Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple Srirangam
The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple akaThiruvarangam located in Srirangam is a Hindu temple devoted to Ranganatha, a reclining form of Hindu idol, Vishnu.
It has been constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture and this temple is glorified in the Thiviya Pirabandham, the early medieval Tamil literature. The temple follows Thenkalai tradition of worship.
The temple is also mentioned in Tamil works of literature of the Sangam era, including the epic Silapadikaram. It is one of the most eminent Vaishnava temples in South India affluent in legend and history.
Being located on an island in River Cauvery, it has been vulnerable due to natural disasters and has been ruined of invading armies – Muslim and European –, which repeatedly seized the site for military encampment.
The main entrance, known as the Rajagopuram (the royal temple tower), rises from the base area of around 5720 sq ft and goes up to 237 feet high moving up in eleven progressively smaller tiers.
The temple enclosed by seven concentric walls termed as prakarams and there are 21 gopurams or tower gateways.
The Hall of 1000 pillars (actually 953) is a fine example of a planned theatre-like structure and opposite to it is the “Sesha Mandap”. The 1000-pillared hall made of granite was constructed in the Vijayanagara period (1336–1565) on the site of the old temple.
The shrine over the sanctum sanctorum, the Ranga vimana is shaped like om symbol and is plated with gold.
The annual 21-day festival conducted during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December–January) attracts 1 million visitors.
Srirangam temple is listed as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world, the still larger Angkor Wat being the largest existing temple.
The inscriptions in the temple belong to the Chola, Pandya, Hoysala and Vijayanagar dynasties who successively swayed the destinies of the Tiruchirapalli district.
They range in date between the 9th and 16th centuries and are registered by the ephigraphical society
The temple occupies an area of 156 acres with a perimeter of 10,710 feet making it the largest temple in India and one of the largest religious complexes in the world.