Tiruchirapalli is an ancient city located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu which is famous for its temples. Tiruchirapalli is also known as Trichy and is located on the scenic banks of the Kaveri River. Trichy has had an interesting history being the citadel of various empires including the early Cholas, Pallavas, Nayakars and the British Raj.
This city is also famous for the huge Sri Ranganathaswamy temple built on the Srirangam Island nestled in-between the Kaveri and Kollidam Rivers. It is the world’s second-largest Hindu temple, sprawling over an area of 631,000m2 area. The temple is 10km away from Trichy and attracts lakhs of devotees every year. It has 21 beautifully carved ‘Gopurams’ (Gateways) that enclose seven concentric walls guiding you into the temple complex.
The temple is so huge that it’s like a city in itself. The first three concentric walls house restaurants, hotels, flower and gift shops as well as residential homes. Aside from the 49 shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple complex also houses a museum called Shesharayar Mandapam. A visit to the temple isn’t complete without visiting this museum too. This hall is located on the eastern side of the fourth courtyard of the temple and is a fine example of skillful Dravidian craftsmanship. It is another renowned tourist attraction in Trichy and showcases beautiful monolithic stone carvings and statues.
These exquisite stone carvings depict parts of epics and legends of ancient India and it’s so easy to lose oneself in imagination within these rich stories of the past. The mandapam displays forty pillars amazingly carved with life-like rearing horses with knights astride them. You can also see the ten incarnations of Lord Krishna on a pillar which is a major attraction. Other stone carvings depict the Rasalilas of Lord Krishna as well as some erotic sculptures.
Shesharayar mandapam is an amazing mingling of beauty and brilliance where you can also enjoy sights of exquisite carvings in ivory and brass materials too. A valuable ancient Indian coins collection is also on display here. The best time of the day for visiting the mandapam is in the evenings when the stonework is awash with the brilliance of its natural color.
Getting to the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple is very easy as it enjoys great connectivity. There is an airport located within Trichy itself and the city enjoys great rail and road connectivity too. Since there are so many tourist attractions to visit here, you could stay over at the opulent, yet homely Sangam hotel, which is located in the heart of the city.