Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sights of Trichy - Part One

Trichy is one of my favorite places in India. It is here that my brothers and I spent many of our summer holidays and hung out with our cousins. My grandfather used to live in Trichy for many years and there are still many of my maternal relatives who live there.

Trichy is a city that is neither too big nor too small. It is just about the right size and offers so many interesting places to see and visit. The site that is most recognizable is the Rockfort Temple which is the icon of Trichy. Then there are other very famous sites as Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple, Thiruvaanaikaaval temple, Chinna Kadai Theru and Kallanai.

The first place I wanted to go to was the Rockfort Temple. I have always had wonderful memories of this temple. Every morning, the temple elephant, Lakshmi, walks to the temple and stays there throughout the day. Devotees offer coins and bananas to Lakshmi and receive blessings in return. I was so excited to see Lakshmi after a long time (I have known her since she was just 2!) and now she's almost 20. This time, we saw Lakshmi being fed with boiled rice and see how she is served!

The history behind the Rockfort Temple goes like this: In Ramayana, the demon king, Ravana, is defeated by Lord Rama. Rama is aided by Ravana's good and honest brother, Vibishana. As a token of appreciation, Rama gifts a statue of Sri Ranganatha deity (Vishnu) to Vibishana. The Devas (angels) were not happy with this as Vibishana was a demon by birth and they did not want the Vishnu statue to reach his kingdom. They sought the help of Ganesha and came up with a plan to prevent Vibishana from taking the Vishnu Statue to Lanka (present day Sri Lanka). Vibishana traveled through Trichy and stopped at the Cauvery river for a bath. He was however aware that once the statue is left on the land, it can never be moved again. He tried to find someone to hold the statue for him while he bathed and came across Ganesha disguised a young cowherd. According to the plan devised by the Devas, the cowherd set the statue firmly on the sand on the banks of Cauvery river. Vibishana saw and got enraged. The cowherd started running away from him and climbed over some rocks and sat on the top. Vibishana arrived and hits him on the head after which the boy revealed himself as Ganesha. Vibishana then apologized and asked that Ganesha bless all those who climb the rocks to see Him . There is therefore a small temple on top of the rocks and devotees have to climb about 400 steps to get there.

My mom, David and I went there in the early morning, when it was least crowded and made our way steadily up to the top. First we washed our legs and then stopped along the way up to take photos of the temple architecture and decoration.

We finally reached the top, prayed to Ganesha and then hung around for a while to enjoy the peace and take in the phenomenal panoramic view of Trichy.

We then walked down the rocks and stopped to pray at the Thaayumaana Swami Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. There was a young lady in labor and she was suffering in pain. Her mother was delayed and could not arrive in time to help her. Lord Shiva then took the form of the young lady's mother and helped her with the delivery. Thaayumaana Swami translates as the Lord who became a mother.

After that, we strolled along the streets of Trichy including the famous Chinna Kadai Theru which was busy, colorful and full of people buying clothes, fruits and fireworks for the Deepavali festivities.

Look at all these beautiful flowers, fruits and vegetables!

Keep reading for more interesting information about other famous sites in Trichy!


the doc said...

lovely summary. can't wait for the next chapter!


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