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Tiruchirapalli Rock Fort is an historic fort and temple complex built on an ancient rock situated in the town of Tiruchirapallimarker in the state of Tamil Nadumarker in Indiamarker. The 83 metre rock fort situated in the center of town is a major landmark in the town of Tiruchirapalli; it is visible from a long distance. This is also a major tourist spot among which the most famous being the Pallava era Ganesa temple and the Nayaka era fort. The fort complex has witnessed fierce battles between Madurai Nayakas and Bijapur, Carnatic and Maratha forces. The fort played an important part during the Carnatic wars, helping lay the foundations of the British Empire in India.


The oldest structure in the fort is a cave temple built by Pallavas in 580AD. During the Cholas period the nearby town of Woraiyur was their capital, but the Pallavas did not keep control of this strategic city and lost it to the Pandyas. The Cholas reasserted themselves in the 10th century. Trichy continued to be in their possession until the decline of the empire after which it became a Vijayanagaramarker stronghold.In mid 14th century, the region was under the Delhi Sultanate, after Malik Kafurs raid on South India. They were ousted and the region came under the control of Vijayanagara Empire. From early part of 16th century the region came under the control of Madurai Nayaks, earlier governors of Vijayanagara Empire. However, it was under the Nayaks of Madurai that Trichy prospered in its own right and grew to be the city that it is today. The Nayaks of Madurai constructed the Rock Fort temple lake along with major walls as foundations, establishing the town as a trading city and later made the town their capital.The fort palace also witnessed the transfer of power from Queen Meenakshi to Chanda Sahib, as he ruled in conjunction with the Frenchmarker alliance. He lost this command when his uncle the Nawab of Arcot along with the British seized the fort after the Carnatic wars. This ennabled the Britishmarker to gain a foothold in Tamil Nadumarker and later South India.

Major Battles

Nayak era

As the Fort was the capital of the Madurai Nayak Dynasty, the fort has witnessed fierce battles. One of the largest was the Battle of Toppur for supremacy between the Aravidu Dynasty of Vijayanagara Emperor and the Madurai Nayaks. The former won, with support from the Mysoremarker and Tanjoremarker rulers in 16th century. Later the Nayaks faced fierce attacks from Bijapur, Mysoremarker and Marathas troops. The Fort complex formed the north west territory to the Nayaks; during their 2 century rule they had occasional skirmishes with their neighbours Tanjore Nayaks, later Tanjore Marathas and more often with the invading Bijapur, Mysoremarker and Maratha armies.

Carnatic Nawab Era

During the mid century, Chanda Sahib, aided by the Frenchmarker, made this fort his home base. He did battle with the combined forces of the Carnatic Nawab and Britishmarker. He was defeated in the Carnatic wars and was forced to cede his lands to the British.

British Era

In the late 18th century, Hyder Ali was a major threat to the British, as were the French who were still fighting for their colonial supremacy in this region. By now, the town was firmly established as a Cantonment town and the Fort gate was known as main guard gate.Robert Clive lived near the Tank when he was in Tiruchirappalli.


Origin of Rock

The Rock is said to be one of the oldest formations in the world; it is 3.8 million years old, making it as old as the rocks in Greenland and older than the Himalayasmarker. Quartz, used in glass making, and Felspar, used in ceramics, are found in this rock formation.It is also the highest and the largest single standing rock as tourism place in the world.


As the name suggests, the Rock Fort Temple is situated on 83m high outcrops. The Pallavas initially built this temple, but the Nayaks made use of its naturally fortified position and designed it again. It is a stiff climb, up the 437 steps cut into the stone to the top.

Temple Complex

The Temple complex in the fort complex is a collection of three temples, the Manikka Vinayakar temple at the foot of the hill, the Ucchi Pillayar Temple at the top of the hill, both dedicated to lord Ganesha and the Taayumaanavar Koyil Shivastalam, a rock cut temple dedicated to a Nayaka era saint, Taayumaanavar. Mathrubutheswarar, dedicated to Lord Shiva, has a lingam which is a projection of the rock itself. They are reached by a flight of steps on the way to Ucchi Pillayar Temple.

Rock Cut Temple

There is a Pallava temple cut into the rock named Lalitankura Pallaveswaram in this hill temple complex, with several inscriptions attributed to Mahendravarman I. The Cholas, the Vijayanagar rulers and the Nayaks of Madurai have made extensive contributions here. The two storey Taayumaanava temples are considered to be a masterpiece of construction.


At the foot of the Rock Fort stand a tank and a pavilion which are used during the float festival of the temples. These were by Viswanatha Nayaka of Madurai to hold major religious festivals.

Near the tank is the house and 18th century Church built by Reverend Schwartz of Denmarkmarker.


The mid 17th century palace at the base of the Rock was built by Chokkanatha Nayak, now known as Rani Mangammal Mahal, and features a Durbar Hall. Historians thought the palace was built by Chokkanatha Nayak after demolishing 3/4th of the Tirumalai Nayak palace to use the materials in this palace. This palace was also the durbar hall of Madurai Nayak when Tiruchapalli was the capital during the years 1616 to 1634 and 1665 till 1736. Today, it houses a museum and state government offices.

Main Guard Gate

There is a major fort wall enclosing the periphery of the Rock Fort with its temples, Lake, the Palace and Bazaars, which has its main entrance towards the north. This gate was known as the Main Guard Gate.

Festivals and Events

Six worship services are offered each day here. This well endowed temple celebrates the annual Brahmotsavam in Chithirai. Aadi Pooram and the float festival in Panguni are also of significance here. They were started by the Nayaks of Madurai, dedicated to Shiva and Ganesha.


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