Srirangam

Srirangam
Highlights

Srirangam, Srirangam is a holy town near Trichinopoly. The town lies between two arms of the river Kaveri. In that town stands the temple of God Ranganatha. It is a very ancient and famous temple. The idol of Ranganatha is very big. It is made of black stone.

SrirangamSrirangam is a holy town near Trichinopoly. The town lies between two arms of the river Kaveri. In that town stands the temple of God Ranganatha. It is a very ancient and famous temple. The idol of Ranganatha is very big. It is made of black stone.

He is in a sleeping posture with the serpent—god Adishesha supporting him, as on a bed. Bhu-Devi and Neela Devi are the two consorts of God Ranganatha. They sit at His feet. According to our Puranas, God Brahma worshipped this idol in heaven.

King Ikshvaku was an ancient king of Ayodhya. He worshipped this deity. After Ikshvaku, his descendants continued to worship Ranganatha. Among them were Dasaratha and Rama.

Ranganatha was thus the family deity of Rama. We read in the Ramayana that Queen Kausalya was an ardent worshipper of Ranganatha. Ravana of Lanka had a brother. His name was Vibhishana. Vibhishana was a pious man. He was greatly devoted to Rama. After the Ramayana war was over, Vibhishana went to Ayodhya to attend Rama’s coronation.

Just before returning he asked Rama: "Won’t you give me the idol of Ranganatha? It is the idol I want to “worship”. Rama said: "If you love it so much, you may take it, but on one condition. You must never put it down till you arrive in Lanka."

Vibhishana said: "I shall not put it down." Vibhishana then took the image. But on the way he forgot his promise, and put it down near Srirangam. When he tried to lift it, he could not. This is how Ranganatha came to live at Srirangam. The temple of Ranganatha is one of the largest in the country.

Great kings of the past have added to its grandeur. It has seven prakaras and even more towers. Prakaras are pathways which run round the deity. Devotees walk along them clockwise. Going round and round the deity is a form of worship. Devotees bathe in the river Kaveri before entering the temple.

There is a holy lake near the temple. It is called Chandrapushkarani. The temple contains many shrines built in the honour of many Gods. There are also shrines of saints like Yamunacharya and Ramanujacharya. The great Alwars, or Tamil saints, have worshipped at this temple. They have sung the glories of God Ranganatha in hymns that can stir the soul. The most famous of these saints was the woman-saint Andal.

She too has a shrine there. Her book of hymns which is famous is called Tiruppavai. Many festivals are held at this temple. The most important among them is the Vaikuntha Ekadashi festival. It occurs in the bright half of Agrayana every year. On that Ekadasi day people fast and pray. On that day too thousands of devotees from all parts of the country gather at Srirangam to worship the Lord.

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