Rockfort temple at Tiruchirapalli, India: Conservation of a sacred landscape

Aparna Raghunathan, Amita Sinha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sacred sites in India are subject to many development pressures. Unlike heritage monuments, cultural and historic landscapes have not been the focus of institutional protection and preservation efforts. Using Rockfort Temple complex at Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, as a case study, we propose that an integrated conservation approach be based upon restoring the natural and spatial archetypes that constitute the landscape vocabulary. A group of excavated and structural temples are located on a hill on the banks of the river Kaveri surrounded by a medieval fort that became the nucleus of urban growth over time. Overwhelming growth of commerce within the last half century has resulted in many problems such as traffic congestion, confusing circulation, and visual chaos, which in turn have led to the loss of sanctity. The structure of the pilgrim landscape constituted by circumambulatory paths, tanks and groves, shrines and temples can be clarified and made legible by minor design interventions such as restoring historic buildings, reviving the holy tanks, planting sacred trees, and building rest pavilions along the pilgrim path.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-504
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006


  • Cultural heritage district
  • Integrated conservation
  • Natural archetype
  • Sacred landscape
  • Spatial archetype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Museology


Dive into the research topics of 'Rockfort temple at Tiruchirapalli, India: Conservation of a sacred landscape'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this