Wednesday, 8 November 2017

SRI RANGANATHA SWAMY TEMPLE, SRIRANGAM – A HERITAGE VISIT.

05th November 2017.
This heritage visit to Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Sri Pundarikashppa Perumal Temple, Thiruvellarai and Sri Jambukeswarar temple at Thiruvanaikaval was arranged by the Chozham Varalaru thedal kuzhu on 05th November 2017.  Since I  planned to attend our Kulatheivam Sri Veeramathi Amman Temple’s Kumbhabhishekam near Erode on 03rd November 2017, decided to attend this heritage walk.  Visited this temple more than 50 years before, this Heritage visit gave me an opportunity of visiting this temple and had the dharshan of Sri Ranganatha Swamy once again. I extend my sincere thanks to Dr. Udhaya Shankar, Andavar Kani, Abirami, R K Lakshmi,  Mr Raman Sthapathy, who explained the salient features of this temple, Mr Selvaraj Nayakkavadiyar for arranging this heritage walk.

This temple is one of the 108 Divya desa Vishnu temples  and 12 Alwars has sung hymns Nalayira divyaprabandam  on Sri Ranganatha Swammy. The place Srirangam was called as Thiruvarangam is  on the banks of river Cauvery in Chozha Nadu  ( Thiruchirapalli ).

Moolavar : Sri Aranganathar and Urchavar is Sri Namperumal.
Thayar    : Sri Ranganayaki.  
Some of the important features of this temple are....

Unlike other temples this place Srirangam is inside the temple complex. The  Srirangam is in an island surrounded by Kollidam and Kaveri river. The temple is facing south with 7 prakaras ( corridors ), 23 gopuras and 54 Sannadhis spread in 156 acre.

The 7th prakara is called as Adayavalainthan and the same was constructed by one of the Pandya Kings during 12th to 14th  century. The emblem of Pandya’s is inscribed on the passage of the Rajagopuram. Sannadhis  in this prakara are Vamana Vishnu, Andal Nachiyar, Thulukka Nachiyar and Aranganathar.

The 6th prakara is called as Kaliyuga Raman thiruveedhi, which has 4 gopuras. It is believed that these gopuras are constructed by Pandiyas and Hoysalas. The Temple chariots are kept in this prakaram.

The 5th prakara  called as Uthara veedhi, which has the residences. Beyond this devotees are advised not to wear chapels and considered as the holy place.

It was believed that 4th Corridor was constructed by Thirumangai Alwar during 7th century. This prakara is called as Akalangal thiru veedhi otherwise known as Ranga Vasal or Nanmugan gopuram.  Non hindus are permitted till the Venugopala Krishnan sannadhi. The Venugopala Krishnan  Sannadhi sanctum walls has the beautiful statues, females and males intrinsically carved reliefs. This was believed to be constructed during Hoysala period.  There is a provision to climb up the temple top to watch the beauty of the temple complex with gopuras and vimanas. ( we have got permission to climb on the roof top of this temple ). There is a museum which displays the gifted articles, ivory statues, coins and brass & bronze statues. The Shesha Rayar Mandapam with exquisitely carved 8 pillars has the statues and reliefs of epic & puranas   and a Thousand Pillar  ( 953 pillars ) Mandapam  are also in this prakaram.
  
The 3rd prakara gopuram is called as Karthigai. This prakara has the Garuda  thoon,  mandpam and Garudalwar sannadhi. The Garuda mandapam was built with  beautifully carved 212 pillars. The mandapam was built during Nayak period , whose statues are on the pillars.  On the west side there are 5  grain storage bins. This prakara also has the sannadhis of Vasudeva Vishnu, Muthalawars, Dhanvanthiri.  Paramapathavasal is on the north prakara wall, which will be opened on Vaikunda ekadesi day. On the east side Chandra pushkarani built like Chndran.  Around this pushkarani sannadhis for Krishnar, Thondaradipodi alwar, Anantha sayanar. Urchava vahanas are also kept in this prakaram on the east side near surya pushkarani.

The 2nd prakara was covered with gold plates  by Jadavarma sundara Pandiyan. This prakara is called as Kulasekaran thiruveethi and we have to pass through Ariyapadaal gopuram. The is gopuram was damaged during muslim invasion and reconstructed during 15th century. Golden plated Dawajasthambam and Palipedam are in the second prakaram.  Nayaka kings statues are on the pillars, who had done thirupani to this prakara.  On the south side sannadhi for Saraswathy and Hayagreevar and Vishnu Dhasamurthy.  Durai mandapam  is also in the second prakara with two vimanas.

The 1st prakara was constructed by the Chozha King Rajamahendra Chozha (1017AD to 1137 AD), the son of Rajendra Chozha II and called as Rajamahendran thiruveedhi. The main sanctum is constructed in this prakaram. Dwara balakas, sanganidhi and Padhumanidhi are at the entrance of the sanctum.  On the south and  west side  mirror to see Urchavars purapadu. On the west platform there is a box contains Vijayaranga Chokkanatha Nayakar ( 1706 to 1732AD), his wife , his son and his daughter in-law  statues made of ivory.  On the south west corner Swamy’s  jewellery  are kept. On the north west corner are the yaga sala, Thondaiman mandapam and Kili ( parrot ) mandapam  with parrot cage ( to remind that this temple was identified by the parrot.  The sanctum was constructed in oval shape. Moolavar is in reclining posture on Adhisheshan. The moolavar is about 6.4 meter ( 21 feet ) long made of stucco.  Moolavar is applied with punuku and oil.  Ranganathar’s feet are kept on lotus. Urchavar Azhakiya manavalar is in front of moolavar. In addition to this there is a gold urchavar, who will be taken out for thiruveedhi ula during important occasions. It was learnt that Moolavar was taken to Thirupathi during Muslim invasion.   On the moolavar sanctum gold plated 4 kalasa  vimana with  reliefs of Paravasuthevar, Achuthar, Ananthar and Venugopalar.

As per the legend the temple was constructed by Chozha King Killivalavan, whose ancestor is  Dharmavarma Chozhan. But there is no proof for this instead we get the Chozha inscriptions  starting from  10th century only. But as per the Tamil  literatures the temple exits even before 10th century. There are about 400 inscriptions available in this temple and the oldest is 10th century ( 907AD ) Paranthaka Chozha- I’s 17th year rule.  The inscriptions speaks about constructions of new sannadhi and the donations made for regular poojas and functions. Jadavarma Sundara Pandiyan –I’s 1251 – 1268AD), inscription speaks about  the  construction and covering with gold plate of Thiruvaranganathar Sannadhi, Viswaksenar Sannadhi, Maha Vishnu sannadhi,  Vishnu Narasimhar Sannadhi,  Three Vimanas and madapalli.

The temple has the mixture of Chozhas, Pandiyas, Vijayangara, Hoysalas, period architecture. The temple was subjected to extensive damage during  Muslim invasion especially during Malik Kafur during 13th century and rebuilt to the present state by the Vijayanagara Kings during 15th and 16th century. The present golden plate covering for the moolavar vimana was done in 17th century by Thanjavur Achuthappa Nayakar.

TEMPLE TIMINGS:
The temple will be kept opened between  06.00 hrs to 21.00 hrs, during pooja time dharshan will not be allowed.

CONTACT DETAILS:
Temple web site : www.srirangam.tnhrce.org  and e mail address is srirangam@tnhrce.in

HOW TO REACH:
Town buses are available from Trichirapalli Railway station, Central Bus Stand and Chatram Bus stand.
Bus, Train and flight facilities are available from various parts of Chennai and state capitals of India.

LOCATION:CLICK HERE
On the moolavar sanctum gold plated 4 kalasa  vimana with  reliefs of Paravasuthevar, Achuthar, Ananthar and Venugopalar. The present golden plate covering for the moolavar vimana was done in 17th century by Thanjavur Achuthappa Nayakar





View of Garuda thoon with 2nd Prakara Rajagopuram


The Venugopala Krishnan  Sannadhi sanctum walls has the beautiful statues This was believed to be constructed during Hoysala period. 

The Venugopala Krishnan  Sannadhi

The Venugopala Krishnan  Sannadhi

The entrance arch to the main sanctum

Viswaksenar sannadhi


Sengamalavalli thayar sannadhi Rajagopuram

Nayak Kings who reconstructed this mandapams 
Nayak Kings who reconstructed the mandapams

Storage bins to store grains now the same is not used

Reliefs on one of the 8 pillars of Shesha Rayar Mandapam ( A war scene ) 
Reliefs on one of the 8 pillars of Shesha Rayar Mandapam

Reliefs on one of the 8 pillars of Shesha Rayar Mandapam, see the sitting posture.

Pulikuthi relief on the left 

Reliefs on one of the 8 pillars of Shesha Rayar Mandapam - Asuras and Devas churning the milk ocean 

Reliefs on one of the 8 pillars of Shesha Rayar Mandapam  
---OM SHIVAYA NAMA---