Tiruchirapalli is well-known for its Rock Fort, a temple complex carved out of an ancient rock. This Rock Fort houses two famous temples: Ucchi Pillayar Temple and Thayumanaswami Temple. However, this Fort also has some lesser-known facts. It houses two rock-cut temples or cave temples, as they are usually known. These rock-cut cave temples are believed to be built in the 7th century. These temples are known as Upper Cave temple and Lower Cave temple.
The Upper Cave temple is situated nearby Thayumanaswami temple and on the way to Ucchi Pillayar temple. This temple is better known as Lalitankura Pallava Temple, as it was built by a Mahendravarman Pallava using his primary name. On the walls of this temple, one can find 900 year old inscriptions. The front face of the temple is supported by four pillars and the hall is beautifully decorated with lotus carvings. Unfortunately, there is no deity in the shrine which is present in the hall. However, the walls of the shrine have many assortment of deities sculpted onto them. It can be assumed from the sculptures that the shrine was built for Lord Shiva.
The Lower Cave temple is situated in the South-West part of the Rock Fort. There are four pillars in the front face of the temple. Unlike Upper Cave temple, this temple has two halls and two shrines. There are no deities in the shrines. This temple has more sculptures carved into the walls than the Upper Cave temple. Stories of famous deities and Pallavan kings are also depicted on the walls.
These architecturally beautiful and clean temples are not visited by many tourists, since the popularity of the Rock Fort overshadows the exposure to these temples.
How to visit the place?
There are many ways to visit these temples. From Trichy central bus terminus, there is a 20-minute bus ride to these temples. Or if you prefer to go by walk, it takes around 15 minutes to reach Chinna Kadai Street from the bus terminus. Then, from the base of the hill, it takes about 20 minutes to walk to these temples. You can also walk directly to the temples from Chatiram Bus Terminus. The timings to visit these temples are from 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM.
Don’t miss to visit these lesser-known rock-cut temples if you are in and around of Trichy or if you are planning to visit later, then add this to your to do list in Trichy