Legend of Ucchi Pillayar Temple
The Ucchi Pillayar Temple is associated with legend according to which Lord Rama gifted Vibhishanaan idol of Lord Ranganatha, a form of Lord Vishnu. In Ramayana Vibhishana was the youngest brother of Ravana, the ruler of Lanka. According to the epic Ravana had captured Sita, the wife of Lord Rama in his kingdom in Ashok Vatika. Rama to rescue his wife took the help of Lord Hanuman and Sugreeva. Upon reaching the kingdom Lanka he was further helped by Vibhishana in the battle against Ravana. He was a firm devotee of Lord Rama. At the end of the war Lord Rama and his army emerged victorious and got back Sita. As a token of love he gifted Vibhishana an idol of Lord Ranganatha. Though Vibhishana helped Lord Rama he was basically an Asura. The Devas who are rivals of the Asuras did not support the idea of an Asura possessing an idol of Lord Vishnu and installing him in his kingdom. The idol of Lord Ranganatha was one of the supreme forms of Lord Vishnu. The Devas thus, went to Lord Vinayaka, the God of learning and remover of obstacles to help them with their plans. On hearing them the Lord decides to help them.
Vibhishana, while returning back to his kingdom goes to Trichi. There he wished to take bath in the Kaveri River and perform his daily rituals. He was however anxious about the idol as a condition was applicable to it. According to it once the idol is kept on a particular location it could not be shifted and had to be installed there. Hence, Vibhishana began searching for a person to hold the idol while he took his bath. Lord Vinayaka took the form of a cowherd boy and approached him. Vibhishana gave him the idol and instructed him to hold it until he returned. When he completely immersed himself in the river, Lord Ganesha placed the idol on the ground firmly on the banks of Kaveri. Vibhishana on seeing his chased the boy till the rock near the Kaveri bank and hit him on his forehead to punish him. Lord Ganesha then revealed himself to him. Vibhishana upon realising his mistake asked for pardon from the Lord. The Lord blessed him and sent him back to Lanka.
The place where the Ranganathan deity was installed was later covered by thick forests. Later a Chola king while chasing a parrot discovered the idol. He then constructed the Ranganathaswamy temple there. The Pallavas also built the Vinayaka temple and the Thayumanaswamy temple.
Architecture of Ucchi Pillayar Temple
Ucchi Pillayar Temple perched on top of the rock is almost 83m tall. The rulers of the Pallava Dynasty embarked upon building the temple. They began cutting the rock but later the rulers of the Nayaka Dynasty of Madurai finished building the temples under the Vijayanagar Empire. The rock architectural beauty of the temples interests the tourists visiting the temple. The temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha is comparatively smaller in size and awe inspiring. The access to the temple is made through steep steps constructed on the rock. As one ascends the steps they can get a glimpse of the panoramic view of Trichy and Srirangam. The sight of the Kaveri Riverand Kollidam River serves as visual treat for the tourists.
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