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Ranganatha Swamy Temple
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Pooja Cost : US$ 9.00 Leadtime : 5 Days
Location : Srirangam.
Main Deity : Ranganathar.
Other Deities : Chakkarathalwar ( Sudarsanar), Ramanujar ( Udaiyavar), Ranga Nayaki.
Nearest Town : Trichy District : Trichirappalli State : Tamil Nadu
Of the 108 Divya Desas (sung by Vaishnavite Alvars), this is the only temple that has been eulogized in psalms by all the Alvars. Not only that, it is the sacred shrine, that has the maximum hymns sung about it.

The biggest temple in South India, pierced by 11 lofty towers forming as entrances, encircled by high walls, 6 miles long embracing Satyam Tapo, Jaya, Malo, Bhuvar circuits; Dasmavarma, Kulavirada Rajamahendra, Kudal Vazh Kulasekara, Ali Nadan, Aadal Maran Akalanga, Thiru Vikrama are the streets that for the temple. Inseparably linked with Lord Ranga is the episode of Andal.
“A daughter like goddess Lakshmi, I reared, but Lord Ranga snatched her away”, bemoaned Perialvar and Ranga became Ranga Mannar.

The Ranga Vigraha fashioned by Brahma, was presented to a king of the race of Ikshavahas, and worshipped by them till it was given to Vibhisana out of gratitude, at the time of the latter’s coordination by Rama and Vibhisana while returning to Lanka, placed it on the banks of the river Cauvery while he rested, the idol forged to the earth, settled there permanently. This event is believed to have occurred in the month of Panguni, and this is celebrated in all grandeur as Adi Brahmotsave in Panguni.

The outermost seventh circuit is the Chittarai Veedhi, also known as Raja Veedhi, and pierced with gopurams on all four directions. The most important part of it is the Damodaran Vasal – the east entrance, where a shrine of Damodara exists. Next is the Thiru Vikraman Thiru Veedhi, with a shrine for Manavala Mamuni in the South East Corner. The Fifth Prakara is the Akalangan Thriuveedhi with a gopura in the south, the crest facing all the four sides. Hence, it came to be called Nanmukan Gopura Vasal. On entering through this door, we can see a Mandapa with an image in a pillar. It is said that it represents Kambar. Kambar, the great poet composed the Epic Ramayana here before Nadamuni. That is the reason for sculpting Kamba before the cell of Nadamuni. That is the reason for sculpting here. Looking up from this Mandapa towards the top of the west wall, one can see niches of Islamic architecture, History records that Ranga took his abode among the Muslims for 62 years in Delhi. And when he returned, there must have been an infiltration of their art too. In front stands Ranga Vilasa with twin pillars of Vijayanagara art.
The shrine of Andal and Venugopalan are faced next. Venugopalan shrine is a treasure chest of art. The Naick style is only a continuation of Vijayanagara art and the Naicks have infused it with a new life in the South. At the rear of the Vehicle Hall is Amrita Kalasa Garudan, another jewel of art. The cells of Kurathu Alvar, Thondar Adipodi Alvar and Thirupan Alvar are also here.

In this corridor is the shrine of Chakkarathu Alvar which is a personification of the Discus of Maha Vishnu. In a huge circle, the front displays the discus with the rear side Narasimha. In the southwest corner, in Thiru Amudanar Sannadi, the mandapas are supported by pillars on squatting lions. To the west of Thayar shrine is the shrine of Alagia Singar. Here Lord Narasimha is seen in the art of pulling out the entrails of Hiranaya and wearing it as garland. The thousand-pillared hall too is located here. Supported with 951 monolithic pillars, the hall was erected by Danda Naicka and Perumal Devan.

The east tower is called Vellai gopuram, as it is painted white. Of the 21 gopuras that adorn the temple, this is the most magnificent, barring the latest. Adjacent to this gopura and located in the south is the Seshagiri Rayar mandapam. In the forefront, eight pillars stand as a masterpiece of art. Prancing horses with riders on back are so real that is difficult to believe they are stones. It is a hunting scene, fighting tigers; Vellore and this mandapam are filled with such equestrian figures, that reveal the skill of the artiest of Vijayanagara period. The Shrine of Dhanvantri is a special feature not found anywhere else. Dhanvantri is a celestial physician. Once when Lord Ranga consumed jambu fruits in excess, he was afflicted with severe cold; and the physician Dhanvantri prepared a mixture to cure him.
The third circuit Kulasekaran Thiruveedhi has the entrance called Arya Bhatal Vasal; as it was guarded by North Indian brahmins once. It comprises Pavitra mandapa, Hayagriva and Sarasvati cells. The north entrance to this circuit is the Paramapatha Vasal, the most sacred spot of this shrine. The well in the east is deemed to be the Vraja river of Vaikunda. Every year the Vaikunta Ekadasi day this entrance assumes special importance and devotees, who pass through this way, are believed to enter the portals of heaven. The central Prakara where Lord Ranga is enshrined through the second Raja Mahendran Thiruveethi. Entering through the Thiruanukkan Thiruvasal, we see two pillars called Thirumana Thoon, from where one can have a sight of Pranavasundra in the Vimana. The circumambulatory passage around the sanctum is the Dharma Varman Thiruveethi, as the inner structure was erected by him.
The Ranga Vimana stands as Pranava encircled by Sapta Prakaras. The four vedas and Sastras are the sthupis. Vigeshvara and Yoga Maya stand at guard, The Vimana is completely gold topped. The walls are ornamented with paintings, depicting 108 Divya Desas, Vishnu Puranam etc.