Tiruchirapalli is a South Indian city which is famous for the temples and forts. The town is known for its National Institutes of Technology among the youngsters. It is also known among the older generation for its Hindu mythological importance. Here, I am trying to cover the must visit places in Tiruchirappalli (or Tiruchirappally or Trichy) and the accompanying delights around this region.
1. How to reach Tiruchirapalli:
By train, it is six-hours journey from Chennai. There are multiple trains that connect Chennai Egmore (MS) to Trichy Junction (TPJ) at a frequency of every three hours. There are buses, both TNSTC and private, from all over Tamil Nadu and also from neighboring states of Andhra, Kerala, and Karnataka. There is also an airport in Tiruchirappalli (TRZ) which has some international and domestic flights coming in.
2. Where to stay:
The railway station of Trichy is at walkable distance from the bus station. This is located in the center of the town and is called the Junction. There are many hotels and lodges around this area that are reasonable. The tariff is between Rs. 500 – 1000 for hotels and more than Rs. 2000 for star hotels. One such hotel is the Femina, which is located right off the bus stand, and has an adjacent shopping mall of the same name (Rs. 2500 per day).
3. What should your itinerary include:
A proper itinerary should cover the various temples, the bazaars, and the Rockfort.
(1) Rockfort: This is quite literally a fort that has seen many battles in its time. There is also a temple built right on top of it. The view from the top is spectacular. There is an entree fee of ten rupees, and fifty if you have cameras. Next to the counter, a stone staircase rises above you. No alternative but to climb, but it’s worth it. The staircase ends in an arch that leads you out to the temple and the cliff.
(2) Srirangam: This is a nearby town to Trichy that has the famous Ranganathaswamy temple. The buses going to Srirangam are available both from the Main bus stand (or the Junction), and also from the Chathram bus stand. The Chathram bus stand is an older bus stand that still functions despite the new bus stand. It is located right next to the Rockfort, so one can board a bus after going to the Rockfort.
· The Bazaar
The Bazaar needs a post of its own, but I’ll try and do justice to it. While the temples are a treat for the older demographic, the bazaar is what attracts the younger one. The bazaar is a single stretch of road filled on either side with all sorts of shops – electronics, utensils, cosmetics, books, milk products. This is conveniently located right below the Rockfort. The road that leads to the Rockfort from the main road is in fact the bazaar.
A word of warning about the bazaar. Though it is a fun place to buy items and just loiter around, one must be ready to bargain. Bargaining is a pre-requisite if you plan to go on this road.
· Micheal’s and Sons Ice cream Parlour
This is one special place that you will not find on google maps. The ice cream parlor is right opposite the bazaar entrance and can be easily spotted from its rusty board. It has a cult following among the locals for many reasons. The first being, it is almost a fifty years old. Second, the ice cream here is made in-house. Third, the prices are incredibly cheap. The costliest ice cream costs Rs. 10.
There are so many flavours – coconut, butterscotch, vanilla, chocolate, fruit salad, etc. Of course, the quality is not at par with Baskin Robbins. One must visit the place not for its quality, but because of its antiqueness and authenticity.