Rockfort Ucchi Pillayar Temple Tiruchirappalli, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is a historic Lord Ganesha temple situated on top of a 83 metres (272 ft) high rock. The 7th century temple featuring Dravidian architecture is part of Rockfort – the celebrated fort and temple complex in the city of Tiruchirappalli. In addition to Ucchi Pillayar Temple, Rockfort houses a Siva (Thayumanavar) temple close to the base of the hill. The ancient rock on which the complex is built is estimated to be more than one billion years old. The Ganesha temple is built on the pinnacle of the hill and can be accessed by climbing 417 flight steps.
Legend of Rockfort Ucchi Pillayar Temple
There is an interesting fable behind the origin of this temple which is dedicated to Lord Ganesha.
Lord Rama gifted Sri Ranganatha idol to King Vibishana, the brother of demon king Ravana. Rama gifted it as a tribute to helping him in his endeavor to save his wife Sita from Lanka. Rama warned him that the idol will forever remain in the place where it is first positioned. Devas (gods) disliked the idea of the absolute form of divinity being taken away to an asura (demon) kingdom. Lord Ganesha came to the gods’ rescue and promised to stop Vibishana.
On his way back to Lanka, Vibishana stopped at the banks of River Cauvery to take some rest. Before going to take a dip in the water, Vibishana gave the diety to Ganesha, who appeared there as a small boy in the disguise of helping him. Vibishana instructed him not to keep the idol on ground till he came back. But Ganesha placed it on the sandy banks when Vibishana went to take bath in the holy water. Seeing this, Vibishana got angry and chased Ganesha to the hill top and banged the boy’s head. The boy revealed his true self and Vibhishana pleaded apology and worshipped lord Ganesha on the hill top. This rock where Ganesha escaped from Vibishana became the site of Ucchi Pillayar Temple. Vibishana left the Ranganatha idol on the banks of Cauvery and went back to Lanka. The place where the deity got rooted became the site of the famous Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple.
The annual Brahmotsavam in Chithirai, Aadi Pooram and the float festival in Panguni are the major festivals here.
Official Website of Rockfort Temple, Trichy