Posted on Nov 03, 2021
A beautiful river island, Srirangam, is nestled between the river Kaveri and its tributary Kollidam river in the Tiruchirappalli district of Tamil Nadu. During ancient times, Srirangam was known as Vellithirumuthagramam and is now popularly called Thiruvarangam in the Tamil language. It is dotted with ancient temples and shrines because of which pilgrims flock here all year round. The island town is especially sacred to the Vaishnavas because Lord Vishnu’s Renganathar avatar has been honoured with a temple here. Surrounded by seven walls, Srirangam has an enchanting, mystical aura that also draws tourists worldwide. Many festivals are hosted throughout the year, the most prominent and popular being the Vaikunta Ekadasi festival. However, if one wishes to avoid the crowd, they can visit during any other time and enjoy the serene beauty and mythical architecture of Srirangam.
Srirangam is popularly known as the temple town, and rightly so. It has numerous temples dotting its landscape and is an important Vaishnav pilgrimage. It also has other temples dedicated to various Hindu gods and goddesses. Here is a look at the Srirangam tourist places that one can visit during their stay.
Srirangam Temple of Sri Ranganathaswamy is the most important and famous temple of this temple town. It is dedicated to Ranganathan, the reclining form of Lord Vishnu. According to a Hindu legend, a Gandharva saw the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Kaveri, and Saraswati playing in the Himalayas and offered his respect. Seeing this, they started arguing amongst themselves about whom did the Gandharva worship. While Yamuna and Saraswati let it be, Ganga and Kaveri approached Lord Vishnu for an answer. Ganga asserted that she has originated from the Lord’s feet, so she is the most important river. However, Kaveri disagreed and performed penances to please him. This pleased Lord Vishnu greatly and said he would lie down on her banks, and she will flow like a garland on his chest. Thus, the Chola King Dharmavarman erected the temple of the reclining Lord Vishnu making it one of the popular places to visit in Srirangam.
Srirangam is said to be the first temple amongst the one hundred and eight Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu and foremost among the eight self-manifested shrines called Swayam Vykata Kshetras. It is one of the most illustrious Srirangam tourist places, rich with history and culture spanning centuries. This Dravidian temple is enclosed within seven walls, which represent the seven chakras of the human body. There is a total of twenty-one magnificent towers or gopurams throughout the wall. The Raja Gopuram standing at 72 metres is the tallest temple tower in Asia and houses the Ranganathan avatar of Lord Vishnu lying on the snake Anantha. It also has fifty smaller shrines, nine scared pools, a gilded Vimana or dome spotting its entire compound. The Srirangam temple also features fresco paintings, mandapams and mini-mandapams, kottarams or granaries, and inscriptions.
The second most popular of Srirangam places to visit, the Samaypuram Mariamman Temple, also has great religious significance to the locals as well as tourists. Almost a hundred devotees flock to the temple every day, and on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, there is a special puja that increases the footfalls considerably. Every year, during the months of April and May, a car festival is organized within the temple. Around February or March, they also host a Flower Festival locally referred to as Poochorithal.
If one is looking for places to visit in Srirangam, a noteworthy attraction would be the Rockfort Temple. Locally known as Malaikottai or Ucchi Pillaiyar Kovil, it used to be a military fort and temple complex built on an ancient rock. Following the Dravidian architecture, the Rockfort Temple is a beautiful specimen of ancient architecture with inscriptions on these rock walls. It is located on the other side of the Kaveri River in Trichy, approximately 16 minutes from Srirangam. The temple has 437 steps cut into the rock, which paves the way to the temple. Halfway up the walk is the Sri Thayumanaswamy Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Its structure includes a hundred pillared hall and a Vimana. Situated in the heart of the city Trichy, one can get an amazing view of the town, the rivers, and even the island of Srirangam.
Located in the village of Anbil, near Srirangam, Sri Vadivazhagiya Nambi Perumal Temple is another popular Srirangam tourist place. It is one of the 108 Divya Desam dedicated to Lord Vishnu, worshipped as Sundarajan. Built by the Cholas in the 8th century AD, this Hindu temple has many legends associated with it. Legends also say that Lord Shiva as Bikshadanehwarar paid a visit to this temple before leaving for Thirukandiyur. Lord Vishu here can be seen in a reclining posture accompanied by Sri Devi and Boo Devi.
Revel amidst flora and fauna in one of the unique Srirangam tourist places, the Butterfly Park. Situated about 5 kilometers from the town, it houses different varieties of butterflies. The whole park is also resplendent with flowers of different colours and types. It also has a children’s playground for the little ones to enjoy themselves, a water fountain, and an artificial lake with ducks and hanging bridges. After touring the temple complex, the Butterfly Park is an excellent place to relax and enjoy the calm of nature.
If one has covered all the Srirangam places to visit, an excellent nearby attraction is Rameshwaram. This world-famous place is approximately four and a half hours away. This quiet town is a part of Pamban Island and is connected to the mainland via the famous Pamban channel. It is one of the holiest places of the Hindus and an important pilgrimage dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. According to legends, Rameshwaram is where Lord Ram built the bridge to travel to Sri Lanka and rescue his wife, Sita. Every year, thousands of devotees, as well as tourists, flock to the Rameshwaram Temple. There are sixty-four holy water bodies, out of which twenty-four are considered very sacred, so much so that they are believed to wash away one’s sins. There are also many places in and around Rameshwaram that can be visited in a day. The weather is hot during summers and pleasant during winters, the latter being the ideal time to visit. It is also well-connected by railway. One can return to Srirangam after spending a couple of days or move on to other prominent tourist places from Rameshwaram. Hence this place is the perfect weekend getaway from Srirangam.