|Elevation||70 m (230 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
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 home to a significant population of Srivaishnavites (followers of Lord Vishnu, one of the triumvirate of Hindu Gods the other two being Lord Siva, the Destroyer and Lord Brahma, the Creator).
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
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). Angkor Wat is bigger but non-functioning.
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 temples (Divyadesams). This temple is also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Periyakoil, Bhoologa Vaikundam, Bhogamandabam. In the Vaishnava parlance the term "KOIL" signifies this temple only. The temple is enormous in size. The temple complex is 156 acres (0.631 km2) in extent. It has seven prakaras or enclosures. These enclosures are formed by thick and huge rampart walls which run round the sanctum. There are 21 magnificent towers in all prakaras providing a unique sight to any visitor. The temple town lies on an islet formed by the twin rivers Cauvery and Coleroon.
The Srirangam temple complex is composed of 7 concentric walled sections and 21 towers gopuram. The gopuram of the temple is called the Rajagopuram and is 236 feet (72 m) tall, the tallest in Asia.
The temple has seven prakaras (elevated enclosures) with gopurams articulating the axial path, the highest at the outermost prakara and the lowest at the innermost. In historic times, just after the construction of this temple, the city of Srirangam lived completely within the walls of this temple and hence is quoted as an example of Hindu religious utopia - during its peak of existence.
The Srirangam temple is one of the three temples of the god Ranganata that are situated in the natural islands formed in the Kaveri river. They are:
- Adi Ranga: the Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangapattana
- Madhya Ranga: the Ranganathaswamy temple at Shivanasamudra
- Antya Ranga: the Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam
There is a gopuram fully made of gold, which is protected by electrical fence.
Clothes such as Silk Sarees, Dhoti, Towels, etc.., used for religious purposes are auctioned here.
Inside the temple compound, there is a separate temple for the goddess Andal. Additionally, There is a museum, a library and a bookshop as well.
According to Vedas, the vimana (adornment on top of the main tower) of Srirangam temple is believed to have come out of the ocean of milk (Tamil: "paarkadal" - பாற்கடல்) with the powers of Brahma deva (One of the three main Gods of Hinduism). The incarnation of Lord Vishnu called Ramavathara has performed poojas to Vishnu's idol (deity in a reclining posture). As a symbol of love he gifted the idol to Vibishana (brother of Ravana of the Hindu epic Ramayana) to take back with him to Sri Lanka. There was a condition that he could not set the idol on earth and if he did it would set itself permanently. Vibishana took this idol and was traveling towards Sri Lanka, and came upon the banks of the river Cauvery, during when utsavam (festival) for the god had to be performed and he placed the idol on banks of river Kaveri. When the utsavam got over, the lord refused to move as he loved the place (Srirangam). When vibhishana requested him to come along with him, the lord refused but promised to bless Vibhishana by always facing South (the direction of Sri Lanka, home to Vibhishana) Hence it is that the deity (in a reclining posture) faces South. Then Chola kings Dharmavarcholan and Killivalavan developed the shrine into the big temple seen now. They built the basic foundations and main buildings.
Srirangam was one of the Hindu shrine complexes that was sacked (plundered) during Ala-ud-din Khilji's deccan invasion, led by his general Malik Kafur. Services at the shrine had temporarily halted following this sack, and were resumed later.
Due to the famous temple, Srirangam has a thriving economy based on tourism. Devotees come from all parts of India and abroad. The number of devotees to the town increases greatly during the festivals like Vaikunta Ekadashi which falls on the Tamil month of Marghazi (Margashirsha).
Thiruvarangam is one of the few temples which is always being crowded by devotees.
There are many other famous temples near Srirangam. They include Rockfort temple, Samayapuram Mariamman temple, Tiruvaanaikovil temple, Kumara Vaiyalur temple, Uraiyur Vekkali Amman temple, Kaatazhagiya singer temple etc. In addition along the banks of Kaveri in areas near Srirangam and Tiruchirappalli there are other famous temples of Lord Vishnu most of which house the reclining form of him, namely the Sri Vadivazhagiya Nambi Perumal Temple (Thiru Anbil) and housing the deity Appala Ranganathar, also called the Appukudaththan Temple at Koviladi. Another temple of Vishnu is at Tiruchirappalli itself, the Azhagiya Nambi Temple at Woraiyur which is part of the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam.
Srirangam town is also home to several hundred people who work in offices and industries located in Tiruchirappalli. The public transport linking Srirangam to Tiruchirappalli (route #1) is very frequent.
There are numerous schools, both private and public, in the town. The Higher Secondary School for Boys was founded in 1896 and is the oldest one in the town. There is also a Higher Secondary School for girls which is almost as old as that of the boys. Srimad Andavan College, Chinmaya Vidyalaya Matric. School, Sri Akilandeswari Vidyalaya, Sri Ranga Matriculation School, Sri Vaijayanthi Vidhyalaya etc., are other institutions in Srirangam. Most of the schools have English as a medium of instruction. Some have Tamil as a medium of instruction, and some have both. There are many school children who travel to nearby Trichy also.
The nearest airport is Tiruchirappalli International Airport.
Srirangam has a railway station that can be reached from Chennai through any of the major trains travelling in the Chennai-Kanyakumari railway track and the approximate journey time from Chennai is about 5 hours and 10 minutes (320 km).
The Tiruchirappalli fort and Trichy junction which are the distance of 2 km and 8 km serves as connection point to many destinations in southern India, such as Thanjavur, Chidambaram, Madurai, Tirupathi, Tuticorin, Tenkasi, Quilon, Rameswaram, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Mysore, Kochi, Kanyakumari and Mangalore. It also connects to some northern Indian cities like Delhi.
Trichy Central bus stand has direct services to most parts of Tamil Nadu. From the bus stand, tourists can avail local buses, taxi, auto rickshaw to reach Srirangam.
City Bus service to all places of tourist interest from Central Bus Stand and from Chinthamani -Main Guard Gate Bus Stand (Both in Trichy). Tourist Taxis andAuto Rickshaws are also available at reasonable rates.
Route No. 1 of the City bus service runs between Srirangam and Central Bus stand. This route starts from Trichy Central Bus Stand and goes via Trichy Junction Railway Station, Palakkarai Rettai pillaiyar Kovil street, Main Guard Gate, Chatram Bus Stand, Cauvery River Bridge, Mambazha salai, Thiruvanaikkovil and ends at Srirangam Bus Stand near the Srirangam Therkku vaasal (South entrance to the temple).
There is a bus for every 5 minutes and there are late night trips also, once in every one hour or so.
The climate of Trichy (and Srirangam) is Tropical. Average Temperature Range (°C): Summer- Max. 37.1 °C Min. 26.4 °C; Winter- Max. 31.3 °C Min. 20.6 °C; Rainfall: 835 mm
- Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple website
- India By Sarina Singh, Joe Bindloss, Paul Clammer, Janine Eberle
- "List of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies" (PDF). Tamil Nadu. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
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