Location: Trichy, Tamil Nadu
Founded By: The Nayaks
Dedicated To: Kangaala Moorthy (a manifestations of Lord Shiva)
Rock Fort temples are situated in Trichy, a small city in Tamil Nadu.
They are counted amongst the most visited pilgrim destinations of the
state and stands perched on a hill. The entire Rock Fort temple complex
mainly comprises of three temples, namely the Manikka Vinayaka Temple,
the Uchhi Pillayar Koyil and the Taayumaanava Koyil (Shivastalam). The
stone hill on which the temple complex is sited seems to be rising
brusquely from the plains, to tower over the nearby city. The entire
complex rises to a height of approximately 83 meters.
The most famous landmark of Tiruchirapalli, the Rockfort temple complex
is believed to be older than even the rocks of Greenland and the
Himalayas. The hall of the temple is adorned with 100 pillars and its
Vimana is enclosed in a gold cover. The southern side of the rock, on
which the Rock Fort temples stand, has exquisite rock-cut cave temples.
These caves are believed to have been carved at the time of the Pallavas
and are adorned with exceptionally magnificent sculptures.
The temple has also been the venue of the Carnatic wars fought during
the British-French conflict, in the 18th century. The founders of the
city of Tiruchirapalli, the Nayaks, got the Rockfort Temple built. The
main deity of the Shivastalam temple is Kangaala Moorthy, one of the 64
manifestations of Lord Shiva. The temple is entered through a flight of
covered stairs and the first site that one encounters on entering the
temple is that of two more temples. The Tayumanavar temple is situated
to the west of the entrance and the Uchipillayar temple to its east.
Six worship services are offered at the temple on a daily basis. The
Uchhi Pillayar Koyil temple enshrines the image of Lord Vinayaka and one
can have breathtaking views of the environs from this temple. Rock Fort
temple complex also houses the house of Robert Clive as well as an 18th
century Church, built by Reverend Schwartz of Denmark. The pinnacle of
the complex is reached through a flight of 344 steps. The inscriptions
at the top are said to date back to 3rd century BC. Even though, the
surrounding walls of the temple are now in ruins, the main guard gate is
Brahmotsavam festival is celebrated every year at the Rock Fort Temple,
during the months of April-May. The venue of the festival is the
Chittira Mandapam, which houses granite chain with nine loops. Then, we
have the Aadi Pooram and the float festival in Panguni that attract
tourists. Mohini Alangaram, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Garuda Seva, Flower
Festival and the Car Festival are the other major festivals celebrated
near the temple.