Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple, Srirangam

The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple or Thiruvarangam is a Hindu temple dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form Shri Vishnu. The temple is located in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is an active Hindu house of worship and follows Thenkalai tradition of Sri Vaishnavism.

Built in : 11th century
Built by: Ramanuja
Dedicated to Bhagwan Vishnu

The temple occupies an area of 155 acres (63 ha) with 50 shrines, 21 towers, 39 pavilions and many water tanks integrated into the complex.

Srirangam temple is often listed as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world. The temple occupies an area of 156 acres (631,000 m²) with a perimeter of 4,116m (10,710 feet) making it the largest temple in India and one of the largest religious complexes in the world. The temple is enclosed by 7 concentric walls (termed prakarams (outer courtyard) or mathil suvar) with a total length of 32,592 feet or over six miles. These temple has 21 gopurams (towers), 39 pavilions, fifty shrines, Ayiram kaal mandapam (a hall of 1000 pillars) and several small water bodies inside. The space within the outer two prakarams (outer courtyard) is occupied by several shops, restaurants and flower stalls. The Hall of 1000 pillars (actually 953) is a fine example of a planned theatre-like structure and opposite to it, “Sesha Mandap”, with its intricacy in sculpture, is a delight.The 1000-pillared hall made of granite was constructed in the Vijayanagara period (1336–1565) on the site of the old temple.

The temple site is on a large island bounded by the Cauvery River and Kollidam River. Its location has rendered it vulnerable to natural disasters as well as the rampaging of invading armies – Muslim and European – which repeatedly commandeered the site for military encampment.

The annual 21 day festival conducted during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December–January) attracts 1 million visitors.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

 

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

 

Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, and It is one of the most illustrious Vaishnava temples in South India rich in legend and history.

Sri_Ranganathaswamy_Temple
Sri_Ranganathaswamy_Temple
Sri_Ranganathaswamy_Temple
Sri_Ranganathaswamy_Temple
Sri_Ranganathaswamy_Temple

 

The main entrance, known as the Rajagopuram (the royal temple tower), rises from the base area of around 5720 and goes up to 237 feet (72 m), moving up in eleven progressively smaller tiers.

Sri_Ranganatha_temple_Srirangapatna

 

The Hall of 1000 pillars (actually 953) is a fine example of a planned theatre-like structure and opposite to it, “Sesha Mandap”, with its intricacy in sculpture, is a delight.The 1000-pillared hall made of granite was constructed in the Vijayanagara period (1336–1565) on the site of the old temple.

the_pillars_of_Srirangam_temple_Tiruchirapalli

The pillars consists of sculptures of wildly rearing horses bearing riders on their backs and trampling with their hoofs upon the heads of rampant tigers, seem only natural and congruous among such weird surroundings.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple The Hall of 1000 pillars
Sesharayar mandapam artwork

 

Mythology

Sriranga Mahathmiyam, for example, is one of the compilation of the temple mythology about its origins. According to it, Brahma was performing austerities during the samudra manthan (churning of cosmic ocean), and Srirangam Vimanam emerged as a result. When Vibhishana passed through Trichy en route to Sri Lanka where he had become the king, the Srirangam Vimanam would not move from the island. So he gave it to a local king called Dharma Varma if the king consecrated the Vimanam to face the south cardinal direction eternally, blessing him and Lanka. Hence it is that the deity (in a reclining posture) faces South, his body aligned to the east-west axis.

An 1870 photo of the gopurams in the temple town

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