Located, as it were, in the geographical heart of Tamil Nadu, Tiruchirappalli (or Tiruchi for short) is the fourth largest urban conglomeration in the state and in a way its soul.
Tiruchi is home to 27.2 lakh people and has a skewed sex ratio of 1013 women for every 1000 men as against the national average of 929! Literacy is a high 83 per cent.
History dates the presence of Tiruchi to 1500 BC. It was first ruled by the Cholas and then in succession, among others, by the Pandyas, the Pallavas, the Carnatic State and the British at various points of time. Rechristened by the British as Trichinopoly, it played a key role during the independence struggle with Rajaji in the lead. Since then, the temple town has undergone a metamorphic change to emerge as a modern hustling city.
Study here … it’s the hub of education
Trichy has always been the educational capital of Tamil Nadu. It houses historic and legendary colleges. The St. Joseph’s College, established in 1844, whose most distinguished alumni was the People’s President, Dr. Abdul Kalam, is among the oldest educational institutions in the country. Besides a slew of arts and science colleges, Tiruchi houses the prestigious National Institute of Technology (was amongst the eight original Regional Engineering Colleges) and is home to IIM Tiruchi (one of the third generation IIMs), besides entertaining a couple of medical colleges and the Government Law College. A number of engineering colleges, business schools and polytechnics throng the district. In management education, the Bharatidasan Institute of Management is a name to reckon with. The National College is now rejuvenated by V Krishnamurthy who earned his early fame from BHEL-T.
India is fast emerging as the popular spot for affordable healthcare. As it happened in the BPO space, where people started moving out of the metros to Tier 2 cities, much the same is likely to happen to healthcare. Once that materialises, Tiruchi would claim its rightful place in this space, given its genial history of health and medicine. The CSI Mission General Hospital, the Divisional Railway Hospital at Golden Rock, and the Mahatma Gandhi Government Hospital are some of the names to reckon with. In recent years, the biggies from the metros have moved in. In 1991, Dr P S Mahadevan pioneered the Advanced Medical Care as a corporate hospital. Apollo has opened shop, if one could use that word, on an arterial road of Tiruchi. Kavery Medical Centre and Hospital (KMCH) and the Chennai Medical College Hospital are some of the other names. The fast growing healthcare chain, Vasan, is based out of Tiruchi. Overall, Tiruchi could perhaps be called the low cost medical tourism hub with 133 hospitals.
Tiruchi is BHEL
Tiruchi became synonymous with BHEL, one of India’s top public sector undertakings. A giant among giants it is engaged in the design, engineering, manufacturing, construction, commissioning and servicing of a wide range of products for the core sectors of the economy, viz., power, industry, transportation, renewable energy, oil & gas and defence. The Tiruchi unit is a jewel in BHEL’s cap. It contributes to around 30 per cent of BHEL’s sales and a sizeable chunk of its profits. BHEL, along with its ancillary units, accounts for 60 per cent of volume of India’s total steel fabrication. Add to that the presence of a large number of energy equipment manufacturing units in and around the city and you know why has earned the title of energy equipment and fabrication capital of India.
Tiruchi was the first choice to the newly set up Southern Indian Railway Company, but it was relocated to Madras in early 20th century. The Golden Rock Railway Workshop is among the three railway production workshops cum production units and has its own aroma of history.
Ordinance Factory (OFT) on the outskirts of Tiruchi, produces arms and ammunition for use by Indian Armed Forces. The products include grenade launchers, multi-shell launchers and rifles. It also runs a Heavy Alloy Penetrator Project (HAPP) facility, which was the first of its kind in India when it was set up in the 1960s.
In 2010, the city had its first IT park, ELCOT, commissioned over sprawling 59 hectares with an outlay of Rs. 600 million.
Manachanallur has numerous rice mills that produce the Ponni brand of rice.
Temples in Tiruchi
There is no Tiruchi without its temples. With its 2500 years of history, several monuments stand today as a witness to the past grandeur of Tiruchi. The Archeological Survey of India has identified many temples of historical importance.
The Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam is believed to be the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world. Occupying 156 acres of land, the temple has its Rajagopuram, which is 236 feet, and which found its way into the Limca Book of World Records as the tallest temple tower in world.
The Rockfort temple is another marvellous construction. Situated atop a 273 feet high set of monolithic rocks, it is rumoured to have been the hideout of Robert Clive. Jambukeswarar Temple at Thiruvanaikkaval, the Samayapuram Mariamman Temple, and the Ukrakaliamman temple in Tennur are amongst the other prominent landmark temples.
The tomb of the 10th century Muslim saint Nadir Shah is in Nadir Shah Mosque. Gothic Revival architecture in the city is evident in many monuments. The Our Lady of Lourdes Church and Christ Church constructed by the German Protestant missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz in 1766 are examples.
Among various other things, Tiruchi is prominently known for cleanliness. In 2010, the city was named one of the ten cleanest cities in India by National Urban Sanitation Policy. In 2015, the Clean India survey, ranked it as the second cleanest city in the country.