Lord Ranganathar (Vishnu)
The Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple or Thiruvarangam is Hindu temple dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu, located in Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India . Constructed in the Tamilian style of architecture, this temple is glorified in the Thiviya Pirabandham, the early medieval Tamil literature canon of the Alwar saints from the 6th to 9th centuries AD and is counted among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu. The temple follows Thenkalai tradition of worship.
According to historians, most of the dynasties who ruled South India - Cholas, Pandya’s, Hoysalas, Nayaks, assisted with renovation and in the observance of the traditional customs. Even during the periods of internal conflicts amongst these dynasties, utmost importance was provided to the safety and maintenance of these temples. It is said that Chola king presented the temple with golden serpent couch. Some historians identify this king with King Rajamahendra Chola, apparently the son of King Rajendra Chola II. It is very interesting to observe that his name never figures in the latter's inscriptions, neither in the 4th year (which shows various members of the family visiting in different regions) nor in the 9th year (which elaborates only one member of the second generation).
During the period of invasion by King Malik Kufuor and his forces in 1310–1311, the Main idol of the Lord Ranganatha was stolen and transported to Delhi. In daring exploit the devotees of Lord Srirangam ventured to Delhi and enthralled the emperor with their histrionics. Moved by their talent, the emperor was pleased and agreed to gift them the presiding deity of Srirangam, which was requested by the performers. Unexpectedly it was learnt that Surathani, kings daughter had fallen in love with the deity and travelled with the Idol of lord to Srirangam. She prostrated herself to the God in front of the sanctum sanctorum and was believed to have attained heavenly abode immediately. Even today painting of "Surathani" (known as Thulukha Nachiyar in Tamil) can be seen in her shrine near the Arjuna Mantap adjacent to the sanctum sanctorum for whom, chapattis (wheat bread) are made daily. The Kalyana utsavam or wedding of Lord Ranganatha with Surathani is performed with great pomp every year.
Having assumed that the magical power of the deity had killed his daughter, there was a more severe second invasion to Srirangam in 1323 AD. The presiding deity was carried away before the Malik Kufuor’s troops reached Srirangam by devotee group led by the vaishnavite Acharya (Guru), Pillai Lokacharyar, who died enroute to Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu. The Goddess Ranganayaki was carried in another separate procession. 13,000 Sri Vaishnava’s, the people of Srirangam had laid down their lives in the fierce battle to ensure that the institution was protected. In the end, one of the Devadasis, danseuse of Srirangam had seduced the army chief in order to save this temple.
After nearly six decades, the presiding deity returned to Srirangam and the same Swami Vedanta Desika, who had built brick wall in front of the sanctum sanctorum, dismantled this wall open. The deity and the priestly wardens wandered southwards towards Madurai, then northeast towards Kerala, Mysore, Tirunarayanapuram, and finally in the hills of Tirumala Tirupathi, where they remained until their reinstatement in 1371.
The Orlov diamond of 189.62 carats (37.924 g). Large diamond which is a part of the collection of the Diamond Fund of the Moscow Kremlin. The origin of this resplendent relic - described as having the shape and proportions of half of a hen's egg. This diamond and similar gem served as the eyes of the deity in the temple. Legends hold that French soldier who had deserted during the Carnatic wars in Srirangam. Mention of the 2nd Carnatic war which was fought in Srirangam disguised himself as Hindu convert devotee and stole this diamond in 1747.
The temple is enclosed by 7 concentric walls (termed Prakarams (outer courtyard) or mathil suvar) with total length of 32,592 feet or over six miles. This temple has 21 Gopurams (towers), 39 pavilions, fifty shrines, Ayiram kaal Mandapam (hall with1000 pillars) and several small water tanks inside. The space within the outer two Prakarams (outer courtyard) is occupied by several shops, restaurants and flower stalls. Non-Hindus are only allowed up to the second Prakarams (outer courtyard) but not allowed inside the Main sanctum sanctorum.
The Vimanam (Temple over the sanctum sanctorum), the Ranga Vimana is shaped in form of Omkara (Om symbol) and is plated with gold. Sri Ranganatha reclines on Adisesha the coiled snake serpent. Adisesha has five hoods and is coiled into three and half rounds. The lord's head rests on a small cylindrical pillow and his right palm which faces upwards rests next to his head. Sridevi or Bhudevi are not present at the feet of the lord. Brahma is not present in the navel. Ranganayaki shrine is in the second precinct of the temple. The common reference to the goddess is padi thaanda pathni, meaning lady who doesn't cross the boundaries of ethics. Literally, the festival deity of Ranganayaki also does not come out of the shrine and it is Ranganatha who visits Ranganayaki. There are three images of Ranganayaki within the sanctum.
The complex houses Temples in numerous incarnations of Lord Vishnu including Chakkarathazhwar, Narasimha, Rama, Hayagreeva and Gopala Krishna. The Chakkarathazhwar temple is east facing on the South side of Akalanka precinct. The sanctum Santorum is approached through a Mukamandapa (six rows of pillars) built during the Kings of Chola Period and Mukamandapa with six rows of eight pillars built during the period of Vijayanagara Empire. There is circumambulatory passage around the sanctum Santorum. The image of Chakkarathazhwar is sculpted with Lord Narasimha on the rear side and can be viewed from the passage around the sanctum Santorum. There are separate Temples for Ranganayaki and the major saints in the Vaishnava tradition, including Ramanujam. The Lord Venugopala Temple is in the south-west corner of the fourth enclosure of the temple is the work of Chokkanatha Nayaks. An inscription of 1674 specifies this Nayaks king as the patron. The exterior of the Vimana and attached mantap (hall) have finely worked pilasters with fluted shafts, double capitals and pendant lotus brackets. Sculptures are placed in the niches of three sides of the sanctuary walls; maidens enhance the walls in between. The elevation is punctuated with secondary set of pilasters which support shallow eaves at different levels to cap larger and smaller recesses. The sanctuary is crowned in the traditional fashion with hemispherical roof. The double-curved eaves of the entrance porch on the east side are concealed in later columned hall. Dhanvantari renowned physician of ancient India is considered to be an avatar of Vishnu – there is separate shrine of Dhanvantari within the temple.
Srirangam Mahathmiyam is the compilation of religious scriptures of the temple which explains the origins and history. Accordingly Lord Rama an Avatar of Vishnu, worshiped the idol extensively, and when he returned victoriously from Sri Lanka after killing Ravana, he offered it to King Vibhushana as token of appreciation for supporting him against his own brother Lord Ravana. When Lord Vibhushana was travelling to Trichy enroute to Sri Lanka, the deity desired to stay in Srirangam. Lord Ranganatha, captivated by the devotion of King called Dharma Varma, who was performing penance to have the Lord Ranganatha permanently stay in Srirangam, who decided to stay at this location, also promising to cast his benevolent gaze eternally on Sri Lanka. Hence the deity of Lord Ranganatha Swamy is facing south. (Is in reclining posture) .As per different hypothesis, lord Vibhushana was carrying the Deity (idol) all the way to his kingdom of Sri Lanka and in midway decided to rest for a while and he placed this Deity/Idol on the banks of river Cauvery. After performing his routine Pooja rituals, he tried to lift this Deity/Idol to Vimana; however he could not lift the same. Mahavishnu appeared to him and said that he desired to stay as Ranganatha in this place, now to be known as Srirangam. Lord Vishnu also desired to watch the Brahmotsavam at Tirucherai. The festivals of the temple are thus considered sacred. It should be noted that in the Valmiki Ramayana reference that Lord Vibhushana received gift from Lord Sri Rama while returning to SriLanka, however does not specify the name of the gift. It is in the parameshvara Samhita which identifies that this gift as the idol of Lord Sri Ranganatha. As per another legend, Sanaka, the four young sages, were trying to worship Ranganatha in Srirangam. They were attempting to enter this Temple, but were not allowed to enter by Jaya and Vijaya, the guardians (Dwarapalakas) of the temple sanctum Santorum. In spite of resistance the sages attempted to enter and were repeatedly stopped. In fit of anger all four of them cursed the guardians in one voice that they would be born as demons on earth. The sages disappeared soon after the curse, leaving the guardians trembling in fear. They approached Lord Vishnu and requested him to propitiate them from this curse. Lord Ranganatha informed that he cannot reverse the curse, however provided them with two options: One to be born as demons opposing Vishnu in three births or good human beings in the following hundred births. The guardians accepted being demons and are believed to have taken birth in form of Hiranyaksha & Hiranyakashupu, Ravana & Kumbakarna and Sisupala & Dantavakra. Vishnu took three avatars to kill these demons in each one of their births.
Dress Code :
Male : Dhoti around waist and Shirt / Towel on the shoulder. Female: Saree or Half saree with blouse or Chudithar with Pyjama and upper cloth.
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Pincode : 620006
The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple or Thiruvarangam is a Hindu temple dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of the Hindu deity Vishnu, located in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India.
24 / 7 Bus Services (Route No. 1) is available from Tiruchirappalli Railways Station / Central Bus Stop / Chatiram Bus Stop.
By Road :
Tiruchirappalli is well connected with Road, Rail and Air Routes.
“Rent a Car” facility is available from Trichy Railway Station / Bus Stand / Air Port.
By Rail :
Srirangam Temple is located 9 Km. from Tiruchirappalli Rail Junction
Srirangam Temple is located 0.5 Km. from Srirangam Railway Station.
By Air :
Srirangam Temple is located 15 Km. from Tiruchirappalli Air Port
Special Entry for the Physically Challenged
1. Persons who are physically / mentally challenged, aged or terminally ill and who cannot walk will be allowed for Darshan through special entrance at Sanctum. One dependant will be allowed along with them.
2. Battery car is in service for physically challenged and aged persons inside the temple premises at free of cost.