( Sightseeing )
The temple tops an 83 m high outcrop. This smooth rock was
first hewn by the Pallavas who cut small cave temples into the southern
face, but it was the Nayakas who made use of its naturally fortified
position. It's a stiff climb up the 437 steps cut into the stone
to the top but well worth it for the views. Non-Hindus are not allowed
into the Vinayaka Temple at the summit nor the bigger Sri Thayumanaswamy
Temple dedicated to Siva, halfway up. Occasionally temple priest
waive this regulation.
This superb temple complex at Srirangam, about three km from
the Rock Fort, is surrounded by seven concentric walls with 21 gopurams
and is probably the largest in India. Most of it dates from the
14th to 17th centuries, and many people have had a hand in its construction,
including the Cheras, Pandyas, Cholas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagars.
The largest gopuram in the first wall on the southern side was completed
as recently as 1987 and now measures an astounding 73m. The temple
complex is very well preserved, with excellent carvings throughout
and numerous shrines to various gods, though the main temple is
dedicated to Vishnu. Even the muslims are said to have prayed here
after the fall of Vijayanagar Empire.
Trichy also has some interesting Raj-era monuments. Built in1812,
St. John's Church has louved side doors which can be opened to turn
the church into an airy pavilion. Rouse the doorkeeper to let you
in. The surrounding cemetery is also interesting.