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Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam, Tamil Nadu

The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, is the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world. Lord Vishnu, the preserver and protector God, is the presiding deity here. Vishnu forms one of the three main male deities in Hinduism.

Srirangam is the chief among the eight self-manifested shrines of Lord Vishnu. It is also treated as the most important of the 108 main Vishnu temples (Divyadesams). In the Vaishnava parlance, the term ‘Koil’ (the Tamil term for a distinct style of Hindu temple with Dravidian architecture) signifies the Srirangam temple only.

The temple complex is massive in size inhabiting an area of 156 acres with a perimeter of 4,116m. It is the largest temple in India and one of the biggest religious complexes in the world. It looks like a small city. Seven prakarams or outer courtyards enclose the temple. These enclosures are formed by concentric walls which are bounded by 21 Gopurams. The 236 feet high stupendous thirteen tired Rajagopuram is a marvellous sight. The temple complex comprises 49 shrines, all dedicated to different forms of Lord Vishnu.

The Hall of 1000 pillars (actually 953) is a distinctive feature of the grand temple complex. The pillars feature figurines of wildly rearing horses with riders on their backs and trampling with their hoofs upon the heads of rampant tigers.

Legend behind the Temple

As per the legend, Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu, worshiped the idol for a long time. He gifted the idol to King Vibhishana (Ravana’s brother) as a token of appreciation for supporting him against his war against Ravana.

When Vibhishana was going to Sri Lanka via Tiruchirappalli, he wanted to take some rest on the banks of Cauvery. He placed the deity there and went to do his routine pooja. After completing the pooja, he came back and tried to lift the idol, but it would not move an inch. Mahavishnu appeared to him and said that he wanted to stay as Ranganatha in the place, which went on to become Srirangam. The location where the Ranganathan idol was placed remained hidden for a long time due to overgrowth of deep forests. After a very long time, a Chola king found the idol by chance. He then established the Ranganathaswamy temple as one of the largest temple complexes in the world. According to historians, most dynasties that ruled the South—Cholas, Pandiyas, Hoysalas, Nayaks, assisted with renovation and in the observance of the traditional customs.

Vaikunta Ekadeshi, Jyestabisheka, Brahmotsavam, Rathothsavam etc. are the major festivals celebrated in Srirangam temple.

Official Website

www.srirangam.org

Contact the Temple

Phone – +91 431 -2432246
Fax – +91 431 -2436666
Email – srirangam@tnhrce.org

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