Sacred Srirangam Temple, one of the most important Vaishnavite pilgrim centre
is about 7 km. from Trichy. The island town enclosed within the seven
walls of the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswami Temple is surrounded by the
waters of Kaveri and Kollidam. According to a mythological legend, Vibhishana,
the brother of demon king Ravanna was carrying the temple of’
Ranganatha to Lanka. On the way he stopped here to perform his daily
prayers, lie was supposed to carry the shrine straight away, as the
temple would be firmly rooted as soon as it will be placed on the ground.
Thus Vibhisana asked a small boy playing nearby to hold the shrine till
he finishes with his prayers. In fact, Lord Ganesha had disguised himself’
as a little boy and kept down the shrine and ran away. Vibhishana was
very upset and rapped the boy on the back of his head. It is said that
the Ganesha revealed his identity at the Rock Fort bill in Trichy and
the Uchchi Pillaiyar temple was established at the same point. While
the temple of Sri Ranganatha was permanently located at this point.
The temple covers an area of 600 acres and is the largest temple of
India. It was built between 11th and 17th century and several additions
were made to the complex by the Cholas, Cheras, Pandyas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara
rulers and the Nayaka of Madurai. The13 storied Rajagopuram at the first
wall on the southern side was built in 1987. It rises to a height of
72 meters and is perhaps the tallest in India. Besides Rajagopuram,
there are 20 beautifully decorated gopurams in the temple complex.
The main sanctum with a golden Ranga Vimana is set at the center of
the inner most prakaram and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu as Renganatha.
Ranganatha, the main deity enshrined in the sanctum is depicted reclining
on the serpent Adisesha and flanked by idols of his consorts Bhoodevi
and Sridevi and the small utsavar or festival idol.
Other must see sites in the temple complex are Seshagirirayar Mandapam
with exquisitely carved pillars and the 17th century Krishnavenugopala
temple adorned with sculptures dating back to Vijayanagara period. There
is also a small temple museum exhibiting fine sculptures.
Large number of devotees assembles here for the Vaikunta Ekadasi (December
January) or the Paradise Festival. Au annual Car Festival is held in
January. The idol of the deity is kept in a beautifully decorated wooden
chariot and is pulled through the streets of Srirangam.
Srirangam Renganatha Temple