Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple or Tiruvarangam isHindu temple dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of Hindu deityVishnu located in SrirangamTiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India. We visited this temple in Sept 2010. Today let me share the mythological story related to this temple. 

Lord Brahma, the Lord of Creation in Hindu Mythology was once in a state of deep meditation and in His supreme trance got the gift of the Lord Vishnu's idol, "Ranga Vimana" and was told by the Supreme Lord that there would seven other appearance of such idols on earth - Srirangam, Srimushnam, Venkatadri, Saligram, Naimisaranya, Totadri, Pushkara and Badri. The idol was then passed over by Brahma to Viraja, Vaiswatha, Manu, Ishwaku and then finally descended to Rama. Lord Rama, himself an avatar of Vishnu worshipped the idol for a long time, and when he returned victoriously from Sri Lanka destroying Ravana, he gifted it to King Vibhishana as a token of appreciation for his support for Rama against his own brother, Ravana. 

When Vibhishana was going via Trichy enroute to Sri Lanka, he was tricked by Lord Vinayaka. Though Vibhishana supported Rama, he was basically an Asura, and hence the Devas wanted to stop this idea of an Asura taking Lord's supreme form to his Kingdom. They requested the help of the God of Happiness, Lord Vinayaka and the Lord accepted the plan. Vibhishana, while on the way back to his Kingdom, passed through Trichy, and wanted to take his bath in the river Kaveri and do his daily rituals. However, he was perplexed as the idol once placed in land, could never be removed and had to be in that place forever. 

As a solution, Vibhishana tried to find someone to hold the idol while he was taking bath and found under the disguise of a cowherd boy. As per the plan, when Vibhishana was fully into water, kept the idol firmly on the sand in the banks of Kaveri. On seeing this, the angry Vibhishana chased the boy to punish him, but the boy kept running and climbed over the rock near the Kaveri bank. Finally caught the boy and hit him on the fore-head, who then revealed himself to be Lord Vinayaka. Vibhishana immediately apologized and the Lord gave him his blessings after which Vibhishana continued on his way to Lanka. 

The place on which the Ranganathan idol was kept was later covered in deep forests due to disuse. It is discovered when a Chola king chasing a parrot finds the idol accidentally. He then establishes the Ranganathaswamy temple as one of the largest temple complexes in the world. The rock to which Vinayaka for escaping, now forms the famous temple of Uchi Pillayar Kovil.

Most dynasties that ruled the South (Dravidian land)- Cholas, Pandiyas, Hoysalas, Nayakkas - assisted renovation and assisted in the observance of the traditional customs. The temple finds mention in Tamil works of literature of the Sangam Era, including Silapadikaram, though archaeological inscriptions are available only from the 10th century AD.



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