Srirangam Temple: History, Architecture, and Importance

Srirangam Temple: History, Architecture, and Importance

People usually call Srirangam, a city famous for its temples, Bhooloka Vaikuntham, which means “Paradise on earth.” It was Thirumangai Alvar who said that the other “divya desams” are like grounds around the main house, which is Srirangam (Aramam Soozhnda Arangam). While worshiping the Lord at the other divya de-sams, followers chant the following words, which show how important Srirangm is as a holy center. 

About 8 km away from Tiruchirappalli is Srirangam. That beautiful island is in the middle of two rivers, the Kaveri and the Coleroon. These two rivers form a beautiful wreath around the temple town.
Three things about this town stand out:. A place’s “sthala visesham” is its meaning. The idol’s “Murthy visesam” is its meaning. Finally, the holy tank’s “Thirtha visesam” is its meaning. A very small number of divya de-sams have all three of these unique qualities.

Srirangam Temple Significance and History

The Srirangam temple is the biggest and oldest temple in the country. It is spread out over 156 acres and is quite large. One of the early works by Sangam in Tamil called Ahananuru talks about Arangam and the Panguni holiday of that temple. Ahananuru was built in the first three or four hundred years of the Christian era. There is a famous Tamil epic called Silappadikaram that talks about this temple and its idol, which is Lord Ranganatha. It was written during the later Sangam period.

The temple is also talked about in old Sanskrit texts. This Lord at Srirangam is talked about in the Valmiki Ramayana, the Padma, and the Matsya puranas. There are many mentions to this temple in the Sanskrit hagiography called Prappannamrutham.A book from the 1400s called Lakshmi Kavyam talks about the marriage of Uriyur valli to Lord Ranganatha in heaven. It also goes into great depth about the Adi Brahmotsavam festival that celebrates this event. Other works, like the Maduravijayam and the Saluvab-hyudayam, talk about when Muslims took over the temple and how the Vijayanagar kings later fixed it up.
So, it’s clear that the building is very old.This is a special place because all the Alvars have sung praises to the Lord here. This is where Thondaradipodi Alvar lived for a long time. Ramanuja, a famous Vaishnavite philosopher, also lived here for a long time, and there is written proof that he gave detailed instructions on how to celebrate the festivals (called “utsavams”) and perform the different rituals. He has also organized the different types of temple workers into groups and written down what each group is supposed to do in the neat way of a supervisor. Therefore, Ramanuja was the first person to set the rules for tightening up the management of the temple. These rules are still carefully followed today, and if there are any questions about the rituals, they are based on what the great Ramanuja said. In the temple, there is a statue of this great Acharya. People often call the statue “Than ana Tirumeni.”(the body he took on) Some Vaishnavite religious leaders who were born here are Bhattar Pi-ran, Pillai Ulagacharyar, and Peria Nambi. This is where famous saints like Nathamunigal and Sri Alavandar lived and preached the gospel. The well-known Tamil poet Kamban published his work “Ramayana” at Srirangam, where Nathamunigal was present. This is also the spot where three famous women who loved the Lord found forgiveness and joined with the Lord. One was Sultani, a princess from Morocco who was the daughter of a Delhi Badsha.

Her name is Thulukka Nachiar. The second one was Chola Kulavalli, who was the daughter of Chola king Dharma Varma.Her name is Woraiyur Nachiar. The third is Chera Kulavalli, who is the daughter of Chera king Kulasekara. You can also find Manavala Mamuni in this temple town. He told Uthama Nambi that he was an “avatar” of Adisesha, Lord Narayana’s holy serpent-couch. Also, this is where Manavala Mamuni, the last of the famous line of “poorvacharyas,” said “Tiruvaimozhi” over and over again to help Lord Ranganatha. People think that Lord Ranganatha called Manavala Mamuni one day and asked him to chant “Tiruvaimozhi,” a song that moves the heart. As a result, there were talks in the Peria Mantapam for almost a year. A lot of people think that Lord Ranganatha and Ilis Divine Consort were in the august assembly all year and heard these talks. All the other events were put on hold for that year. After Manavala Mamuni finished reciting the last line in Tiruvaimozhi, Lord Ranganatha took the form of a young boy, bowed down to Mamuni, and spoke in His own voice.

Srirangam Temple Mythology and History

The Brahmanda Purana says that Lord Siva told Narada the mythological story of this divya kshetram. It says that Srirangam is the kshetram that has received the full blessing of Goddess Lakshmi Devi. This means that everyone who visits the place will receive the full kataksham (blessing) of the Goddess and the cycle of births and deaths, along with all the pain and bad things that come with living in this world. The mythology of this place is very long and very interesting, but because of the limits of space, this article only tries to pique readers’ interest and give a general idea of the story. Anyone who wants a more in-depth account is encouraged to read the original sources. Some of the legendary stories can be read in “koil olugu.” The Koil Olugu is the history of this well-known temple in Sirangam. It lists all the gifts that kings and queens from different times gave to the building. It ties together the different Vaishnava Acharyas with the land’s rulers and gives a full account of the temple’s stuff.

“Olugu” refers to a list or record. The word “Koil” means the Srirangam temple. The ma-nipravala style is used to write the olugu. Even though the olugu isn’t perfect when it comes to order and timing, it is still a useful record of the temple’s past. It’s also been said in some stories that the place is linked to folk tales and songs. There is historical evidence to support some of these. Some of them aren’t. Not analyzing the mythological stories in terms of how well they fit with history is not the best way to find spiritual comfort. Instead, it is better to accept the stories that are woven around the place and let religion, mythology, folklore, and Vaisnava hagiologies take the lead.

Near by places to visit

  1. Samayapuram Mariamman Temple
  2. Rockfort Temple