The first of the Vaishnava temples in south India, the Sri Rangam temple is the premier amongst the 108 Vaishnava divyadesas. The Vaishnava Acharyas made it the head quater of the Vaishnava movement. In present times the temple is managed by the Vaishnava Acharyas from the place Nathumani. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the entire Universe.
Lord Rudra narrated the origin of the Sri Ranga temple to Naradamuni. According to it, the temple sprang as a result of the tapas or meditation of Lord Brahma in the depth of the Milky ocean. Pleased with the devotion of Buddha, Lord Vishnu came in front of him as an idol in a vimana.. The Idol was borne by the celestial bird Garuda while Adishesha spreads its hood over it. The sun god and the moon god were seen fanning the deity. The celestial musicians Narada and Thumburu followed them singing his glory. The other devtas including Rudra raised the Jayaghosas.
When Brahma aroused from his meditation, he found Lord Vishnu in front of him in the Garuda vimana. It was then that Lord Vishnu informed him of his new form as a Swayamuyakta or an idol, Hence, the temple sprang up in devotion to lord Vishnu on the particular place. Further the lord said that there would be 8 such temples apart from Srirangam which are Srimushnam, Venkatadri, Saligram, Naimisaranya, Totadri, Pushkara and Badri.
The enormous temple consists of a 156 acres of land having large Prakaras or Enclosures called as Tiru Veedhis. The temple in total consists of 7 concentric walls and 21 towers or gopurams The enclosures are built by thick rampart walls covering the sanctum. The seven walls stretches a distance of nearly six miles. Towers to the top of the prakaras are a wonderful sight to the visitors.
A latest addition to the temple is the 236 feet structure of Rajagopuram on the southern rampart by Sri Ahobila Mutt. The structure of the deity was placed in the year 1987 with pomp and religious piety. There is a grand hall of about 1000 beautifully structured pillars believed to have been constructed between the 14th and the 17th century. Non Hindus are not allowed the innermost sanctum of the temple.
Daily Chores in the Temple
Worship to the deity goes on from morning till evening every day. The atmosphere is filled with devotion and dedication to the almighty. Complete silence prevail in the inner sanctum which glows with the diyas and the fragnance of the incense sticks.
On the 120th day of the year, the Utsavmaurthy is taken out for procession from its inner sanctum. The Aadi Bharam motsavam is celebrated in the month of Panguni while the great Adhyayanotsavam is performed in the month of Margazhi. The echoes of the recitation of the Prabandham hymns or the Alwar Pasurams can be heard within the thousand pillars.
How to reach
» By Air : Tiruchirapalli is well connected to Chennai, Madurai, Bangalore and Colombo in Sri Lanka. The airport is 07 kms from the city .
» By Rail : Tiruchirappalli is an important junction of the Southern Railways. It connects Chennai, Thanjur, Chidambaram and Madurai.
» By Road : Tiruchirappalli is well connected by road to Madurai, Chennai, Pondicherry and Thanjavur.