The Tiruchirapalli Rock Fort is a historic fort and temple complex built on an ancient rock. It is located in the city of Tiruchirapalli, which is in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is constructed on a 273-foot high rock.There are two Hindu temples inside the Rockfort, the Uchchi Pillaiyar Koil and the Siva Temple. Geologically the 83 m high rock may date to over one billion years ago. Other local tourist attractions include the famous 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 Rockfort is the most prominent landmark of the city.
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 Himalayas.Quartz, used in glass making, and feldspar, used in ceramics, are found in this rock formation.
As the name suggests, the Rock Fort Temple is situated on 83 metre-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 temples:
- the Manikka Vinayakar temple at the foot of the hill, dedicated to Lord Ganesha
- the Ucchi Pillayar Temple at the top of the hill, dedicated to Lord Ganesha
- 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. It is reached by a flight of steps on the way to Ucchi Pillayar Temple.