The Rock Fort Temple complex in Tiruchirappalli is a collection of three temples -
the Manikka Vinayakar temple at the foot of the hill, the Uchhi Pillayar Koyil at the top of the hill and the
Taayumaanavar Koyil Shivastalam on the hill. This Shivastalam is a rock cut temple on a
hill in the most prominent landmark in Tiruchirappalli;reached by a flight of steps on the
way to the famous Ucchi Pillayar temple. The three hill temple Shivastalams in this
area are Tiruchirappalli, Tiruverumbur and Tiruveengoimalai.
Tiruchirappalli is considered to
be the 6th in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola kingdom
located south of the river Kaveri.
Legend has it that
Shiva was worshipped by the demon ruler Tirisiran, hence Tiruchirappalli, Tirisirapuram
etc. Also, since the three peaks here on this hill are occupied by Shiva, Parvati and
Vinayaka, the name Tri-Shikharam or Tirisirapuram came into being. Legend has it that
Shiva in the guise of a woman (mother) attended to the call of a devotee in labor, hence
Tiruchirappalli is hailed as Dakshina Kailasam, as the hill is said to be 1 of
the 3 pieces that flew off the Himalayas. in a fierce tussle between Adi Seshan the
mythical snake and the Wind God Vayu. The other two are Triconamalee
& Sree Kalahasti.
The Temple: This is a fascinating rock cut temple with several
inscriptions from the Pallava and Imperial Chola period. This shrine houses Kangaala
Moorthy, one of the 64 manifestations of Shiva. The approach to the temple is
through a flight of covered stairs. Towards the end of the climb, the Tayumanavar temple
is towards the West, and the Uchipillayar temple
There is a rock cut Pallava temple - Lalitankura Pallaveswaram in this hill temple
complex. with several inscriptions here attributed to Mahendravarma Pallavan. In addition
the Cholas, the Vijayanagar rulers and the Nayaks of Madurai have made extensive
contributions here. The two storeyed Taayumaanavar temple, built on (in) a hill is a
masterpiece of construction. The Chittira Mandapam houses a granite chain with nine loops.
Festivals: Six worship services are offered each day here. This well
endowed temple celebrates the annual Bhrammotsavam in Chittirai. Aadi Pooram and the float
festival in Panguni are also of significance here.