According to Hindu mythology, Tiruchirappalli derives its name from the three-headed demon Trishira, who meditated on the Hindu god Shiva near the present-day city to obtain favours from the god. An alternative derivation, albeit not universally accepted, is that the source of the city's name is the Sanskrit word "Trishirapuram"—Trishira, meaning "three-headed", and palli or puram meaning "city".
According to the late Telugu scholar C. P. Brown, Tiruchirappalli might be a derivative of the word Chiruta-palli (lit. "little town").OrientalistsHenry Yule and Arthur Coke Burnell have speculated that the name may derive from a rock inscription carved in the 16th century in which Tiruchirappalli is written as Tiru-ssila-palli, meaning "holy-rock-town" in Tamil. Other scholars have suggested that the name Tiruchirappalli is a rewording of Tiru-chinna-palli, meaning "holy little town". The Madras Glossary gives the root as Tiruććināppalli or the "holy (tiru) village (palli) of the shina (Cissampelos pareira) plant".
Historically, Tiruchirappalli was commonly referred to in English as "Trichinopoly". The shortened forms "Trichy" or "Tiruchi" are used in common parlance and the full name Tiruchirapalli appears in official use by government and quasi-government departments but seldom by the native people.
Tiruchirappalli is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Tamil Nadu; its earliest settlements date back to the second millennium BC.Uraiyur, the capital of the Early Cholas for 600 years from the 3rd century BC onwards, is a neighbourhood in the present-day Tiruchirappalli. The city is referred to as Orthoura by the historian Ptolemy in his 2nd-century work Geography. The world's oldest surviving dam, the Kallanai (Lower Anaicut) about 18 kilometres (11 mi) from Uraiyur, was built across the Kaveri River by Karikala Chola in the 2nd century AD.
The medieval history of Tiruchirappalli begins with the reign of the Pallava king Mahendravarman I, who ruled over South India in the 6th century AD and constructed the rock-cut cave-temples within the Rockfort. Following the downfall of the Pallavas in the 8th century, the city was conquered by the Medieval Cholas, who ruled until the 13th century.
Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah
After the decline of the Cholas, Tiruchirappalli was conquered by the Pandyas, who ruled from 1216 until their defeat in 1311 by Malik Kafur, the commander of Allauddin Khilji. The victorious armies of the Delhi Sultanate are believed to have plundered and ravaged the region. The idol of the Hindu god Ranganatha in the temple of Srirangam vanished at about this time and was not recovered and reinstated for more than fifty years. Tiruchirappalli was ruled by the Delhi and Madurai sultanates from 1311 to 1378, but by the middle of the 14th century the Madurai Sultanate had begun to fall apart. Gradually, the Vijayanagar Empire established supremacy over the northern parts of the kingdom, and Tiruchirappalli was taken by the Vijayanagar prince Kumara Kampanna Udaiyar in 1371. The Vijayanagar Empire ruled the region from 1378 until the 1530s, and played a prominent role in reviving Hinduism by reconstructing temples and monuments destroyed by the previous Muslim rulers. Following the collapse of the Vijayanagar Empire in the early part of the 16th century, the Madurai Nayak kingdom began to assert its independence. The city flourished during the reign of Vishwanatha Nayak (c. 1529–1564), who is said to have protected the area by constructing the Teppakulam and building walls around the Srirangam temple. His successor Kumara Krishnappa Nayaka made Tiruchirappalli his capital, and it served as the capital of the Madurai Nayak kingdom from 1616 to 1634 and from 1665 to 1736.
During the Company Raj and later the British Raj, Tiruchirappalli emerged as one of the most important cities in India. According to the 1871 Indian census—the first in British India—Tiruchirappalli had a population of 76,530, making it the second largest city in the presidency after the capital of Madras (now Chennai). It was known throughout the British Empire for its unique variety of cheroot, known as the Trichinopoly cigar. Tiruchirappalli was the first headquarters for the newly formed South Indian Railway Company in 1874 until its relocation to Madras in the early 20th century.[c]
Panorama of Tiruchirappalli showing Cauvery river and the Srirangam island.
Aerial photograph of Srirangam island, sandwiched between the rivers Kaveri and Kollidam
Tiruchirappalli is situated in central south-eastern India, almost at the geographic centre of the state of Tamil Nadu. The Cauvery Delta begins to form 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) west of the city where the river divides into two streams—the Kaveri and the Kollidam—to form the island of Srirangam. By road it is 912 kilometres (567 mi) south of Hyderabad, 322 kilometres (200 mi) south-west of Chennai and 331 kilometres (206 mi) south-east of Bangalore. The topology of Tiruchirappalli is almost flat with an average elevation of 88 metres (289 ft). A few isolated hillocks rise above the surface, the highest of which is the Rockfort; its estimated age of 3,800 million years makes it one of the oldest rocks in the world. Other prominent hillocks include the Golden Rock, Khajamalai, and one each at Uyyakondan Thirumalai and Thiruverumbur.
Panorama of Tiruchirappalli as seen from the top of the Rockfort.
The city of Tiruchirappalli lies on the plains between the Shevaroy Hills to the north and the Palani Hills to the south and south-west. Tiruchirappalli is completely surrounded by agricultural fields. Densely populated industrial and residential areas have recently been built in the northern part of the city, and the southern edge also has residential areas. The older part of Tiruchirappalli, within the Rockfort, is unplanned and congested while the adjoining newer sections are better executed. Many of the old houses in Srirangam were constructed according to the shilpa sastras, the canonical texts of Hindu temple architecture.
Tiruchirappalli experiences a dry-summer tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification: As), with no major change in temperature between summer and winter. The climate is generally characterised by high temperature and low humidity. With an annual mean temperature of 28.9 °C (84.0 °F) and monthly average temperatures ranging between 25 °C (77 °F) and 32 °C (90 °F), the city is the hottest in the state. The warmest months are from April to June, when the city experiences frequent dust storms. As of November 2013[update], the highest temperature ever recorded in Tiruchirappalli was 43.9 °C (111.0 °F), which occurred on 2 May 1896; the lowest was observed on 6 February 1884 at 13.9 °C (57.0 °F). The high temperatures in the city have been attributed to the presence of two rivers—Kaveri and Kollidam—[d]and the absence of greenery around the city. As Tiruchirappalli is on the Deccan Plateau the days are extremely warm and dry; evenings are cooler because of cold winds that blow from the south-east. From June to September, the city experiences a moderate climate tempered by heavy rain and thundershowers. Rainfall is heaviest between October and December because of the north-east monsoon winds, and from December to February the climate is cool and moist. The average annual rainfall is 841.9 mm (33.15 in), slightly lower than the state's average of 945 mm (37.2 in). Fog and dew are rare and occur only during the winter season.
According to the 2011 Indian census, Tiruchirappalli had a population of 847,387,[a] 9.4% of whom were under the age of six, living in 214,529 families within the municipal corporation limits. The recorded population density was 5,768/km2 (14,940/sq mi) while the sex ratio was 975 males for every 1,000 females. The Tiruchirappalli urban agglomeration had a population of 1,022,518, and was ranked the fourth largest in Tamil Nadu and the 53rd in India as of 2011. The city had an average literacy rate of 91.37%, significantly higher than the national average of 73.00%.Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 10.48% and 0.27% of the population respectively. There were 228,518 people, roughly constituting about 26.96% of the total population, who lived in slums in the city. The daily floating population of the city was estimated at around 250,000.
Covering 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi), the municipality of Tiruchirappalli was inaugurated under the Town Improvements Act 1865 on 1 November 1866;  it originally consisted of two ex-officio and nine nominated members. Council elections were introduced in 1877 and the first chairman was elected in 1889. The municipality was upgraded to a municipal corporation as per the Tiruchirappalli City Municipal Corporation Act 1994 by inclusion of the erstwhile Srirangam and Golden Rock municipalities. Covering 167.23 square kilometres (64.57 sq mi),[a] the municipal corporation comprises 65 wards and four administrative zones; these are Srirangam, Ariyamangalam, Golden Rock and Abhishekapuram.
Headquarters of Tiruchirappalli City Municipal Corporation
Tiruchirappalli City Municipal Corporation Council, the legislative body, comprises 65 councillors elected from each of the 65 wards and is headed by a mayor assisted by a Deputy Mayor. The executive wing has seven departments—general administration, revenue, town planning, engineering, public health, information technology and personnel—and is headed by a City Commissioner. The Commissioner is assisted by two executive engineers for the east and west sections, and Assistant Commissioners for personnel, accounts and revenue departments, a public relations officer, a city engineer, a city health officer and an Assistant Commissioner for each of the four zones. A Local Planning Authority for Tiruchirappalli was created on 5 April 1974 as per the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act of 1971 with the District Collector of Tiruchirappalli as chairman and the Assistant Director of Town and Country Planning as its member secretary.
Law and order are enforced by the Tamil Nadu police, which for administrative purposes has constituted Tiruchirappalli city as a separate district, divided into 18 zonal offices and units, with a total of 38 police stations.
The Tiruchirappalli city police force is headed by a Commissioner of police assisted by Deputy Commissioners. Law and order in suburban areas is enforced by the Tiruchirappalli district police. It has the lowest proportion of rape and murder cases in the state.
During British rule, Tiruchirappalli was known for its tanneries, cigar-manufacturing units and oil presses. At its peak, more than 12 million cigars were manufactured and exported annually. Tanned hides and skins from Tiruchirappalli were exported to the United Kingdom. The city has a number of retail and wholesale markets, the most prominent among them being the Gandhi Market, which also serves people from other parts of the district. Other notable markets in the city are the flower bazaar in Srirangam and the mango market at Mambazha Salai. The suburb of Manachanallur is known for its rice mills, where polished Ponni rice is produced.
Tiruchirappalli is a major engineering equipment manufacturing and fabrication hub in India. The Golden Rock Railway Workshop, which moved to Tiruchirappalli from Nagapattinam in 1928, is one of the three railway workshop–cum–production units in Tamil Nadu. The workshops produced 650 conventional and low-container flat wagons during 2007–2008.
A high-pressure boiler manufacturing plant was set up by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), India's largest public sector engineering company, in May 1965. This was followed by a seamless steel plant and a boiler auxiliaries plant. In 2010, the Tiruchirappalli unit of the company contributed to nearly 30 per cent of its total sales, making it the largest of all units. As of 2011, the Tiruchirappalli division employed about 10,000 people, and is supported by a number of ancillary industries producing almost 250,000 tonnes (250,000,000 kg) of fabricated materials. These ancillary units together with BHEL contribute nearly 60 per cent of India's steel fabrication, earning the city the title, "Energy equipment and fabrication capital of India". Other important industries in Tiruchirappalli include Trichy Distilleries and Chemicals Limited (TDCL), which was established at Senthaneerpuram in the former Golden Rock municipality in 1966. and the Trichy Steel Rolling Mills, which was started as a private limited company on 27 June 1961. The Trichy Distilleries and Chemicals Limited manufactures rectified spirit,acetaldehyde,acetic acid,acetic anhydride and ethyl acetate. It is one of the biggest private sector distilleries in Tamil Nadu and produced 13.5 megalitres (3.0 million imperial gallons) of spirit alcohol between December 2005 and November 2006. The Ordnance Factories Board runs a weapons manufacturing unit and a Heavy Alloy Penetrator Project (HAPP) facility; the latter was set up in the late 1980s and comprises a flexible manufacturing system (FMS)—the first of its kind in India.
From the late 1980s, a synthetic gem industry was developed in the city; the gemstones are cut and polished in Tiruchirappalli district and in Pudukottai district. In 1990, the Indian government launched a scheme to increase employment by boosting the production of American diamonds and training local artisans in semi-automated machinery and technology. The local gem industry was reportedly generating annual revenues of ₹100 million (equivalent to ₹480 million or US$6.7 million in 2019) by the mid-1990s. Concerns have been raised over the employment of children aged 9–14 in the gem cutting and polishing industry. As a result, in 1996, Tiruchirappalli district was selected to be involved in the National Child Labour Project and in the running of special schools to educate working children.
As of December 2010, the Tiruchirappalli region annually exports around ₹262.1 million (equivalent to ₹470 million or US$6.6 million in 2019) of software. The ELCOT IT Park—the city's first IT park—commissioned at a cost of ₹600 million (equivalent to ₹1.1 billion or US$15 million in 2019) was inaugurated in December 2010. Set up by the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu, the park occupies an area of 59.74 hectares (147.6 acres) and constitutes a Special Economic Zone.
A resident of Tiruchirappalli is generally referred to as a Tiruchiite. Situated at the edge of the Kaveri Delta, the culture of Tiruchirappalli is predominantly Brahminical, prevalent elsewhere in the delta. With a substantial population of students and migrant industrial workers from different parts of India, Tiruchirappalli has a more cosmopolitan outlook than the surrounding countryside. The main festival celebrated in Tiruchirappalli is Pongal, a regional harvest festival celebrated during January. As part of the Pongal celebrations, Jallikattu, a bull-taming village sport played on the last day of the festival, is occasionally held on the outskirts of the city.Aadi Perukku, Samayapuram flower festival,Vaikunta Ekadasi, Srirangam car festival, and the Teppakulam float festival are some of the prominent festivals that are held locally.Bakrid and Eid al-Fitr are also widely celebrated, owing to the substantial number of Muslims in the city. Nationwide festivals such as the Gregorian New Year, Christmas, Deepavali and Holi are also celebrated in Tiruchirappalli.
Textile weaving, leather-work and gem cutting are some of the important crafts practised in Tiruchirappalli. Wooden idols of Hindu gods and goddesses are sold at Poompuhar, the crafts emporium run by the Government of Tamil Nadu. The Trichy Travel Federation (TTF) was formed on 5 May 2009 to promote Tiruchirappalli as a favourable tourist destination. The federation organises an annual food festival called Suvai. Lack of infrastructure has been a major deterrent to the city's tourism industry.
The "Vellay Gopuram" (white tower) on the eastern entrance of the Srirangam temple named after a Devadasi
Considered one of the symbols of Tiruchirappalli, the Rockfort is a fortress which stands atop a 273-foot-high rock. It consists of a set of monolithic rocks accommodating many rock-cut cave temples. Originally built by the Pallavas, it was later reconstructed by the Madurai Nayaks and Vijayanagara rulers. The temple complex has three shrines, two of which are dedicated to Lord Ganesha, one at the foot and the Ucchi Pillayar Temple at the top, and the Thayumanavar Temple between them. The Thayumanavar temple, the largest of the three, houses a shrine for Pārvatī as well as the main deity. As per a legend, Vayu Bhaghvan and Adiseshan had a dispute to find out who is superior, to prove the superiority adiseshan encircled the Kailasam, Vayu tried to remove this encircle by creating santamarutham (Twister). Because of the santamarutham, eight kodumudigal (parts) fell from kailasam into eight different places which are Thirugonamalai (Trincomalee, Sri Lanka), Thirukalahasti, Thiruchiramalai (Rock fort), Thiruenkoimalai, Rajathagiri, Neerthagiri, Ratnagiri, and Swethagiri Thirupangeeli.
The Rockfort is visible from almost every part of the city's north. The Teppakulam at the foot of the Rockfort is surrounded by bazaars. It has a mandapa at its centre.
The Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, is located on the island of Srirangam. Often cited as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world, it has a perimeter of 4,116 metres (13,504 ft) and occupies 156 acres (630,000 m2). Considered to be among the 108 Divya Desams (Holy shrines of Lord Vishnu), the temple is believed to house the mortal remains of the Vaishnavite saint and philosopher Ramanujacharya. Originally built by the Cholas, the temple was later renovated by the Pandyas, the Hoysalas, the Madurai Nayaks and the Vijayanagar empire between the 9th and 16th centuries AD. There are 21 gopurams (towers), of which the Rajagopuram is 236 feet (72 m). According to the Limca Book of Records, it was the tallest temple tower in the world until 1999.
Tiruchirappalli has been recognised in India as an important educational centre since the time of British rule.St. Joseph's College, which opened in Nagapattinam in 1846 and transferred to Tiruchirappalli in 1883, is one of the oldest educational institutions in South India. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) college, established in 1883, is a premium missionary institution in the city.
The first radio transmission station in Tiruchirappalli was opened by All India Radio (AIR) on 16 May 1939. AIR started providing direct-to-home enabled radio broadcasting service from 2006. In 2007, the AIR launched Ragam, a separate Carnatic music station, from the city. Apart from the government-owned AIR, private FM radio stations such as Hello FM and Suryan FM broadcast from Tiruchirappalli.Indira Gandhi National Open University's Gyan Vani started broadcasting from the city in 2008. Tiruchirappalli's first campus community radio station was started by Holy Cross College on 22 December 2006.
Television broadcasting from Chennai was started on 15 August 1975. Satellite television channels have been available since 1991. Direct-to-home cable television services are provided by DD Direct Plus and various other operators.
Electricity supply to the city is regulated and distributed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB). Tiruchirappalli is the headquarters of the Trichy region of TNEB. The city and its suburbs form the Trichy Metro Electricity Distribution Circle, which is subdivided into six divisions. A chief distribution engineer is stationed at the regional headquarters at Tennur. Water supply is provided by the Tiruchirappalli City Corporation. The city gets its drinking water supply from the Kaveri River and 1,470 bore wells linked to 60 service reservoirs in and around the city. Four of the six head works from which the city gets its water supply are maintained by the municipal corporation and the rest by other agencies.
Pollution has been a major concern in Tiruchirappalli. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has set up five stations in the city to check the quality of air. As of 2012, about 432 tonnes (432,000 kg) of solid waste are produced in the city every day. Solid waste management in the city is handled by the corporation; places such as the Gandhi Market, Central Bus terminus and the Chathram bus terminus are being monitored by other agencies. The principal landfill is at Ariyamangalam. Waste water management in the Trichy-Srirangam underground drainage (UGD) areas is handled by the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD) and in other areas by the Tiruchirappalli Municipal Corporation. As of 2013, there were a total of 40,580 UGD connections maintained by the municipal corporation. The high toxicity of the waste water released by the Trichy Distilleries and Chemicals Limited (TDCL) is a major cause of concern for the corporation. The corporation's annual expenditure for the year 2010–11 was estimated to be ₹1,559.4 million (equivalent to ₹2.6 billion or US$36 million in 2019). In 2013, researchers from Bharathidasan University assessed water quality in the Tiruchirappalli area and concluded that although the quality of the groundwater was suitable for human consumption, the quality of the pond water in the city was "not fit for human usage, agricultural or industrial purposes".
Tiruchirappalli comes under the Tiruchi Telecom District of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), India's state-owned telecom and internet services provider. There are about 20,000 business telephone subscribers in the city. Both Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Code division multiple access (CDMA) mobile services are available. BSNL also provides broadband internet services. BSNL began offering wireless internet services with the commencement of Evolution-Data Optimized (EVDO) transmission in 2008. Tiruchirappalli is one of the few cities in India where BSNL's Caller Line Identification (CLI)-based internet service Netone is available. Softnet (STPI), Tata VSNL, Bharti and Reliance are other major broadband internet service providers in the city.
Tiruchirappalli has a passport office, the second in Tamil Nadu, which commenced its operations on 23 March 1983. The office also caters to the needs of seven adjacent districts namely, Karur, Nagappattinam, Perambalur, Pudukkottai, Thanjavur, Ariyalur and Tiruvarur.
Tiruchirappalli sits at the confluence of two major National Highways—NH 45 and NH 67. NH 45 is one of the most congested highways in south India and carries almost 10,000 lorries on the Tiruchirappalli–Chennai stretch every night. Other National Highways originating in the city are NH 45B, NH 210 and NH 227. State highways that start from the city include SH 25 and SH 62. Tiruchirappalli has 715.85 km (444.81 mi) of road maintained by the municipal corporation. A semi-ring road connecting all the National Highways is being constructed to ease traffic congestion in the city. As of 2013, approximately 328,000 two-wheelers, 93,500 cars and 10,000 public transport vehicles operate within the city limits, apart from the 1,500 inter-city buses that pass through Tiruchirappalli daily. Tiruchirappalli suffers from traffic congestion mainly because of its narrow roads and absence of an integrated bus station.
^ abcdThe area of the city was expanded from 146.9 square kilometres (56.7 sq mi) to 167.23 square kilometres (64.57 sq mi) in 2010, as a result of which the population increased from 847,387 to 916,857 according to the 2011 census.
^The official spelling, as per the municipal corporation website is "Tiruchirappalli". However, the spellings Tiruchirapalli, Tiruchchirapalli and Tiruchchirappalli are also widely used.
^"Primary Census Abstract Data (Final Population)". Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. Archived from the original on 8 February 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2014.Click the link "Primary Census Abstract Data for Slum (India & States/UTs - Town Level) (Excel Format)" to download the file in excel format
^"Trichy city". Tamil Nadu police. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2014. Click on the "Commissioner Office" tab to get the name and contact details of police commissioner of Tiruchirappalli city district.
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