Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is located in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu. It is devoted to Lord Vishnu. There are mainly three gods in Hindu namely Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Each plays a major role in living. Lord Brahma is the one who has created this universe, Lord Shiva is known as a destroyer of the universe and Lord Vishnu is known for his preserver and protects the universe from being destroyed and keeps it going. Sri Ranganathaswamy is one of eight self-originated shrines of Lord Vishnu. It is one of the largest complex temples in the world.
Information About Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
|Main deity||Ranganatha (Vishnu)|
|Location||Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India|
|Creators||Early Cholas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, Vijayanagara Empire|
About Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
It is among the top 3 largest temples in the world. The Sri Ranganathaswamy temple is spread in a complex way and occupies an area of 156 acres or 631,000 sqm.
The History of the Temple
Srirangam is an attractive island formed by the division of the majestic Kaveri River which is in the Tiruchirapalli region (also known as Trichy) of Tamil Nadu. Srirangam is famous as a temple town.
It is the believed that temple was built in the 3rd century B.C. by Chola King, Dharma Varma. However, there was a flood in the Kaveri River which destroyed the temple ‘vimanam’. The temple was re-built by Chola King, Killivalavan, which is the structure that we see today. Going beyond textual history, there are stone inscriptions that date back to 1 millennium CE. The inscriptions talk about various dynasties like Chole, Pandya, Hoysala, and Vijayanagar which had ruled this area between the 9th to 16th centuries,
Significance of the Temple
This Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Bhoologa Vaikundam, Bhogamandabam and
Periyakoil. The temple architecture has around 108 deities in a different form from Lord Vishnu.
The idol of Lord Vishnu is one of the eight ‘syambhoo kshetras’ (self-originated) and is very
attractive because of the crafting use of stucco (mix of lime, mortar and stone) and thailam, honey, jaggery, camphor, sandal and paste made of musk.
The Legends Associated with the Temple
There are two major legends associated with the temple. The first legend goes back to the time of ‘Sagar-Manthan (Churning of the ocean). One of the articles that emerged was a Srirangam Vimanan, which remained with gods for a long time. The suryavanshi king from Ayodhya, King Ikshvaku from it brought it from there. One of his ancestors, Lord Rama gave it to Vibhishan, Who became the king of Lanka after Raavan’s death. When Vibhishan was passing with it, he could not move beyond Trichy. So, he decided to gift it to the local king there, named Dharma Varma on one condition that the king would consecrate the Vimanam to face the south cardinal direction eternally, which would bless Lanks always. This is the reason why the deity (in a reclining posture) faces south, while the body is aligned to the east-west axis.
There is another legend. Once 4 child sages went to Baikunth (Lord Vishnu’s abode) to have a darshan of Ranganatha in Srirangam. But they were stopped by guards of Baikunth, ‘Jaya’ and ‘Vijaya’. The sages requested them to allow entry, but they did not allow it. In anger, all sages cursed the guards in one voice and left. When the guards told Vishnu about the curse, Ranganath expressed his inability to revert the curse. But he gave them two options – Either take birth as demons in 3 births, and get killed by Vishnu, or be good humans in 7 births. The guards wanted to unite with Vishnu as early as possible, so they chose to take birth as demons. It is believed that ‘Jaya’ and “Vijaya’ took birth as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu; Raavan and Kumbhakarna; and Shisupal and Dantavakra. In each of their births, they were killed by Varaah, Narasimha, Rama, and Krishna, respectively, all of which are incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Anna-daanam is being performed full day long for devotees. It is made up of two words – “Annam” means food and “daanam” means the act of donating
The Architecture of the Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy temple is constructed in a Dravidian style of architecture and has seven concentric walled portions with 21 tower gates (gopurams). Gopurams are the monumental entrance tower and Sri Ranaganathaswamy is also known as the Raja gopuram because it is the tallest in Asia with a height of 239.5.
It covers a huge area with 5729 feet and upward 237 feet through 11 upwards smaller tiers which are known as the home of twenty-one gopurams and admire for their beautiful carved sculptures. Temple has beautiful 39 pavilions, 50 shrines, many ponds, and the magnificent Sesha Mandapa and ‘Ayiram Kaal Mandapam’ (hall of 1000 pillars). The hall of 1000 pillars however only have 953 pillars carved with comprehensive sculptures of horses trampling upon tigers with the 10 avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu.
There is even a museum featuring fine bronze and ivory carvings and some classic 17th-century figures of gods, demons and kings and queens.
How to Reach Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple?
The nearest railway station is the Srirangam Railway Station which is just 1km away from the temple and Trichy Railway Junction is just 9km away from the temple. It is well connected with the major cities like Chennai (327 km), Madurai (145 km), Coimbatore, Trichy, Thanjavur (62km), Palakkad and Bengaluru halt at the station.
The nearest airport is the Tiruchirappalli International Airport which is 16 km away from the temple and it is well connected with the major cities and counties like Chennai, Dubai, Sharjah, Kuala Lumpur, Bengaluru and Mumbai, Singapore, Dubai, Colombo.
The place is well developed you can travel from your private vehicle or can hire any cab or taxi to reach the temple. There are some more beautiful places nearby the temple.
Best Time to Visit Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
The best time is to visit the temple is during the Ekadashi in the month of December or January, it is the festival of 20 days devotees can part of it any day. Devotees can witness sacred rituals and admire the beauty of the temple.
Mainly Celebrated Festival
Vaikunta Ekadashi: This festival is celebrated in Margazhi (Hindu calendar) in December or January for twenty days. The first ten days are known as Pagal-Pathu (daytime festival) and the rest of ten days is known as Ra-Pathu (night-time festival). The first day of Ra pathu is called Vaikunta Ekadashi.
It is believed that fasting on Ekadashi is considered the holiest compared to other religious festivals. It is considered that on this day Lord Ranganathaswamy is present in the sanctum and blesses the devotees. The whole temple sounds different with eye-catchy decoration.
Sri Jayanthi: This festival is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Shiva and celebrated in April annually.
Chithirai Ther: A nine-day long festival is celebrated as a renovation of the temple from the donation of 17000 gold coins by a Vijayanagara king. It is held in March and April with the Panguni month (Tamil calendar).
Pooja and Darshan timing
The temple has different timing for both the darshan and the aarti; gates open at 6:00 am with Vishwaroopa Seva and remain close for pooja time from 7:15 AM to 9:00 am. People can have darshan only of the holy idol of Lord Ranganathaswamy but, devotees cannot witness pooja of Lord Vishnu up to noon and after that, there is again an aarti performed from 12:00 noon to 1:15 pm.
Only darshan from 1:15 PM to 6:00 PM and devotees can have darshan till 9:00 PM after the last aarti from 6:00 PM to 6:45 PM.
The temple is open throughout the year and timing could change sometimes according to the weather conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Q. 1: How can you have the darshan of the Sri Ranaganathaswamy?
Ans: The entry is free in the temple but still, you can book it online and offline through the official website.
Q. 2: What makes the Sri Ranaganathaswamy temple unique?
Ans: It is one of eight self-originated idols of Lord Vishnu with a very complex architecture in the world and one of the largest temples in Asia.
Q. 3: Are foreigners allowed or not?
Ans: Foreigners are not allowed in the inner temple for visit. The entry is free, however, for a VIP entry you have to pay Rs. 250.
Q.4: What is the best timing for darshan?
Ans: The darshan and aarti timing is different, you cannot do both together and the best timing to have a peaceful darshan is
5:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
Q. 5: What is meant by ‘syambhoo kshetras’?
Ans: It means that in this place Lord Vishnu appeared on his own and the idol is not man-made.