Largest Temple – Sri Ranganathaswamy temple
Also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati and Srirangam Temple, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is one of the most eminent Vaishnav temples of India and the world. It is located on the idyllic island of Srirangam, Trichy. This temple is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha, an avatar of Lord Vishnu and holds great importance in the Vaishnavite culture. Srirangam Temple History is very enriching and is the largest Hindu temple in India.
Srirangam Temple History :
It is the foremost of the 108 Divya Desams (divine abodes of Lord Vishnu). It is believed that the main idol of Lord Ranganatha was worshipped by the creator of the Universe, Lord Brahma. It was later presented to Lord Indra, the king of heaven, who then gave it as a gift to Lord Rama on the occasion of his return to Ayodhya after a 14-year exile. Lord Rama then gifted the idol of Lord Ranganatha to Vibhishana, who had expressed his desire to stay with Lord Rama. On his way back to Lanka, Lord Vibhishana stopped on the island of Srirangam and placed his vimana and the idol on the ground. After worshipping the deity of Anant Sesa, he tried to move the vimana carrying the idol but it won’t budge. Hence, the temple of Srirangam was established on Srirangam Island.
The inscriptions on the walls of the temple also show that it was under the influence of early Cholas, Pallavas, Hoysala and Vijaynagar dynasties who ruled the area over time.
Facts about Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple:
- Spread over an area of 63 hectares and with a perimeter of about 4 km, the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is the largest functioning religious complex of the world.
- Srirangam temple is nothing short of an architectural grandeur that has a unique pattern of settlement. The main idol of the deity is surrounded by 7 massive concentric walls from all sides, also known as Sapta Parikramas. Out of the 7 enclosures, the 2 outermost enclosures serve as settlements while the rest constitute the temple.
- It houses various structures such as 50 shrines, 21 colorful gopurams, 39 pavilions, 9 sacred pools to name a few.
- The main entrance of the temple, Rajagopuram, has a base area of 5720 m2, rises up to 72 m and moves up in 11 ascending tiers.
- It has withstood the brunt of various natural disasters and invasion attacks from various conquerors.
- The Srirangam Temple is also famous for the Hall of 1000 pillars which was built by using granite in the Vijayanagara era. The massive hall, in reality, has 953 pillars.
- Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple also houses various famous chariots that are used during various festivals and occasions. Some of them are Garuda vahana, Simha vahana, Hanumantha vahana, and Sesha vahana