The island of Srirangam wedged between the rivers Cauvery and Kollidam is home to Sri Ranganathaswamy temple, the largest functional Hindu temple in the world. Spread over 156 acres, the temples is one of the foremost Vishnu temple in India and is a revered one for Vaishnavaites. Built and rebuilt over centuries from 3rd to 17th century, the temple complex presently houses numerous commercial establishments, an art museum, roads and houses. The temple is known for its 21 stunning gopurams (entrance gates), 39 pavilions, 9 temple ponds, numerous halls and 49 shrines dedicated to Vishnu. One has to walk through seven gopurams before entering the sanctum sanctorum which has a gold plated gopuram. All other gopurams are extensively carved and colourful. The south facing rajagopuram (the main entrance gate) is the tallest temple tower in Asia at 73 metres. Built in typical Dravidian architecture, the temple’s exquisite sculptures and carvings can be seen at halls such as Shesharayar mandapam, Garuda mandapam, Kili mandapam and Ranga Vilasa mandapam. The inner sanctum houses the shrine of Ranganathar (a form of Vishnu) plated in gold in reclining pose on a coiled serpent.
Only Hindus are allowed inside the inner sanctum. One can take the stairs near Ranga vilas mandapam to go up and have an aerial view of all the gopurams. The major festival is held during the month of Margazhi (December- January). Srirangam is located in Tamil Nadu, close to Tiruchirappalli (8 Kms) which is a big town with restaurants and hotels.
|One of the gopurams that leads inside|
|Atop the terrace|
|Spot the golden one|
|Aerial view of gopurams|
|Sri Ranga Vilas mandapam|
|Wonderful carvings on the outer facade of a shrine|
|Sri Ramanujar Sannathi|
|Sculpted pillars at Shesharayar mandapam|
|Aaayiram Kal mandapam (Thousand pillar hall)|