Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple or Thiruvarangam is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ranganatha, a form of Hindu deity Vishnu, located in Srirangam island, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India . The temple has been built in Dravidian style of architecture and has a huge campus. Srirangam is one of the eight self-manifested shrines (Swayam Vyakta Kshetras) of Lord Vishnu . It is also considered the first, foremost and the most important among the 108 main Vishnu temples. This temple is also known by other names such as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Periyakoil, Bhoologa Vaikundam, Bhogamandabam.
Below is a Srirangam temple photo from aerial view.Several more Srirangam temple images can be downloaded from internet. Srirangam temple videos too can be seen or downloaded from youtube.
The temple complex is 156 acres in extent and has 7 enclosures. There are 21 magnificent towers in all enclosures which provides a unique sight to all the visitors. The temple stands on an island which is formed by the twin rivers Cauvery and Coleroon. Its location, on an island has made it vulnerable to natural disasters as well as to the invading armies – Muslim and European – which repeatedly took possession of the site for military purposes. Inside the temple there is also a separate temple for godess Andal. The temple premises also have a museum,a library and also some book shops.
Their is an annual 21 day festival held during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December–January) which attracts almost 1 million visitors because of which Srirangam temple is often listed as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world.
Srirangam Temple History :
According to the legends, Lord Rama, who himself was an Avatar of Vishnu, worshiped the idol of Ranganatha for a long time. When he returned victoriously from Sri Lanka after destroying Ravana, he gave it to King Vibhishana as a token of appreciation for the Vibhishana’s support for Rama against his own brother, Ravana.
When Vibhishana was going to Sri Lanka via Trichy he was carrying the idol with him, but there was a condition that he cannot put the idol on earth ,and if he did the idol would stay at the same place and could not be moved. While passing through Srirangam, Vibhishana thought of stopping there and taking a little rest and see the brahmotsavam that was going on there and he placed the idol on banks of river Cauvery. After performing his regular puja and having rest when he tried to lift the idol, it simply won’t move. The deity told Vibhishana that he wanted to stay in at the same place as Ranganatha as he liked the place and also wanted to see the utsavam further,and the same place was later named Srirangam
According to another legend, Lord Ranganatha was captivated by the devotion of a King called Dharma Varma, who wanted to have Lord Ranganatha to permanently stay in Srirangam. Lord Ranganatha stayed in the same position and promised the king that he will cast his benign glance eternally on Lanka. This is the reason that the deity (in a reclining posture) faces South.
As the time passed by, the location where the Ranganathan idol was placed was covered by an overgrowth of forest, due to disuse of that place. After a very long time, a Chola king while chasing a parrot, accidentally found the idol. He then established the Ranganathaswamy temple as one of the largest temple complexes in the world. There are also a number of temples nearby Srirangam which include Rockfort temple, Vayalur Murugan temple,Samayapuram Mariamman temple, Uraiyur Vekkali Amman temple etc.
According to historians, most dynasties that ruled the South—Cholas, Pandiyas, Hoysalas, Nayaks—assisted in the renovation of this temple. Even during the periods of internal conflicts amongst them,these dynasties, gave importance to the safety and maintenance of these temples. It is said that a Chola king presented the temple with a golden serpent couch, which is the reason that the idol is enshrined in a reclining position on a huge golden serpent. Some historians identify this king with Rajamahendra Chola, supposedly the son of Rajendra Chola.
How To Reach The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple :
Srirangam or Thiruvarangam (in Tamil) ,which was previously also known as Vellithirumutha gramam,is a an island in Trichy district of Tamilnadu between the rivers Cauvery and kollidam. Ranganathaswamy is among the temples which are always crowded by devotees. The number of devotees in the temple increases during festivals like Vaikuntha Ekadashi held in the tamil month of Marghazi. Rameshwaram temple timings are everyday from 4:30 am to 1 pm and 3:30 pm to 8 pm.
Srirangam lies approximately 8 kms to the north of Tiruchirapalli or what we better know as Trichy.There are a number of options available in order to reach Srirangam from Trichy.
The nearest airport to Srirangam is Tiruchirapalli International airport. Trichy airport is well connected to Chennai,Mumbai,Bangalore, Singapore, Dubai, Kuwait, Malasiya and Abudhabi.
Srirangam railway station can be easily reached through Chennai through any major train travelling in Chennai- Kanyakumari railway track and the journey takes apprximately 5 hours to cover this distance of 320 kms.
There are also many trains running between Trichy to Srirangam. These trains take approximately 45 minutes to travel from Ponmalai railway station to Srirangam railway station.
Srirangam can also be reached through bus service. Trichy Central bus stand has direct services to most parts of Tamilnadu. One can avail local buses,taxi,auto rickshaw to reach Srirangam.
Tourist Bus Services are available from Central Bus stand and also from Chinthamani Main Guard Gate Bus stand which are both situated in Trichy. Taxis and auto rickshaws are also available from these destinations at reasonable rates for Srirangam.
Route number 1 of city bus runs between Srirangam and Central bus stand. There is a bus in every 5 minutes and the bus service is available round the clock providing round the clock services to the visitors to reach Srirangam.
Staying In Tiruchirappalli :
There are a number of luxury as well as budget hotels available in Srirangam for tourists and visitors. One can also stay in Trichy and can travel to Srirangam the next day using bus,taxi or auto rickshaw. Most of the hotels also has the option of e booking,which provides the facility of booking rooms before visiting the place. It also has a lot of dharmshalas which provides lodging to the visitors at very reasonable rates.