Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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Tiruchirappalli District, Tamil Nadu



Famous for its Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple

Best time to Visit


Throughout the year

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Located just 7 km from Tiruchirappalli district in Tamilnadu State, Srirangam is a pilgrim center famous for its great temples; the Ranganatha Temple and the Jamukeeshvara Temple. Lesser shrines and numerous tanks dot this island. Surrounded by the Kaver River on one side and its tributary Kollidam on the other, it is a 600 acre island town enclosed within the seven walls of the historic Sri Ranganathaswami Temple.

Srirangam island is also known as a centre for religious philosophy and learning. The great Vaishnava acharya Ramanuja taught and wrote in the Srirangam School during the 11th century. It is considered as the capital of vaishnavas.

Sri Ranganathaswami Temple, also called as "Boologa Vaikuntam', is dedicated to Vishnu, reclining on the cosmic serpent. Originally, there was just a small shrine where the temple is today, but it was added onto and expanded by dynasties including the cheras, Pandyas,Cholas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagar Empire between 13th and 18th centuries and today, Srirangam stands as the biggest temple complex in the country. Eventhough, the temple has suffered many attacks by Moghal kings, it still stands without loosing its beauty and fame.

Covers an area of 2.5 sq.km, the temple is notable for the gemetric clarity of its plan. Laid out in a series of seven rectangluar enclosures defined by high walls. It has seven concentric walls and 22 gopurams with a north to south orientation. There are 21 gopurams, among which the Rajagopuram is the largest in South India. The 72 m high 13 tiered gopuaram was built in 1987 and dominated the landscape for miles around, while the remaining 20 gopurams were built between the 14th and 17th centuries. Outside the temple complex, there is a large square tank situated west. This is used for annual Chithirai Car festival ceremonies at festival time in February. The Amman Mandapa on the bank of the Kaveri River, leads to a bathing ghat. It was originally built by one of the Maduria Queens.

During the annual Chithirai Car festival , thousands of devotees from different parts of the State visits this temple. The other main festival is Vaikuntha Ekadasi Festival which held in December. As part of the ongoing 21-day festival, the festival deity Namperumal, attired in 'Rathina Angi' (dress made of Rubies and precious stones), would be taken out of the sanctum sanctorum during the small hours and pass through the 'Paramapada Vaasal' (gateway to Heaven) followed by thousands of devotees.

The other famous temple at Srirangam is Sri Jambukeswara Temple. It is situated about 2.5 km east of the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple. It has an interior with a large central court, an excellent example of the Dravidian architecture of A D 1600. The rampant dragons, elaborate foliated brackets and royal Nayak portraits are incorporated to its courtyards pillars.