Table of contents for Temple Exploration in Tamil Nadu
- SRIRANGAM :- Bhooloka Vaikuntham, World’s largest functioning temple
- THANJAVUR :- Brihadeeshwara Temple (UNESCO) and SRIRANGAM:- Sri Raganathaswamy Temple
- Rameshwaram – A bridge between Lord Shiva and Lord Rama
- Meenakshi Amman and Lord Sundareshwar temple – Masterpieces of Architecture
- Kanyakumari – The Sangam of Three Oceans
After Omkareshwar and Mahakaleshwar in July, it was time for me to go to another divine destination and finally it was decided to go for Rameswaram. When I started to search trains from Mumbai to Rameswaram, there was no direct train. So his divine grace gave me idea to stop at a place in Tamil Nadu which is divine also and has direct train to Rameswaram . So after searching a lot in internet and by grace of god it was decided that we will be stop at Srirangam. From Mumbai Balaji – Nagercoil Express No. 16351( Tuesday, Saturday) goes directly to Srirangam . The train starts from CST it starts at 12.05 and reaches Srirangam at 20.00 next day.
I might feel quite boring because in this post I have some long descriptions , but unless I do so readers will not be able to feel the importance of it . And this time I seriously want readers to visit this mighty shrine once in lifetime, rest is up to lord whether he takes them or not.
SRIRANGAM :- Srirangam ,old name is Vellithirumutha gramam and Tamil name is Thiruvarangam, is an island and a part of the city of Tiruchirapalli (also known as Trichy or Tiruchi), in South India. Srirangam is bounded by the Kaveri River (also known as Cauvery river) on one side, and the Kaveri distributary Kollidam (Coleroon) on the other side.
Srirangam is famous for its Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus (especially Srivaishnavites) and one of the largest temple complexes in the world.
According to the temple’s website, Srirangam can be considered the biggest functioning Hindu temple in the world as it covers an area of about 631,000 square metres (6,790,000 sq ft) with a perimeter of 4 km (10,710 ft).Srirangam claims to be the biggest functioning temple, because Angkor Wat is the biggest but non-functioning Hindu temple in the world.
Srirangam is the foremost of the eight self-manifested shrines (Swayam Vyakta Kshetras) of Lord Vishnu . It is also considered the first, foremost and the most important of the 108 main Vishnu temple (Divyadesams). This temple is also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Periyakoil, Bhooloka Vaikuntham, Bhogamandabam.
Vaikuntha is abode of Lord Vishnu . And Srirangam is called Vaikuntha of Earth and really I felt so much a attached to it that when I was leaving for Rameswaram , my prime destination , I was feeling sad.
SRI RANGANATHASWAMY TEMPLE :- The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple or Tiruvarangam is a Hindu temple dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of Hindu deity, Vishnu located in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India . Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, this temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil literature canon of the Alvar saints from the 6th–9th centuries CE and is counted as the first and foremost among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu.
It is one of the most illustrious Vaishnava temples in South India rich in legend and history. Its location, on an island in Cauvery river, has rendered it vulnerable to natural disasters as well as the rampaging of invading armies – Hindu, Muslim and European – which repeatedly commandeered the site for military encampment.Known as the Rajagopuram (the royal temple tower), it rises from the base area of around 13 cents (around 5720 sq ft) and goes up to 237 feet (72 m), moving up in eleven progressively smaller tiers. The annual 21 day festival conducted during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December–January) attracts 1 million visitors. Srirangam temple is often listed as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world, the still larger Angkor Wat being the largest existing temple.The temple occupies an area of 156 acres (631,000 m²) with a perimeter of 4,116m (10,710 feet) making it the largest temple in India and one of the largest religious complexes in the world.
There are 21 gopurams (tower gateways), among which the towering 236-feet Rajagopuram (shrine of the main gateway) is the second tallest temple tower in Asia.
Please visit the official website of the temple http://www.srirangam.org/
LEGEND :- Sriranga Mahathmiyam is the compilation of religious accounts of the temple, detailing the origins of its greatness. According to it, Brahma, the Hindu God of creation in Hindu mythology was once in a state of deep meditation and in His supreme trance received the gift of the Vishnu’s idol, “Ranga Vimana”. He was told by god that there would be seven other appearances of such idols on earth – Srirangam, Srimushnam, Venkatadri (Tirumala), Saligram (Muktinath), Naimisaranya, Totadri, Pushkara and Badrinath. The idol was then passed on by Brahma to Viraja, Vaiswatha, Manu, Ishwaku and finally to Rama. Rama, himself an Avatar of Vishnu, worshipped the idol for a long time, and when he returned victoriously from Sri Lanka after destroying Ravana, he gave it to King Vibhishana as a token of appreciation for the latter’s support for Rama against his own brother, Ravana. When Vibhishana was going via Trichy en route to Sri Lanka, the deity wanted to stay in Srirangam. Ranganatha, captivated by the sylvan setting of the place, stayed put, promising to cast his benign glance eternally on Lanka. Hence it is that the deity (in a reclining posture) faces South.
TRAVEL :- I started on 1st November in Balajee Express and reached Srirangam on 2nd at 20.00. The train had halt at Tirupati Railway station on 2nd November at for around one and a half hours 10.30 to 12.00. So we took bath on the railway station itself. I took an auto to Hotel Sri Ramanuja Veeraghava Kootam from Srirangam railway station ( 50 rs.) . Immediately after reaching Hotel we went to Sri Raganathaswamy Darshan . At 20.55 we reached the Garbagriha and had exuberating darshan of almighty Sri Raganathaswamy
The idol is very large having sleeping form of lord Vishnu on Sheshnaag . You cannot see the whole idol with both the eyes in one go. At one time you can see sheshanaag, then face of lord , then chest and finally his lotus feet. It is so beautiful that you feel like “ Ki oose dekhta hi rahoon.”
NOTE :- After 20.30 to 21.00 is best time for darshan , people are less.
SRI VEERARAGHAVA RAMANUJA KOOTAM.
The address is 294 Sattara Street, Srirangam, Trichy – 620006.
The telephone numbers are:
They have only one A.C Room and about 10 Non-AC rooms. They don’t have any prescribed rate for the rooms but you may pay about Rs.400 to Rs.600 per day for AC room and slightly lower to Non-Ac rooms as DONATION. If you tell in advance they also provide free meals (satisfies Hygiene and Aachaaram). This is the nearest point to the temple and you can visit the temple any number of times. As the road is concrete road, you can leave the Chapels at the room and walk comfortably bare-foot to the temple. The rooms are fairly big with two cots and spacious bath room with hot-water provision. I booked this Hotel two months in advance after payment through MO. I would suggest all my readers to book this Hotel only because of proximity to temple and Rajagopuram.
Do not forget to visit the terrace in day time otherwise you are going to miss a lot……………
3rd November :- Next Morning we decided to tour Sriranagam and nearby places.We started at 6.00 am.
THIRUVANAKOVIL :- We started with Jambukeshwara Temple , Thiruvanakovil popular name of Lord Shiva.
Thiruvanaikal is one of the five major Shiva Temples of Tamil Nadu(Panchabhoota Sthalams) representing the Mahābhūta or five great elements; this temple represents the element of water, or neer in Tamil. The other Panchabhoota Sthalams are located at Chidambaram (sky/ space), Srikalahasti (wind), Tiruvannamalai (fire) and Kanchipuram (earth).
LEGEND:- Once Devi Parvati mocked at Lord Shiva’s penance for betterment of the World. Lord Shiva wanted to condemn her act and directed her to go to the earth from ‘Kailayam’ and do penance. Devi Parvathi (Akilandeswari) as per Shiva’s wish found ‘Jambu’ forest (Thiruvanaikoil) to conduct her penance. Devi made a Lingam out of water of river Cauvery (also called as river ‘Ponni’) under the ‘Venn Naaval’ tree (the Venn Naaval tree on top of the saint Jambu) and commenced her worship. So, the Lingam is known as ‘Appu Lingam’ (Water Lingam). Lord Siva at last gave darshan to Akilandeswari and taught her Siva Gnana.
Also it is one of the Shaktipeeths of Tamil Nadu Devi Akhilandeshwari.
It feels in the photograph that Devi is attacking me . The trishul is right in my head.
After Thiruvanakovil , we went to Samayapuram Mariamman Temple 10 kms from Srirangam.
ARULMIGU SAMAYAPURAM MARIAMMAN TEMPLE :- Samayapuram Mariamman Temple is a Hindu temple in Samayapuram near Trichy / Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, India. The main deity, Samayapurathal or Mariamman is made of sand and clay like many of the traditional Mariamman deities, and hence unlike many other Hindu deities there are no abhishekams (sacred washing) conducted to the main deity, but instead the “abishekam” is done to the small stone statue in front of it.
It is believed by the devotees that the Goddess has enormous powers over curing illnesses and hence, it is a ritual to buy small metallic replicas, made with silver or steel, of various body parts that need to be cured, and these are deposited in the donation box.
Devotees also offer mavilakku, a sweet dish made of jaggery, rice flour and ghee. Offerings of raw salt is also made to the Goddess by the rural devotees.
The orange coloured Devi with ornaments here is so beautiful that it feels that there is nothing in the world more attractive than her. All your desires gets finished .
“ MANN TRUPT HO JAATAA HAI” ( everything is satisfied).
Please visit the official website of Mariamman temple , Samayapuram http://www.samayapurammariamman.org/
After that we visited another Divya desam near Tollgate called Purshottam Perumal Temple ( Uttamar Kovil) again Lord Vishnu in sleeping form on Sheshanaag.
After that we headed towards Hotel . After Taking some rest we went to Kaveri river for Taking Bath.and back around 1.00 pm
Afternoon we started at 3.30 again for visiting another Divya Desam , Vekaliamman Temple and Rock Fort Temple
Every single lane in every single city of Tamil Nadu is full of J Jayalalitha banners. Even Rajagopuram was not spared.
I was so fanaticised with this Gopuram that I have taken largest number of pics of itself…………………..
Then we visited Vekali Amman Temple . The Mahakali Maa Temple complex is large but it has no Kalash on the top .
The beautiful black idol is open with atmosphere . The idol shine with lusture during day time . You have to visit this temple when you visit Trichy……………………………..
Please visit the official website http://www.vekkaliammankovil.org/contact.html
Then we visited another Divya Desam in Trichy Called Nachiyaar Koil. Main Idol is Lord Vishnu ,Sridevi and Bhoodevi in standing position.
Finally it was time for most famous Rock Fort Templein Trichy
ROCK FORT TEMPLE:- Rockfort or Ucchi Pillayar koil, is a combination of two famous 7th century Hindu temples, one dedicated to Lord Ganesh and the other dedicated to Lord Shiva, located a top of a huge rock in Trichy, India. Geologically the 83m high. Total steps apprx. 500.
Rock is said to be one of the oldest in the world, dating over 3 billion years ago.
LEGEND FOR VINAYAKA TEMPLE :- Rama wins the war and as a token of love, He gifts Vibishana a vigraham (idol for worship) of Lord Ranganatha, a form of Vishnu.
Vibhishana, though he supported Rama, was basically an Asura, hence the Devas (who are arch rivals to Asuras as per Hindu mythology) wanted to stop this idea of an Asura taking Lord’s supreme form to his Kingdom. They request the help of the Remover of obstacles and God of learning , Lord Vinayaka and the Lord accepts the plan. Vibhishana, while on his back to his Kingdom, goes through Trichi, and wanted to take his bath in the river Kaveri and do his daily rituals. However, he is perplexed as the deity, once kept in land, can never be removed and has to be in that place forever.
As a solution, Vibishana tries to find someone to hold the deity while he was taking bath. He finds the Lord Vianayaka under disguise of a cowherd boy. As per the plan, when Vibishana is fully into water, Vinayaka takes the deity and keeps it firmly in sand, in the banks of kaveri. On seeing this, the angry Vibhishana chases the boy, to punish him, and boy keeps running and climbs over the rock near the Kaveri bank. Vibhishana finally reaches the boy and hits him on the fore-head of little boy who then reveals himself to be Vinayaga. Vibishana immediately apologizes and the Lord gives him his blessings and sends him off to Lanka.
LEGEND FOR Thayumanaswamy Temple :- A pregnant woman named Rathnavathi is nearing labor and she suffers in enormous pain as her mother who is to help her has not yet arrived. The pregnant women suffers alone and pleads to God. Then Lord shiva takes the form of her mother and helps her in the pregnancy. Thus, the Lord was praised as “Thayum Ana Swamy” (The Lord who could act like a Mother) and hence the temple began to be called as “Thayumanaswamy temple”. Around 200 steps need to be climbed to reach the beautiful temple. The paintings on the ceiling is amazing. The structure of the temple shows the excellent art in olden days. The temple has many small shrines inside, but major shrines is for Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Mahalakshmi.
Please visit the official website http://www.thiruchyrockfort.org
After That we had dinner near Rock Fort in a North Indian Restaurant and then headed to Hotel.
Next day on 4th November I will take you to Brihadeeshwara Temple , Thanjavur in my next post.
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