the railing provided.
Things not to Miss while Visiting Rock FortChoose to take the stair from the historic Main Guard Gate; after all it is only a 10 minute walk. On your way, to your left, have a brief look at the stupefying Rock Fort Temple tank which is sure to set the divine mood in you. While visiting the Rock Fort, don't ever miss to get the blessings from the majestic Gajendra - the temple elephant! After finishing your darshan of Ucchi Pillayar, spend some quality time, delighting the exceedingly breezy atmosphere which you can't get anywhere in the city and enjoy the sensational views in all directions.
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