Ucchi Pillayar Temple, Rockfort
|Rockfort Ucchi Pillayar Temple|
|Proper name||Ucchi Pillayar Kovil or
|Appeared for||Thayumanava Adigal|
|Architectural styles||Dravidian architecture|
|History and governance|
|Date built||7th century AD|
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Ucchi Pillayar koil, (Tamil: உச்சிப் பிள்ளையார் கோயில்) is a 7th-century Hindu temple, one dedicated to Lord Ganesh located a top of Rockfort, Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India. Mythologically this rock is the place where Lord Ganesh ran from King Vibishana, after establishing the Ranganathaswamy deity in Srirangam.
The Rock Fort temple stands 83m tall perched atop the rock. The smooth rock was first cut by the Pallavas but it was the Nayaks of Madurai who completed both the temples under the Vijayanagara empire.
The temple is situated at the top of the rock. The temple is mystic in its nature with an awe-inspiring rock architecture. The Ganesh temple is much smaller with an access through steep steps carved on the rock and provides a stunning view of Trichy, Srirangam and the rivers Kaveri and Kollidam. Due to its ancient and impressive architecture created by the Pallavas, the temple is maintained by the Archaeological department of India.
Mythology of the Vinayaka temple
Vibhishana, was the younger brother of the Asura King Ravana who ruled Lanka. Lord Rama in the epic of Ramayana rescues his wife Sita, who was kidnapped and held by Ravana, with the help of Sugriva and Hanuman defeated him. In this war, the moral and truth-abiding brother of Ravana, Vibishana aids Rama in his battle against his brother. Ultimately Rama wins the war and as a token of love, he gives Vibishana a vigraham (idol for worship) of Lord Ranganatha, a form of Vishnu.
Vibhishana, though he supported Rama, was basically an Asura, hence the Devas (who are arch rivals to Asuras as per Hindu mythology) wanted to stop this idea of an Asura taking Lord's supreme form to his Kingdom. They request the help of the Remover of obstacles and God of learning, Lord Vinayaka and the Lord accepts the plan. Vibhishana, while on his back to his Kingdom, goes through Trichi, and wanted to take his bath in the river Kaveri and do his daily rituals. However, he is perplexed as the deity, once kept in land, can never be removed and has to be in that place forever.
As a solution, Vibishana tries to find someone to hold the deity while he was taking bath. He finds the Lord Vinayaka under disguise of a cowherd boy. As per the plan, when Vibishana is fully into water, Vinayaka takes the deity and keeps it firmly in sand, in the banks of kaveri. On seeing this, the angry Vibhishana chases the boy, to punish him, and boy keeps running and climbs over the rock near the Kaveri bank. Vibhishana finally reaches the boy and hits him on the fore-head. One can see a pit in the forehead of the idol even today. The little boy then reveals himself to be Vinayaka . Vibishana immediately apologizes and the Lord gives him his blessings, reveals that the idol is destined to remain in Srirangam and sends him off to Lanka. This is similar in many regards to the story Of Lord Ganesh in Gokarna with Ravana in the same Ramayana period..
The place in which the Ranganathan deity was kept was later covered in deep forests, due to disuse and after a very long time, it was discovered when a Chola king chasing a parrot found the deity accidentally. He then established the Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam as the largest temple complexes in the world. Meanwhile, the Pallavas built the Vinayaka temple and the Thayumanaswamy temple, in the rock which Vinayaka used to escape Vibishana.
The 2012 release of devotional album on Lord Ganesha by Gaananjali Recordings has title reference to the Malaikkottai Uchi Pillaiyar as UCHI PILLAIYARE CHARANAM. The album among other songs praising the Lord, has a song on Uchi Pillaiyar rendered by P. Unni Krishnan. Written and composed by Manachanallur Giridharan this song has references to the entire legend surrounding the Uchi Pillaiyar temple including the Vibishana's chase of Lord Ganesha and the inception of the temple.
Interior of a Temple on the Rock of Trichinopoly (1847)
Rockfort as viewed from Lourdes Church
Gopuram of the Temple
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ucchi Pillayar Temple, Rockfort.|
- India By Sarina Singh, Joe Bindloss, Paul Clammer, Janine Eberle
- Mahabaleshwar Temple, Gokarna
- Uchi Pillaiyare Charanam songs by Unnikrishnan
- "Interior of a Temple on the Rock of Trichinopoly". Wesleyan Juvenile Offering IV: Vignette. January 1847. Retrieved 17 November 2015.