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Srirangam
 


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Srirangam (Sri Rangam) is located 2 km north of Tiruchirappalli. The main deity is Lord Ranganatha, or Lord Vishnu, reclining on Sesa Naga. This temple is the foremost of the eight self-manifested shrines of Lord Vishnu (Swayam Vyakta Ksetras). It is also considered the most important of the 108 main Vishnu temples (Divya Desams). This temple is a highly recommended place to visit. It was sung about by all the Alwars (the Tamil Vaishnava saints), except Madhurakavi.

 

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The main deity is Lord Ranganatha, or Lord Vishnu, reclining on Sesa Naga. He is 6.4 m (21 ft) long. Lord Ranganatha is in a recumbent pose with his right shoulder facing south. He is on a couch provided by the coils of the celestial serpent Adi Sesa, who has five raised and wide-open hoods. Near his feet are seated his two consorts, Sri Bhu and Sri Neela.

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In front of Lord Ranganatha is the utsava-murti of Lord Vishnu, called Sri Manavala Perumal. This deity is taken out of the temple for processions. Along side Lord Ranganatha is Tiruvaranga, who was worshiped as a substitute during the Muslim period, when the original could not be found. At the feet of the Lord is Vibhi-shana, the brother of Ravana.

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The deity of Sri Ranganatha was first worshiped by Lord Brahma. The deity was later given to King Ikshvaku to worship, and he brought the deity to his capital, Ayodhya. Eventually Lord Rama worshiped Sri Ranganatha. When Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana, came to Ayodhya, he requested permission to take Sri Ranganatha to his capital in Lanka to worship. He was allowed to do so on the condition that if he placed the deity on the ground, he would not be able to move the deity from that spot. Vibhishana agreed and proceeded to carry the deity south to Sri Lanka. On his way he placed the deity on the ground at Srirangam, on the bank of the Chandra Pushkarani tank.

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Since that time Sri Ranganatha has stayed at Srirangam. It is said that the deity faces south, instead of the traditional east, so as to face Vibhishana in Sri Lanka, to grace him and his kingdom. The sanctum (altar) faces south and the main entrance is also from the south (normally it is from the east). It is believed that Vibhishana goes to Srirangam every 12 years to worship the Lord.

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Above the main altar is the Sriranga-vimana (golden tower). On the four sides of the Ranga vimana are carvings of four forms of Lord Vishnu. On the south side is Para-Vasudeva, on the west is Acyuta, on the north Ananda, and on the east Govinda.

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The innermost enclosure is the sanctum of Sri Ranganatha. It is square inside, but circular outside. The steps of the sanctum are named after Kulasekhara Alwar. On the upper parts of the walls are paintings that are about three centuries old. They depict the 108 important Vaishnava Divya Desam temples.

three times bigger image in new window Jay and Vijay guarding the entrance.
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Sri Chaitanya, Sri Vallabha-carya, and from personalities of today the Dalai Lama visited this temple.

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In the southwest corner is the storeroom of the temple's treasures. Amongst the large amount of golden items owned by the temple is a gold vessel given by King Edward VII of England in 1875.

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The Srirangam Temple is the largest temple in India. The temple complex covers 21 sq km or 155 acres. It is on a 600 acre island surrounded by the rivers Kaveri and Kolladam (Coleroon). After Tirupati, this is the second most visited Vaishnava temple in South India.

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Temple Design:
There are seven walls (prakaras) around the temple.

three times bigger image in new window The temple has 21 gopurams (towers). The main southern entrance 13- storey gopuram, called Raja-gopuram, is the largest in India. It was finished in 1987 and is 72m (235 feet) high. The passage under this tower is about 30m (100 ft) long.
three times bigger image in new window The other gopurams were built between the 14th and 17th century.
three times bigger image in new window One of the temple tanks.
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The Shehsaraya Mandapa (Horsecourt Hall) is on the east side of the temple.

three times bigger image in new window It has 8 intricately carved monolithic pillars of men on rearing horses.
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On the same side of the temple (northeast side) is the impressive "Hall of a Thousand Pillars." Each of the 5.5m (18 ft) granite pillars is intricately carved. This hall actually has only 953 pillars. In the center of the hall is a pedestal shaped like a processional car. During Vaikuntha Ekadasi, the processional deity is brought to this pedestal before going on procession.

three times bigger image in new window Each morning at 6.45 am, a cow with her head facing away from Lord Ranganatha and an elephant facing the cow are brought before the altar. Thus when the deity's doors are opened the first thing that Lord Ranganatha sees is the rear end of a cow and the head of an elephant, which are both considered very auspicious. I was told that instead of a conch-shell being blown, the elephant blows his trunk. This is the most auspicious time to see Lord Ranganatha.
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The puja (worship) of the temple is done according to the regulations of the Ramanuja-sampradaya. It is a traditional belief that Adi Sankara installed the Janakarsana Yatra at Srirangam and Dhanakarsana Yatra at Tirupati to attract pilgrims.

Before you enter the fifth enclosure (some say fourth enclosure) you have to remove your shoes. The Rangavilas Mandapa hall is directly in front of the southern gate. Next to this (to your left as you enter the southern gate) is the small, intricately carved Venugopala Temple. Inside the porch of the Venugopala Temple there are paintings which show Krishna having pastimes with the gopis (cowherd-girls).

three times bigger image in new window In the northeast corner of this enclosure is the Chandra Pushkarani tank, the moon-pond, where Vibhishana first placed the deity of Sri Ranganatha when he brought the deity here. Next to this tank are shrines dedicated to Lord Rama, Krishna, and Vishnu lying on the serpent Ananta Sesa. Toward the southeast corner of this enclosure is a storage area for the sacred vehicles (vahanas) of the Deities, which are used for processions.
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There is also a temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha.

The temple entrance.

three times bigger image in new window Sri Narasimha.
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You then exit out the north gate and reach the goddess Sri Ranga Nachiyar Lakshmi Temple, on your left, in the northeast area of the temple. Lakshmi is the consort of Ranganatha.

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Ramanuja's samadhi
Sri Ramanujacarya made the Srirangam Temple his headquarters. His samadhi (tomb) is within the premises of the Srirangam Temple
....When Ramanuja finished speaking, his disciples asked him that they would not be deprived of the sight of his transcendental form. Ramanuja accepted their request and ordered that expert sculptors be brought there to carve deity in his likeness. After three days the work was finished. Then the deity was bathed with water from the Kaveri river and installed upon newly constructed altar. Yatiraja then came slowly up to the deity and filled it with his potency by breathing into the crown of the head...

three times bigger image in new window ...Turning to his disciples, he said: "This is my second self. When I have cast off this body, you may worship this form instead of me." Then he lay down with his head on Govinda's lap and his feet on the lap of Andhrapurna. In this position with his eyes fixed on the wooden shoes of his spiritual master, Ramanuja gave up his body and returned to the abode of Lord Visnu.
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Jagannath Math
is a beautiful little temple which marks the place where Sri Chaitanya spent the four months of the rainy season in 1510. The house of Vyenkata Bhatta used to be here.

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The temple has many paintings depicting Sri Chaitanya's pastimes at Srirangam.

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In the center hall of the temple there is a diorama of Sri Chaitanya and a deity of Lord Jagannath carved by Lord Chaitanya Himself.

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The family descendants of Vyenkata Bhatta still live in Srirangam.

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The house of Venkata Bhatta
Sri Gopal Bhatta Goswami was the son of Venkata Bhatta, a resident of Srirangam. Gopal Bhatta formerly belonged to the disciplic succession of the Ramanuja-sampradaya but later became part of the Gaudiya-sampradaya...

three times bigger image in new window ...When Lord Caitanya was touring South India, He stayed for four months, during the period of Caturmasya at the house of Venkata Bhatta, who got the opportunity to serve the Lord to his heart's content. Gopala Bhatta also got the opportunity to serve the Lord at this time. Sri Gopala Bhatta Goswami was initiated by his uncle, the great sannyasi Prabhodananda Sarasvati. Both father and mother of Gopala Bhatta Goswami were extremely fortunate, for they dedicated their entire lives to the service of the Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. They allowed Gopala Bhatta to go to Vrindavana and gave up their lives thinking of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu...
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...When Lord Caitanya was later informed that Gopala Bhatta had gone to Vrindavana and met Sri Rupa and Sanatana, He was very pleased, and advised them to accept Gopala Bhatta as their younger brother and take care about him. Sri Sanatana Goswami, out of his great affection for Gopala Bhatta Goswami, compiled the Vaisnava smrti named Hari-bhakti-vilasa and published it under his name. Under the instruction of Srila Rupa and Sanatana, Gopala Bhatta Goswami installed one of the seven principal Deities of Vrindavana, the Radharamana Deity. The sevitas (priests) of the Radharamana temple belong to the Gaudiya-sampradaya.

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Interior of the house of Venkata Bhatta and the room where Sri Caitanya stayed during his visit.

Inside of this wooden box there is TV...

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Small altar of disciple of Prabhupada's disciple.

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Ratha-yatra.

three times bigger image in new window Inside the outermost walls, which are 875m (2880 ft) by 750m (2475 ft), there are houses and a bazaar. In the seventh enclosure, by the southern gopuram, is a Vamana temple (Lord Vishnu as a dwarf Brahmin). In the southwest corner of the seventh enclosure there is a fairly large temple dedicated to Sri Andal.
three times bigger image in new window Jambukeswara Temple
is located outside of the temple complex. The main deities are Siva and Parvati. Lord Siva is in the form of Appu-lingam, representing water, one of the natural element. Appu-lingam is half submerged in the water of a natural spring right next to it. The linga is under holy Jambu tree. "Jambu" means"guava" and "iswara" is the "lord."Ramacandra is said to come to this place after killing Ravana and Kumbhakarna.
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Rock Fort
Nearby Rock Fort Temple is on a huge 83 m high rock, said to be one of the oldest rocks in the world, over 3,8 billion years old.

...One time Vayu challenged Adi Sesa to a show of strength. So Adi Sesa coiled around Mount Meru and Vayu tried to loosen the grip...

three times bigger image in new window ...Because of their fight, the whole world had unprecedented hurricanes and storms. In spite of this, wind-god couldn't loosen His grip. Lord Siva then asked Adi Sesa to loosen his grip and at this time Mount Meru broke into three pieces. One chip is said to fallen at the site of Rock Fort, one at Kalahasti and another at Sri Lanka.
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You walk up about 430 steps cut into a tunnel through the rock to get to the Ganesh Temple (known as Ucchipillayar Koil in Tamil) at the top of the hill. It is not a hard climb. There are also some cave temples with beautiful sculptures of the Pallava era (7th century). Halfway up, there is the Shri Thayumana Swami Temple dedicated to Lord Siva. The linga is a projection of the rock.

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There is a hall with the bell weighting about 2,5 tons, which has diameter o 4 feet at the base. The thousand pillar hall, which one can see as one walks up the stairs, was mainly destroyed by an explosion in 1772.

From the top of the hill one has a great view of the city, Kaveri river and Srirangam Temple.

English texts, selection of images, design:
Tattva-darsi das
Most texts are based on the information from Jada Bharata's book Holy Places of India,
which contains many additional information useful for travelers. It can be found on:
www.spiritualguides.net

Photographs from their travels:
Radha-raman das and Pavan-suta das

 

Published:
July 2002
 
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Purshotman S. Moodley
2013-11-11

Congratulations on well-informed site


ram sankar
2013-10-05

excellent very nice


S VIJAYABHASKARAN
2013-09-18

en ista theivam online-l dharisanam thankyou


P.Bala Subrahmanyam
2013-02-16

NICE


janeky
2012-09-15

very beautiful.nice.


malini krishnan
2012-08-29

infinite happiness to view lord ranganatha.god bless you


rengaraj
2012-05-12

the excellent temple to the city


anish
2012-04-19

om namo narayanaya
sriman narayanethi charanow saranam prapthye srimathe narayanaya namaha


geeta
2012-01-05

VERY NICE! OM NAMO NARAYANA!

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