The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is one of the most distinguished and captivating Hindu temples in the world. With an enriching history, this temple is considered to be the world’s largest functioning Hindu temple and the largest Temple in India. It is also known by other names such as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Periyakoil, Bhoologa Vaikundam and Bhogamandabam.
The temple houses the tallest gopuram or temple tower across South India. Located in Srirangam in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, the magnificent Ranganathaswamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha, a form of Lord Vishnu in a reclining pose. Designed and built in Dravidian architecture style, the temple has 108 deities displaying different forms of Vishnu. The temple is one of the sacred sites for Hindu devotees. Thousands of devotees visit this holy temple to offer their prayers to lord Vishnu. The best part of the temple is that the Srirangam temple timings are divided well between the Puja timings and Darshan timings for the devotee’s convenience.
Let’s find out some intriguing facts about the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
- The largest functioning Hindu temple is spread over an area of about 155 acres within a perimeter of 4 km.
- The rajagopuram or temple tower is nothing less than an architectural grandeur, located at 237 feet above the complex base, moving up in 11 ascending tiers.
- It is said that the temple was built by the Gangas in 9th century A.D. The Gangas was the ruling dynasty based at Talakkadu on the banks of the Kaveri River.
- Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple has seen rampaging attacks from the Islamic armies and European conquerors and it had to be rebuilt in the 14th century.It has withstood a lot of natural disasters as well.
- The temple houses the ancient inscriptions not just in Tamil, but also in other languages like, Sanskrit, Telegu, Marathi, Oriya and Kannada.The temple complex has over 800 inscriptions that give insights into the various religious and social influences during the medieval era. The archaeological evidences state that the inscriptions belong to the Indian dynasties of Chola, Pandya, Hoysala and Vijayanagara.
- The temple has 7 parikramas or compound with 81 shrines, 21 stunning gopurams and 39 grand pavilions.
- The massive temple complex has a Hall consisting of 1000 Pillars. The granite structured complex also features a water tank in the centre platform of the magnificent hall. One of the attractions of the temple is the monolithic pillars, depicting sculptures of warriors in action.
- One of the main attractions of the temple is the reclining idol of Lord Vishnu. A unique feature of the idol is that it is crafted using stucco and thailam, a paste made of musk, camphor, honey, jaggery and sandal.
- The temple complex houses several water tanks and granaries. Out of 12 water tanks, a special mention should be given to the surya soc and Chandra pushkarani as these two water tanks can hold as much as two million litres of water.
- The temple complex also houses several chariots namely Garuda vahana, Simha vahana, Hanumantha vahana, and Sesha vahan which deserve special mention as they are used during festivals and various religious occasions.
- The annual 21 days festival attracts more than 1 million visitors every year. This is one of the must visit festivals in south India.
- As per legend, Alauddin Khilji’s general, Malik Kafur, invaded the region and stole the main idol in the 13th century. The idol was taken to Delhi. The devotees of the Srirangam temple travelled to Delhi and convinced the emperor with their melodramatic behaviour to retune the idol. The idol was returned back to the main temple after 60 years.
- The temple offers free food to the devotees every day.
- Another interesting fact about the temple is that the walls of the temple complex are painted with exquisite paintings using herbal and vegetable dyes.
- The temple is said to be the largest temple in India with the largest religious complexes in the world.
The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is a masterpiece of human creative genius and a sacred site for the Hindus. The temple takes you back to the bygone era and gives you some of the most intriguing details of the past. The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is extraordinary when it comes to the grandness and the vision and it tops the chart on your temple trail in south India. The outstanding feature of the temple is its representation of the prakaram based Temple-Town planning of Tamil Nadu.The temple should be on your list whenever you plan a trip to South India. Whether you are a tourist, an artist, architect or just a devotee, visit to this temple is worth for its legendary status.
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