Uchi Pillaiyar Temple is located on the peak of the Rock Fort hill. The shrine is at a height of 273 ft and you have to climb over 400 steps to reach the pinnacle. One has to cross Sri Thayumanavar temple, which is located half way to the peak. Though the climb is a bit difficult, the soothing cool breeze gears up our energy to climb without much strain. A panoramic view of the entire Thiruchi and Srirangam Temple from the Uchi Vinayakar temple is just amazing.
The Rock Fort temple complex in Tiruchirappalli is a collection of three temples – the Manikka Vinayaka temple at the foot of the hill, the Uchhi Pillayar Koyil at the top of the hill and the Taayumaanava Koyil (Shivastalam) on the hill. This Shivastalam is a rock cut temple on a hill in the most prominent landmark in Tiruchirappalli (Trichy); reached by a flight of steps on the way to the famous Ucchi Pillaya temple.
How The Name Thiruchirapalli Came
Tiruchirappalli, was earlier known as Thirisirapuram, as a Rakshasa called Thirisiran worshipped Lord Shiva here. There are also stories that since there are three peaks on Rock Fort, occupied by three Gods Shiva, Parvathi & Vinayakar (Uchi Pillaiyar), the place was called Thiri-sikarapuram and later called Tirisirapuram.
This place was also known as Sirappalli, Rishabachalam & Dhakshina Kailasam during ancient days.As per the mythology, once there was a great tuffle between Aadhiseshan and the wind God Vaayu, on who is more powerful. Aadhiseshan encircled the Maha Meru hill (Himalaya) and challenged Vaayu whether he can take Himalayas off his clutches. Vaayu tried much and accepted his defeat.
It is said that during the fight, 3 pieces of the mountain broke and flew off to different places. Out of the 3 peices which flew off, one is this Rock fort at Trichy. The other two are at Triconamalee (Ceylon) and Sri Kalahasthi (AP).
Vibhishana, was the younger brother of the Asura King Ravana who ruled Lanka.Lord Rama rescues his wife Sita, who was kidnapped and held by Ravana, with the help of Sugriva and Hanuman defeated him. In this war, the moral and truth-abiding brother of Ravana, Vibishana aids Rama in his battle against his brother. Ultimately Rama wins the war and as a token of love, He gifts Vibishana an Idol of Lord Ranganatha, a form of Vishnu.
Vibhishana, though he supported Rama, was basically an Asura, hence the Devas wanted to stop this idea of an Asura taking Lord’s supreme form to his Kingdom. They request the help of the God of Happiness, Lord Vinayaka and the Lord accepts the plan. Vibhishana, while on his back to his Kingdom, goes through Trichi, and wanted to take his bath in the river Kaveri and do his daily rituals. However, he is perplexed as the idol once kept in land, can never be removed and has to be in that place forever.
While passing by the city of Thiruchi, Vibhishana was extremely fascinated by the beauty of the flow of river Cauvery. He felt that it was the right place for him to have his bath and some rest before proceeding to Lanka. He looked around for some help to keep the Ranga Vimana till he finishes his bath. There was a small boy playing around in the banks of Cauvery. Vibhishana handed over the Ranga Vimana to him and told him strictly not to place it on the ground till he comes back. The boy agreed and told him that he will call Vibhishana thrice and if he doesn’t come back, he will keep it and go away.
Vibhishana went into the waters and was enjoying the bath in the river. This boy called him thrice and Vibhishana did not respond as he was in waters. The boy kept the idol on the ground and it started growing big enormously.
Vibhishana came back hurrily. Seeing the Vimana on the ground, he tried to lift it. His attempts failed. He got furious with the boy and went chasing him. The boy ran upto the hill top and sat on the peak as he can’t run further. Vibhishana knocked the boy on his head with anger. The boy revealed himself as Lord Vinayaka to Vibhishana. Vibhishana prayed the lord and went back to Lanka leaving behind the Ranga on the banks of Cauvery.
It was Vinayaka’s trick to retain Lord Ranga in Trichy, which is today’s Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple.
And the Lord Vinayaka who played tricks with Vibhishana, is worshipped as Uchi Pillaiyar at the hill top. Even today one can see a wound on his head caused by the knock of Vibhishana.
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.
Rock Fort Temple Timings: 6.00am to 8.00pm.
How to Get There
Air : Trichy has an airport, 7-km away from the city and is connected by regular flights with Chennai, Madurai, and Bangalore.
Rail : Trichy is an important junction on the Southern Railway. It connects Chennai, Thanjavur, Madurai, Tuticorin, Tirupati and Rameswaram on the metre gauge, and Bangalore, Coimbatore, Cochin and Mangalore on the broad gauge.
Road : Trichy is connected by road to Chennai (320-km), Madurai (124-km) and to all major towns in South India by regular bus services.