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Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy Temple in Island of Kaveri

Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy:Tiruchy was originally known as Tiruchirappalli. It is on the bank of the river Cauvery.
Tiruchy is a one of the important place of heritage and tradition. Most famous
Landmark is Srirangam and Rock fort. In the puranas Ramayana is closely related to
the Tiruchy place. Then, in the historical day, Woraiyur was the capital city of
Cholas. So many Tourist spot and temples are in and round Tiruchy.
Srirangam has the distinction of housing the first of the eight shrines of Lord Vishnu.
These self-manifested temples are known as Swayam Vyakta Kshetras in Hindu
mythology. This shrine of Lord Vishnu at Srirangam is not only the first among the lot
but is also considered the main shrine of all the 108 temples dedicated to Lord
Vishnu. This Vishnu shrine is huge in size and has been built over an area of 156 acres.
The setting of the temple is also unique; the temple has been constructed in an island
created by the rivers Kaveri and Coleroon. There are seven enclosures in the temple,
and the devotees make it a point to walk through all the enclosures that are referred
to as prakaras in local language. The enclosures consist of thick and enormous walls
that run in a circular pattern around the sanctum. The enclosures have 21 towers that
stand out majestically. The entire structure of the enclosures is an architectural
marvel.
According to Sri Vaishnava philosophy, the eight Svayam Vyakta Ksetras of Lord Vishnu
are Srirangam, Srimushnam, Venkatadri, Saligram, Naimisaranyam, Totadri, Pushakara
and Badrinath Temple.
Trichy Srirangam Temple is also known by the names Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Periyakoil,
Bhoologa Vaikundam and Bhogamandabam. Sri Ranganatha Temple at Srirangam lies
on an island, enclosed by the Kaveri River and Kollidam River. Lord Vishnu is enshrined
as Ranganatha - the reclining position of Lord Vishnu over the Shesha Nag (serpent
Adisesha). It is believed that this is the form in which Lord Mahavishnu is open to
listening to all of his devotee's woes, and blesses them. Lord Ranganatha or
Ranganathar is also called by various names such as Nam-Perumal and Azhagiya
Manavalan by the devotees.
Dedicated to Lord Ranganatha, Sri Rangam Temple is a major shrine that receives
millions of visitors and pilgrims every year. Lord Ranganatha is a reclining form of Lord
Vishnu on the Shesha Nag. Sri Rangam Temple is also known as Sri Ranganathar Kovil.
In the Tamil Language, "Kovil" stands for temple and it is used by many Vaishnavites.
The presiding deity of Lord Ranganatha is extolled by various names like Nam-Perumal
and Azhagiya Manavalan by his devotees.
Apart from the main shrine of Ranganathar, the temple has several shrines dedicated

to various forms of Lord Vishnu like Sakrathazhvar, Narasimha and Rama. In the
company of these, there are numerous shrines that are dedicated to some of the
renowned saints of the Vaishnava cult. From morning to evening, the temple observes
various worship rituals every day. People from all over the globe come to Srirangam
Mandir to pay their obeisance to the Lord.
Divyadesams are those temples where the alwars have sung songs or pasurams in
praise of the presiding deity. All of them together form the naal ayiram divya
prabandam. Sri Ranganatha temple of Srirangam is the first among the 108
divyadesams of Sri Vaishnavas and one of the oldest temples. It is a part of the choza
naadu divyadesams. It is spread over an area of 156 acres and has 7 prakarams with
21 gopurams. There are huge walls surrounding the periya kovil. In the main sannadhi
is Lord ranganatha in a reclining pose on the serpent bed. The utsavar in the main
sannadhi is known as Namperumal. The temple is also called Booloka Vaikuntam.
The seven streets in the 7 prakarams are called
1) Dharma Varman Thiruchuttru
2) Raja Mahendran thiruveedhi
3) Kulasekaran Thiruveedhi
4) Aalinaadan Thiruveedhi
5) Agalangan Thiruveedhi
6) Thiru vikraman thiruveedhi
7) Chitthirai Thiruveedhi
Sthalapuranam of srirangam:Srirangam is one of the eight Svayamvrutha Kshetram:Many years ago, lord Brahma performed penance on lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu, by
seeing lord Brahma's devotion, appeared in front of him and gave an option to ask for
a boon (varam). Lord Brahma, being a pure devotee, asked for an idol of 'shree
ranganaadhar' (the sleeping posture of lord Vishnu on Adhi shEsha) for his worship. So
lord Vishnu granted the boon.

Many years after this, ikshvaaku the forefather of raghu dynasty, performed a very
long penance on lord Brahma. So lord Brahma was pleased with the king ikshvaaku's
devotion and gave an option to ask for a boon. So king ikshvaaku asked for Sri
Ranganathar's idol which Brahma had and he was worshipping. But still lord Brahma
gave that Sri Ranganathar's idol to King ikshvaaku, since the penance was sincere
So Sri Ranganathar's idol was passed to his descendants and at last came in to the
hands of king dhasharatha and finally to his son Sri Rama. Hence the idol was
worshipped by the entire raghu dynasty and finally stayed at Sri Rama's hands.

After the completion of war between Sri Rama and Ravana, VibheeShana and all
other accompanied Rama in VibheeShana's Pushpaka Vimaanam, Then Sri Rama'
Coronation took place. In the End shree Rama asked vibheeShana to request a boon
since he was his devotee
Now it was shree VibheeShana's turn. He took the chance and asked the idol of shree
ranganaadhar, which was worshipped by shree Rama himself. shree Rama granted his
wish and handed over shree ranganaadhar idol by warning that if the idol should not
be kept down until he reaches Sri Lanka . If he places it down then , it will remain
there itself.
When shree vibheeShana was taking the idol to sri Lanka, he wanted to perform
sandhya vandhanam, as it was evening. By that time he was in Srirangam and on the
banks of river kaaveri And Kollidam. And then appeared lord Vigneshwar in the
disguise of a cowherd boy, and stood in front of vibheeShana. By seeing the cowherd
boy, shree vibheeShana requested him to hold the idol until he finishes the sandhya
vandhanam, and he should not keep it down. The cowherd accepts and puts a
condition that if he is not able to hold the idol due to its weight then he will call
vibheeShana three times . And after calling three times , and if vibheeShana doesn't
come, he will place the idol down. Our cowherd boy calls shree VibheeShana's name 3
times continuously and immediately places shree ranganaadhar idol on the banks of
river kaaveri.
vibheeShaNar becomes so anger on our cowherd boy and tries to hit him. But the
cowherd boy ran and sat on top of the near by small hillock and takes his own form
-Vigneshwar, vibheeShana chases and , hits on the head of Vigneshwars head, where
even now we can see a slight bump on Vigneshwars idol there (uchchi pillayaar koil).
shree vibheeShana returns to the place where shree ranganaadhar idol was placed and
felt very sad that he was not able to even lift the idol from that place. At that time,
Sri Rangarajar appeared before him and said that whatever has happened is for the
sake of world's good and there is no need to worry and also shree ranganaadhar says
that though he is in this Bhartha kandam, he will be watching his land - sri lanka. And
every day it is said vibheeShana comes to Srirangam in the night to do pooja and
returns to Lanka in the morning.
A chola ruler by name Dharmavarma is said to have created a temple here.
Among the Alwars Thondaradippodi Alwar did Nandavana Pushpa Kanikaryam and Our
Thirumangai Alwar also known as Kaliyan did Thiru Madill Kanikaryam.
Here Kavi Chakravarthi Kambar did the Ramayana Arangentram in the Mandapam,
Then Azagiasingar ( Narasimha Murthy) He is said to have blessed him, this Metu
Azagiasingars Sannidhi is near Thayar Sannidhi .

It is the place where Lord Ranganatha Conferred the tittle of Udayavar to Bhagavan
Ramanuja. It is the same place where Swami Desikan was Conferred the Kavitharki
Simham and Sarvathantra Swathantrar.
It is the place where Manavala Ma Munigal was asked by Nam Perumal to do the
Thiruvai Mozi Kalashepam , then Nam Perumal came in form of a child and recited Sri
Saila Dayapatram Dhaniyan on Manavala Munigal.
History of Sri Ranganathar Temple:-

Srirangam is the foremost of the eight self-manifested shrines (Swayam Vyakta


Kshetras) of Lord Vishnu . It is also considered the first, foremost and the most
important of the 108 main Vishnu temples (Divyadesams). This temple is also known
as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Periyakoil, Bhoologa Vaikundam, Bhogamandabam. In the
Vaishnava parlance the term "KOIL" signifies this temple only. The temple is enormous
in size. The temple complex is 156 acres in extent. It has seven prakaras or
enclosures. These enclosures are formed by thick and huge rampart walls which run
round the sanctum. There are 21 magnificent towers in all prakaras providing a
unique sight to any visitor. this temple lies on an islet formed by the twin rivers
Cauvery and Coleroon.
The temple of Sri Ranganathaswami at Srirangam boasts an historic past of great
kingdom and a civilization thousands of years old. The reign of the Pallavas was
marked by the creation of a solid religious foundation, for example the
encouragement given by the dynasty appears to have contributed to the growth of
Aryan institutions in Southern India more particularly in the Carnatic. Cholas reigned
for about three hundred years over the Coromandel Coast and the greater part of
Eastern Deccan, where they helped an advanced Hindu Culture to flourish.
The cholas were defeated in the thirteen century by the Pandyas of Madurai and
Hoysalas of Mysore. Hoysalas had taken particular interest in the building of the
Temple of Srirangam, leaving behind both the inscriptions and buildings. The Hoysalas
were then driven away by the Pandyas in the early part of fourteenth Century. Later,
the Mohammedans began frequently raiding the Deccan facing strong resistance from
the Hindu Kingdom, which was established in Vijayanagar in 1336. The Kingdom
maintained its independence until 1565.
During this time, the Europeans had appeared in the south of India. In the sixteenth
century a number of foreign travelers and traders passed through but taking least
interest in the hinterland except for the routes it provided for their trade with the
Kingdom of Vijayanagar. In 1600, the English East India Company was formed, and
1664 the French company.
In 1680, King Aurangazeb (1658-1707), launched a campaign in western Deccan. After

long sieges and a great loss of life, the fortress cities of Bijapur and Golconda fell to
him, and the campaign lasted until his death.
In Europe, however, the war of Austrian succession set the English and the French at
each others throats. Duplex captured Madras (1746), which was given back to the
English two years later. The French were forced to surrender in 1752 and Duplex was
disavowed and recalled in 1754.
In 1760, a further French attempt, led by Lally-Tollendal, was unsuccessful and the
French trading post was dismantled in 1763. From then on, the English Company
gradually annexed the whole of the territory of India. Though the French came near
to victory, later on they were defeated in 1798 by the English led by Wellessley and
who invaded Mysore and in 1799 captured the fortress of Srirangapatnam. There after
all of the Southern India came under the supremacy of England. The Carnatic was
included in the direct administration of the Madras Presidency where it remained.
Legend:In Srirangam, myths, legends and history are inextricably blended into apocryphal
stories, which the residents tell you as you walk down the corridors of the enormous
temple. At one spot, for instance, there are five strange holes drilled into the solid
stone floor, in front of a pair of elegantly carved feet.
Once, the story goes, Ranganatha decided to dress himself as Thayar and appear
before his devotees because he wanted to understand why people only appealed to
him through his wife. As he came down the corridor, dressed like a woman, Thayar is
said to have stood in that corner of the passage hidden by the wall. As he neared, she
inserted her fingers into those holes for grip and bent to peer around the wall to
watch him coming.
The Lord of Srirangam has been endowed with some very human traits, which make it
easier for the devotees to identify with him. During festive celebrations, for example
a unique quarrel is enacted between the Lord and Thayar at the Woraiyur temple
close by.
According to legend it is said that weeks before the day, which had been fixed for
their marriage, Sriranga (Ranganatha) was nowhere to be seen. Thayar, heard stories
of his wandering around, meeting other women and so, when he finally appeared on
their wedding day, she became very angry and threw out all the fruit and butter and
eatables prepared for the feast. He, however, finally pacified her and convinced her
that he had only gone hunting and that a wild animal made the scratches on his back.
About Temple:The gigantic temple of Sri Ranganatha, occupying 613,000 sq meters (156 acres), is
the pride of this island. It has seven prakaras or enclosures. These enclosures are
formed by thick and huge rampart walls which run round the sanctum. The temple

has a number of firsts to its credit, the latest being the 73 metre (240 feet) tall, 13
tiered Rajagopuram, built in the 1980s, said to weigh nearly 25,000 tonnes. There are
20 other gopurams in this temple complex, and as many shrines. For Vaikunda
Yekaadesi pilgrims come from all over the World, its a 20 days celebration.
Srirangam is the foremost of the eight self-manifested shrines (Swayam Vyakta
Kshetras) of Lord Vishnu.

At the rear end is the shrine of the divine consort, Sri Ranganayaki. There are a
number of shrines in the huge courtyard, including one for Sri Rama and another for
Vibishana. A side entrance leads to another massive courtyard, at the end of which is
yet another towering gopuram. The various vahanas for the annual Brahmotsavam are
kept in a mandapam here. The pillars in the mandapam are rich with sculptures. The
front of the mandapam is embellished with those Vijayanagar Nayak specialty
horsemen fighting lions. So detailed are the sculptures that the craftsmen have left
nothing to the imagination. The carvings above and below this tapestry in stone are
equally rich in detail. The base depicts women in various postures. One of the pillars
shows a rider, with the horse reared up, while below are a number of foot soldiers.

It is said that this is the only temple in India to have seven prakaras. The seven
prakaras (enclosures), represent the seven centers of yoga the seven elements that
make up the human body, at the heart of which is the soul. The seventh is the outer
wall, more like a fort, built in the aftermath of the Islamic invasion. The Sri
Venugopala Krishanan shrine is in the fourth court. The walls are adorned with
carvings of women in various attire. There is also a museum here. To the couth is the
Sesharayar Mandapam, opposite of which is the 1000 pillared hall, which has exquisite
sculptures of gods and goddesses, alwars and acharyas. In the first prakaram dwells
the Lord in his famous reclining posture. The moolavar faces south. He goes by
several names, though He is famously known here as Sri Ranganathaswamy.

This Srirangam temple, as well as the Jambukeswaram shrine, suffered terrible


blows during the Muslim invasions of the 14th century. The first one was in 1311 by
that iconoclast general of the Khiljis, Malik Kafur. The second one was in 1323 under
Ulugh Khan (the later Mohammed Bin Thuglak), the son of Ghiyasuddin Thuglak. The
two Muslim raids crippled the temple to such an extent that worship ceased. The
1323 invasion was particularly devastating. Worship was restored only in 1371 when
the forces of Vijayanagar stormed the temple complex. From then on for the next
350 years the Vijayanagar kings and the Nayaks lavished their riches on the temple,
which has been hailed as Bhoolaka Vaikuntam (Heaven on Earth). Many are the savants
and saints who have sung in praise of this deity.

Shrines:The vimanam (shrine over the sanctum sanctorum), the Ranga vimana is shaped like
omkara (om symbol) and is plated with gold. Sri Ranganthar reclines on Adisesha, the
coiled serpent, and at his feet sits Ranganayaki. Images of Vibhishana, Brahma,
Hanuman, Garuda, the symbols of Vishnu conch and discuss are seen inside the
sanctum. Ranganayaki shrine is in the second precint 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 Ranganthar who visits Ranganayaki. There are three images
of Ranganayaki within the sanctum.
The complex houses shrines of dozens of forms of Vishnu including Chakkarathazhwar,
Narasimha, Rama, Hayagreeva and Gopala Krishna. There are separate shrines for
Ranganayaki and the major saints in the Vaishnava tradition, including Ramanuja. The
Venugopala shrine in the south-west corner of the fourth enclosure of the temple is
the work of Chokkanatha Nayak. An inscription of 1674 specifies this Nayak king as the
patron. The exterior of the vimana and attached mandap (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 that
support shallow eaves at different levels to cap larger and smaller recesses. The
sanctuary is crowned in the traditional fashion with a hemisphrical roof. The doublecurved eaves of the entrance porch on the east side are concealed in a later
columned hall. Dhanvantari, a great physician of ancient India is considered to be an
incarnation of Vishnu there is a separate shrine of Dhanvantari within the temple.
Halls:Hall of 1000 pillars with sculptures of riding horses
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.[according to whom?] The 1000-pillared hall made of granite was constructed
in the Vijayanagara period (13361565) on the site of the old temple. 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. The great hall is traversed by one wide
aisle in the centre for the whole of its greater length, and intersected by transepts of
like dimension running across at right angles. There still remain seven side aisles on
each side, in which all the pillars are equally spaced out.The Garuda Madapa (hall of
the legendary bird deity of Vishnu, garuda) located on the south side of the third

enclosure is another Nayak addition. Courtly portrait sculptures, reused from an


earlier structure, are fixed to the piers lining the central aisle. A free-standing shrine
inside the hall contains a large seated figure of garuda; the eagle-headed god faces
north towards the principal sanctum. The Kili mandapa (Hall of parrot) is located next
to the Ranganatha shrine, in the first enclosure of the temple. Elephant balustrades
skirt the access steps that ascend to a spacious open area. This is bounded by
decorated piers with rearing animals and attached colonettes in the finest 17thcentury manner. Four columns in the middle define a raised dais; their shafts are
embellished with undulating stalks. The most artistically interesting[according to
whom?] of the halls that the Nayaks added to the complex is the Sesha Mandap on the
east side of the fourth enclosure. The hall is celebrated for the leaping animals
carved on to the piers at its northern end.
Gopurams:Vellai gopurams(tower):There are 21 gopurams (tower gateways), among which the towering 236-feet
Rajagopuram (shrine of the main gateway) is the second tallest temple tower in Asia.
The 73m high 13- tiered rajagopuram was built in 1987 by Ahobila Mutt and dominates
the landscape for miles around, while the remaining 20 gopurams were built between
the 14th and 17th centuries. The gopurams have pronounced projections in the middle
of the long sides, generally with openings on each of the successive levels. The Vellai
gopura (white tower) on the east side of the fourth enclosure has a steep pyramidal
superstructure that reaches a height of almost 44m.
Rajagopuram (Main tower):The structure of the rajagopuram remained incomplete at the base ('kalkaram', 17
meters high), for over 400 years. Started during the reign of Achyuta Deva Raya of
Vijayanagar, the construction was given up after the king's death and apparently was
not resumed owing to some political preoccupations or crisis. The Rajagopuram (the
main gopuram) did not reach its current height of 73 m. until 1987, when the 44th
Jeer of Ahobila Mutt initiated the process with the help of philanthropists and others.
The whole structure was constructed in a span of eight years. The Rajagopuram was
consecrated on 25 March 1987. The length and breadth at the base of the
Rajagopuram is 166 feet and 97 feet, while the length and breadth at the top is 98
feet and 32 feet. Befitting the gargantuan dimensions of the structure, every one the
13 glistening copper 'kalasams' atop the tower weighs 135 kg and measures 3.12m
(height) by 1.56m (diameter).