Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam

Ranganathaswamy Temple was one of the very few Vishnu temples, that we went to in Tamil Nadu. We actually only went to 3 Vishnu temples; Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, Azhagar Kovil in Madurai District and Venkateswara Temple in Thirumala (Thirupathi Temple). I only have some pictures of the first temple mentioned.

Ranganathaswamy is one of the most important Vishnu temples, and is located in the town Srirangam, in the district of Trichy/Thiruchirapalli, on an island in the Cauveri/Kaveri River. Trichy was the first town we stayed in during the road-trip in Tamil Nadu, and before going to Srirangam, we went to Uchipillaiyar Temple in Trichy and Jambukeshwarar Temple in Thiruvanaikaval (also on the island) – another post about the temple is coming soon.

Ranganathaswamy Temple is on the top of the 108 Divya Desams, that are temples dedicated to lord Vishnu, that are mentioned in the works of Alvars. Among the 108 temples, 105 are located in Tamil Nadu. The name Divya Desam means “Divine/Premium Place”.

In Souht India, Srirangam is also one of the most illustrous temples, and also has a rich history. It is belived that this is the temple, that is mentioned in the ancient Sangam literature Silapathikaram, as the temple in Srirangam. Besides this, scriptures on the temple are found to be from the 9th-16th centuries AD, by the Chola, Pandya, Hoysala and Vijayanagara Dynasties, who ruled the region in that period. The temple has undergone invasions and raid by Muslim invaders too, and was repaired by the Vijayanagara rulers. Though, the site has been under instability during the past few centuries due to Christiand and Muslim missionaries. The geo-political stability entered with the eastablishment of the Madras Presidency, which opened up to historical and archeological studies.

The temple has 21 gopurams (temple towers), 39 pavillions, 50 shrines and one Aayirankaal Mandapam (hall with thousand pillars). The Aayirankaal Mandapam was constructed during the period of the Vijayanagara rulers, and is made of granite. The Rajagopuram actually remained incomplete for 400 years, and was completed in 1987 by the 44th achary of the Ahobhila Matha, a historic Vaishnava monastery. And I don’t have any pictures of the Rajagopuram.

~ AJ

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