Monday, November 20, 2017

Tiruchirappalli Rock Fort, Trichy

Tiruchirappalli Rock Fort, Trichy
Tiruchirappalli Rockfort is a historic fortification and temple complex built on an ancient rock. It is located in the city of Tiruchirappalli in Trichy District of Tamil Nadu. It is constructed on 83 metres (272 ft.) high rock that may date to over one billion years ago. There are three Hindu temples inside, Manicka Vinayagar Temple at foot hills, Uchi Pillaiyar Temple at Hill Top and the Thayumanaswami Temple at mid hill.

Other attractions include the famous Pallava-era Cave Temples in the mid of the hills and Madurai Nayak-era fort. The fort complex has witnessed fierce battles between the Madurai Nayakas and Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur, Carnatic region and Maratha Imperial forces. The fort played an important part during the Carnatic Wars, helping lay the foundations of the British Empire in India. The Rockfort is the most prominent landmark of the city.

The name "Rockfort" comes from frequent military fortifications built here, first by the emperors of the Vijayanagara Empire and later by the British Empire during the Carnatic Wars. The oldest structure in the fort is a cave temple built by the Pallavas in 580. During the Chola 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 Vijayanagara stronghold.
In the mid-14th century, the region was controlled by the Delhi Sultanate after Malik Kafur's raid on South India. They were ousted and the region came under the control of Vijayanagara. During the early part of the 16th century, the region came under the control of the Madurai Nayaks, who were the earlier governors of Vijayanagara Empire. However, it was under the Nayaks of Madurai that Tiruchirappalli prospered in its own right and grew to be the city that it is today. The Madurai Nayaks constructed the Rock Fort Temple Lake along with major walls as foundations, establishing the town as a trading city and later, their capital.
The fort palace also witnessed the transfer of power from Queen Meenakshi to Chanda Sahib, as he ruled in conjunction with the alliance with the Kingdom of France. He lost this command when his uncle, the Nawab of the Carnatic along with the British, seized the fort after the Carnatic wars. This enabled the British to gain a foothold in Tamil Nadu and later all of South India. In modern times, the fort is maintained and administered by the Chennai Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India. The fort is one of the prominent tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu.
Major Battles:
Nayak Era:
As the Rockfort was the capital of the Madurai Nayaks, the fort has witnessed fierce battles. One of the largest was the Battle of Toppur for supremacy between the Aravidu dynasty of Vijayanagara and the Madurai Nayaks. The former won, with support from the rulers of Mysore and Thanjavur in the 16th century. Later, the Nayaks faced fierce attacks from Adil Shahi and Imperial Maratha troops. The Fort complex formed the northwest territory to the Nayaks. During their two-century rule, they had occasional skirmishes with their neighbours, the Thanjavur Nayak kingdom, the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom, and, more frequently, with the invading Adil Shahi, Kingdom of Mysore, and Imperial Maratha armies.
Carnatic Nawab Era:
During the midcentury, Chanda Sahib, aided by the French, made this fort his home base. He battled with the combined forces of the Carnatic Nawab and British. 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's gate was known as main guard gate. Robert Clive lived near the tank when he was in Tiruchirappalli.
Rock Fort Complex
The rock is said to be one of the oldest formations in the world. It is 3.8 billion years old, making it as old as the rocks in Greenland and older than the HimalayasQuartz, used in glass making, and feldspar, used in ceramics, are found in this rock formation. As the name suggests, the Rock Fort Temple Complex is situated on 83-meter-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 long climb up the 344 steps cut into the stone to the top.

The temple complex in the fort complex is a collection of three functioning Hindu Temples and Pallava Era Cave Temples:
Rockfort is located at about 5 Kms from Trichy Central Bus Stand, 1.5 Kms from Chatiram Bus Station, 5 Kms from Trichy Railway Station, 4 Kms from Woraiyur, 14 Kms from Thiruverumbur, 4 Kms from Srirangam, 7 Kms from Thiruvanaikoil, 6 Kms from Trichy and 10 Kms from Trichy International Airport. Lots of buses ply from both Central & Chathram bus stands of Trichy. One can get down at Main Guard Gate or Teppakulam to reach Rockfort.