Lord Vishnu - Srirangam Temple

History of Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam

Posted on Feb 03, 2020

Srirangam is a mesmerizing island formed by the splitting of the majestic Kaveri River into two – the Kaveri and the Kollidam. Located in the Tiruchirapalli region of Tamil Nadu, Srirangam is celebrated as a temple town and home to the famous Sri Ranganathaswamy temple, which is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha, the resting form of Lord Vishnu. Over the years, the temple has gained a reputation of not just being a sacred place of pilgrimage but also a reminiscent of ancient Indian heritage and culture.

Sri Ranganathaswamy temple attracts millions of tourists from all over the world due to its rich history and architectural masterpiece. So, if you are someone who loves to dive deep into history, then you should definitely visit Srirangam temple.

It is constructed in the ancient Dravidian style of architecture with 7 concentric walled sections and 21 tower gates (gopurams). The Rajagopuram located in the south of the temple is the tallest in Asia and stands at an astonishing height of 239.5 ft.

Historic significance

As per historians, the temple's history dates to the 3rd century B.C. Other findings suggest that the temple was built in the 9th century A.D. by the Gangas, a ruling dynasty that thrived on the banks of Kaveri. Being an island lodged between two rivers, it was invaded several times but managed to remain an influential center for the growing Bhakti movement.

Recently, Srirangam temple was lauded by the international body for undertaking renovation and beautification work without harming its centuries-old heritage. The historic Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple became a national symbol of conserving cultural heritage and bagged an Award of Merit from UNESCO.

Srirangam temple has a total of 247 pasurams (divine hymns) against its name. Great Acharyas of all schools of thought- Advaita, Dvaita, and Vishistadvaita have recognized the immense significance of the temple.

Inscriptions and frescoes

The inscriptions in this temple are linked to the Chola, Pandya, Hoysala, and Vijayanagar dynasties who ruled over the region. These inscriptions date to eras between 9th to 16th centuries. Written in six major Indian languages: Tamil, Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, and Odia, the inscriptions here have gone on to become a great source of information about South Indian history, culture, economy, and social role. Many of the inscriptions are in Grantha characters too. Some of the corridors and mandapam of the temple complex have faded frescoes that narrate Hindu legends, mythologies, or scenes relating to Vaishnava scholars.

The Srirangam temple complex includes huge medieval era Kottarams or granaries and it is said that these provided food reserves and security to the needy travelers, pilgrims, and local population. The temple structure is said to have supported various aspects of social life. The temple inscriptions even state that its premises had an arokyashala (hospital) for those needing medical care.

This temple of Lord Vishnu has a lot to offer in terms of beauty, history and heritage. Witnessing the beauty of this temple will transport you to its rich historic times, making your trip quite a remarkable one.