Tiruchirappalli ((tiruccirāppaḷḷi) ; spelt as Trichinopoly in the records of British India), also called Tiruchi or Trichy, is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Tiruchirappalli District. It is the fourth largest municipal corporation and the fourth largest urban agglomeration in the state.
The city is believed to be of significant antiquity and has been ruled, at different times, by the Early Cholas, Early Pandyas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Later Pandyas, Delhi Sultanate, Madurai Sultanate, Vijayanagar Empire, Nayak Dynasty, the Carnatic state and the British. The archaeologically important town of Uraiyur which served as the capital of the Early Cholas is a suburb of Tiruchirappalli. Tiruchirappalli played a critical role in the Carnatic Wars between the British and the French East India companies. The city has a number of historical monuments, the Rockfort, Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam and the Jambukeswarar temple at Thiruvanaikaval being the most prominent among them.
Tiruchirappalli is an important industrial and educational hub of central Tamil Nadu. The factories of Ordnance Factories Board such as Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli and Heavy Alloy Penetrator Project, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Golden Rock Railway Workshops are located in Tiruchirappalli. The National Institutes of Technology (NIT), Indian Institute of Management, Bharathidasan University and Anna University of Technology have their campuses in the city. Tiruuchirappalli is internationally popular for a brand of cheroot known as the Trichinopoly cigar which was exported in large quantities to the United Kingdom in the 19th century.
Tiruchirappalli is administered by a municipal corporation established as per the Tiruchirappalli City Municipal Corporation Act 1994. As of 2001, the city covered an area of 146.70 square kilometres and had a population of 752,066. Tiruchirappalli is well-connected by road, rail and air. There are passenger flight services to destinations in South-East Asia and the Middle East.
Tiruchirappalli is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Tamil Nadu, its earliest settlements dating back to the second millennium BC. Uraiyur, which served as the capital of the Early Cholas from the third century BC to the third century AD is identified by some with a suburb of present-day Tiruchirappalli. The city is mentioned as "Orthoura" by the historian, Ptolemy. The world's oldest surviving dam, the Kallanai, was built by Karikala Chola across the Kaveri River, about from Uraiyur.
When the Chola Empire began to decline, Tiruchirappalli was conquered by the Pandyas who ruled from 1216 until their defeat by Malik Kafur in 1311. The victorious armies of the Delhi Sultanate are believed to have plundered and ravaged the kingdom. The idol of the Hindu god Ranganatha in the temple of Srirangam disappeared at about this time and was not recovered and reinstated until more than fifty years later. Tiruchirappalli was ruled by the Delhi and Madurai sultanates from 1311 to 1378 when it was annexed by the Vijayanagar Empire. Tiruchirappalli remained a part of the Vijayanagar Empire and its successor, the Madurai Nayak kingdom till 1736. It served as the capital of the Madurai Nayak kingdom from 1616 to 1634 and from 1665 to 1736. In 1736, the last Madurai Nayak ruler Meenakshi committed suicide and Tiruchirappalli was conquered by Chanda Sahib. Chanda Sahib ruled the kingdom from 1736 to 1741 when he was captured and imprisoned by the Marathas. Tiruchirappalli was administered by the Maratha general Murari Rao from 1741 to 1743, when it was annexed to the Carnatic kingdom. When the Nawab of the Carnatic, Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah was dethroned by Chanda Sahib in 1751, he fled to Tiruchirappalli and set up his base there. The subsequent siege of Tiruchirappalli by Chanda Sahib took place during the Second Carnatic War between the British East India Company and Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah on one side and Chanda Sahib and the French East India Company on the other. The British were successful in the war and Wallajah was restored to the throne. Tiruchirappalli was invaded by Nanjaraja and Hyder Ali of Mysore kingdom in 1753 and 1780, respectively, but both of these attacks were repulsed by the troops of the British East India Company. A third attempt, by Tipu Sultan, son of Hyder Ali in 1793, ended in a stalemate.
The Carnatic kingdom was annexed by the British in July 1801 as a consequence of the alleged discovery of secret correspondence, during the Anglo-Mysore Wars, between Tipu Sultan, an enemy of the Madras government, and Umdat Ul-Umra, the Nawab at the time. Tiruchirappalli was incorporated into the Madras Presidency, the same year, and the district of Trichinopoly was carved, with the city of Trichinopoly or Tiruchirappalli as its capital.
During the Company Raj and later, the British Raj, Tiruchirappalli emerged as one of the most important cities in India. It was popular throughout the British Empire for its unique variety of cheroot known as the Trichinopoly cigar. 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 Madras Presidency, next only to the capital city of Madras.
In the early 20th century, Tiruchirappalli grew further, achieving a decadal population growth rate of 36.9 per cent during the period 1941–51. However, following India's independence in 1947, Tiruchirappalli has fallen behind other cities as Salem and Coimbatore in terms of growth. As of 2001, Tiruchirappalli was the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu after Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai.