Thiruchi Sri Uchi Pillaiyar

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By Saravanan Iyer

Tiruchirappalli, was earlier known as Thirisirapuram, as a Rakshasa called Thirisiran worshipped Lord Shiva here. There are also stories that since there are three peaks on Rock Fort, occupied by three Gods Shiva, Parvathi & Vinayakar (Uchi Pillaiyar), the place was called Thiri-sikarapuram and later called Tirisirapuram. This place was also known as Sirappalli, Rishabachalam & Dhakshina Kailasam during ancient days. The Rock Fort hill is beleived to be formed lakhs of years back (Archeology and Scientific Sources).

As per the mythology, once there was a great tuffle between Aadhiseshan and the wind God Vaayu, on who is more powerful. Aadhiseshan encircled the Maha Meru hill (Himalaya) and challenged Vaayu whether he can take Himalayas off his clutches. Vaayu tried much and accepted his defeat. It is said that during the fight, 3 pieces of the mountain broke and flew off to different places. Out of the 3 peices which flew off, one is this Rock fort at Trichy. The other two are at Triconamalee (Ceylon) and Sri Kalahasthi (AP).

Uchi Pillaiyar Temple

Uchi Pillaiyar Temple is located on the peak of the Rock Fort hill. The shrine is at a height of 273 ft and you have to climb over 400 steps to reach the pinnacle. One has to cross Sri Thayumanavar temple, which is located half way to the peak. Though the climb is a bit difficult, the soothing cool breeze gears up our energy to climb without much strain. A panoramic view of the entire Thiruchi and Srirangam Temple from the Uchi Vinayakar temple is just amazing.

The Story

Rama defeated Ravana and went back to Ayodhya with Sita, where he had is Pattabhishegam (coronation) as a king. Vibhishana (brother of Ravana) accompanied him on his way back to Ayodhya. After the celebrations, when Vibhishana wanted to return back to Lanka to take charge, Rama presented him with a Ranga Vimana for which he has been personally performing poojas till then. Rama on presenting the idol and Vimana, told Vibhishana to take it to Lanka install it there with a condition that, on the way back, the idol must not be placed on the ground anywhere for any reasons. Vibhishana agreed to it and thankfully took it from Rama and was carrying it on his way to Lanka.

While passing by the city of Thiruchi, Vibhishana was extremely fascinated by the beauty of the flow of river Cauvery. He felt that it was the right place for him to have his bath and some rest before proceeding to Lanka. He looked around for some help to keep the Ranga Vimana till he finishes his bath. There was a small boy playing around in the banks of Cauvery. Vibhishana handed over the Ranga Vimana to him and told him strictly not to place it on the ground till he comes back. The boy agreed and told him that he will call Vibhishana thrice and if he doesn't come back, he will keep it and go away.

Vibhishana went into the waters and was enjoying the bath in the river. This boy called him thrice and Vibhishana did not respond as he was in waters. The boy kept the idol on the ground and it started growing big enormously. Vibhishana came back hurrily. Seeing the Vimana on the ground, he tried to lift it. His attempts failed. He got furious with the boy and went chasing him. The boy ran upto the hill top and sat on the peak as he can't run further. Vibhishana knocked the boy on his head with anger. The boy revealed himself as Lord Vinayaka to Vibhishana. Vibhishana prayed the lord and went back to Lanka leaving behind the Ranga on the banks of Cauvery.

It was Vinayaka's trick to retain Lord Ranga in Trichy, which is today's Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. And the Lord Vinayaka who played tricks with Vibhishana, is worshipped as Uchi Pillaiyar at the hill top. Even today one can see a wound on his head caused by the knock of Vibhishana. There is also a rock cut cave near the temple. The path inside the cave leads to Woraiyur, which was one of the popular ancient cities. A wonderful get away from materialistic life.