Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Probably the most sacred Vaishnavite temple, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is situated at Srirangam, in Trichy district of Tamil Nadu State. There are 108 holy Vaishnavite shrines, and this is considered as the most prominent of them all.

Ranganathaswamy Temple

Now let us go through a fascinating story of how the temple got established. According to the Sriranga Mahatmyam, Lord Rama in spite of being an avatar of Lord Vishnu worshipped the idol of Vishnu. After killing Ravana at Lanka and rescuing his consort Sita Devi [Goddess], he gave the idol to Vibhishana, brother of Asura Ravana for helping him fighting his own brother. Vibhishana taking the idol to Srilanka stopped en-route at the banks of River Cauvery at Srirangam and kept the idol down. He did his routine pooja of the idol and while trying to lift the idol and continue his journey to Sri Lanka, he was not able to lift it as if it is jinxed to be fixed there. At the same moment, Lord Vishnu appeared and said he wants to stay at Srirangam as Ranganathaswamy. He was convinced by the penance did by King Dharma Varma to have Lord Ranganatha stay at Srirangam. He promised Vibhishana to set his divine glance over Sri Lanka, and that is why the Ranganatha Idol is facing south.

In the Tamil epic “Silapathikaram”, there is a point where it describes Lord Vishnu reclining on the banks of River Cauvery, which is interpreted as the Ranganathaswamy of Srirangam. The idol remained on the banks for a long time with lush forest overgrowing it. It was a Chola ruler who accidently found the idol and built one of the wonders of the world, the awe-inspiring Ranganathaswamy Temple around it. There are Cholan inscriptions found inside the temple accompanied by inscriptions of Pandya, Hoysala and Vijayanagara who succeeded Tiruchirappalli rule respectively.

The temple architecture is classic Dravidian. It spans over an area of 156 acres, which makes it the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world. The striking feature of the temple is its main entrance, the Rajagopuram [royal temple tower] which stands 72 m above the ground and poses its tremendous might and splendor. With 7 defensive walls built of granite stones and 21 ornamented Gopurams [towers] carved with Puranic [ancient] legends and mythological images, this magnificent art work of the temple astonish anybody who visits the temple for the first time. Other attractions of the Ranganathaswamy Temple are the 1000 pillared hall, the Garuda Mandap and the Sesha Mandap. Considering the standards, it is definitely one of the greatest architectural marvels found anywhere on the face of planet Earth.

Major Festivals

The most prominent celebrated festival is the 21 days long Vaikunta Ekadasi [Festival of Paradise] conducted during mid- December. The famous Vaishnavite text, Thiruvaimozhi is recited in front of an image of Lord Vishnu. The traditional Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the Paguni month [March-April]. Another important and crowded gathering is during the Ratholsavam [Temple Chariot Festival] when the deities inside the temple are mounted on a well decorated chariot and is paraded around the temple. It is held annually during the month of January.

Temple Timings

The temple timings are as follows:

6:00 AM – 7:15 AM (Viswaroopa Seva)

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

1:15 PM – 6:00 PM

6:45 PM – 9:00 PM

Below are the various pooja timings

Seva / Pooja Name - Performed To
Tulasi Archana - Sri Ranganathaswamy
Kunkumarchana - Sri Ranganayaki Amman
Sahasra namarchana - Sri Ranganathaswamy and Sri Ranganayaki Amman
Utsavara Abhishekam
Suttlagudi Abhishekam Venkataramana Swamy, Sri Ranganayaki Amman, Shree Anjaneya,
Shree Garuda and Shree Narasimha Swamy
Chathurveedi Uthsava Sri Ranganathaswamy
Prakar otsava Sri Ranganathaswamy

How to Reach?

By Air:

The nearest airport is the Trichy International Airport, just 11 kms away from the temple. After landing at the Trichy airport, grab a taxi to the temple or board in a government bus.

By Rail:

The Tiruchirappalli Junction Railway Station is 7 kms away from the temple. There are a lot of trains from various parts of the country to Trichy, or passing via Trichy. After getting down at the station, grab a taxi or board in a government bus to the Ranganathaswamy Temple.

By Road:

Trichy is well connected by the National Highway as well as the Tamil Nadu State Highway. There are frequent bus services available to Trichy from all over South India. Get down at the Trichy Bus Stand and board in another bus to reach the Ranganathaswamy Temple.