The beautiful temple of Jambukeswaram is situated in Srirangam, an island in the river Kaveri (also Cauvery), near the city of Tiruchirappalli. Placed nearby are some of the major pilgrim centers of South India-namely, Thanjavur, Madurai and Srirangam. The temple boasts of a rich heritage with intricate carvings on the façade as well as the interior.
The hallowed temple at Tiruvanaikkaval has some of the most exquisite samples of temple carvings in stone, beautiful enough to send anybody into rapturous delirium. The shrine is dedicated to Shiva and is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in the country. The gopuram has an appu or water lingam, with spring water oozing from underground in the sanctum sanctorum. Here Parvati is worshipped as a yogini, an ascetic in penance.
Standing at a particular spot between two stone pillars provides one with a grand view of all five gopurams within eye range. As in other temples, there are also a series of smaller shrines within the temple precincts dedicated to Ganesha and other deities.
In the east of Tiruchi lies Thanjavur, the site of the imposing Brihadeeswara temple. It was built by Raja Raja Chola.
To the south of Tiruchi is the renowned temple town, Madurai that houses the famous Meenakshi temple. To the north, just 10 km away, is Srirangam. It is a hallowed place of pilgrimage for all followers of the Vaishnavite faith. The 13th-century shrine dedicated to Lord Ranganatha here was renovated with a new gopuram of truly awesome proportions-soaring through 13 tiers to over 70 m, the tallest temple tower in Asia. It has the mammoth reclining figure of Ranganatha.
This 12th-century temple is built in the commemoration of a sage who, it is believed, took the form of a jambu (Syzigium cumini) tree in order to provide shade over the Shiva lingam. The temple was named Jambukeswaram after the jambu tree. This jambu tree still stands, rising right in the middle of the build-up inner sanctum, and myth has it that it is several hundred years old.
The airport in Tiruchirappalli is 5 km from Srirangam. Regular flights connect it with Chennai, Sharjah, Kuwait and Colombo. Tiruchi is an important junction on the Southern Railway connecting Chennai, Thanjavur, Madurai, Tirupati, Tuticorin and Rameswaram. The city is also connected by road with important cities of South India.