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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history and culture of Tiruchirappalli?

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Part of a medieval metropolis, Tiruchirappalli today is the 4th largest urban agglomeration of Tamil Nadu. Called the city of temples, Tiruchirappalli’s image may be outlined by its rich cultural heritage, but the first thought that crosses your mind when you enter the city is how well laid out the city is, with its arterial pathways and roads.


At different times, Tiruchirappalli has been ruled by the Cholas, Pandyas, Pallavas, Delhi Sultanate, Madurai Sultanate, Vijayanagar Empire, Nayak dynasty, the Carnatic state and the British. It was the battleground for the Carnatic wars, where the British and French East India companies fought it out for power and control. Today Tiruchirappalli is as quintessentially suburban as they come. It is an important industrial and educational hub of Tamil Nadu with the presence of factories of Ordnance factories board like BHEL and institutes like IIM, NIT, etc. Trichinopoly cigar, a popular international brand of cheroot, used to be exported in large quantities to UK in the 19th century. The cigar has found mention a number of times in english literature including in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet of the famous sleuth Sherlock Holmes.  


The local lore behind the name Tiruchirappalli are quite a few and factions differ in their beliefs. However, one fact all can agree on is that the British commonly referred to Tiruchirappalli using the erroneous spelling Trichinopoly and eventually the shortened forms "Trichy"or "Tiruchi" became more frequently used in common parlance.

Situated at the edge of Kaveri Delta, Tiruchirappalli has a population that predominantly follows the Hindu faith and culture, with a sizeable number of people following Christianity and Islam and few Jainism and Sikhism. You will find city natives to converse in Tamil, Telugu, Saurashtrian and Kannada. However, given the urbanization, city people here are fluent in English, though not so much in Hindi.


In this suburban city where past rubs shoulders with the present and they sit in utter ease with each other, you will find yourself suspended between heaven and earth, past and present-energized and moved beyond words.

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