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ashok viswanathan | profile | all galleries >> srirangam tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Srirangam the temple town from the 11th Century

Srirangam, the largest temple town in India is a Vaishnavite pilgrim centre located 7 km. from Trichy in South India not far from Chennai. Time has stood still in this island town enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswami Temple surrounded by the waters of the 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. He 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 finished his prayers. The little boy was Lord Ganesha in disguise who kept down the shrine and ran away. The temple of Sri Ranganatha was permanently located at this point.

Extending over an area of 156 acres the temple was built between 11th and 17th century with several additions made to the complex by a succession of rulers - the Cholas, Cheras, Pandyas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara rulers and the Nayaks of Madurai. The Cholas reigned for about three hundred years over the Coromandel Coast and the greater part of Eastern Deccan, encouraging Hindu Culture to flourish.

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 temple has the tallest front tower called Raja Gopuram standing at 237 feet.

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. The sculptures are detailed and magnificient and of archaeological value. The temple attracts devotees, historians and foreign visitors. It represents the culture, history and architectural splendour of our country from time immemorial.
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