The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Ranganatha, a form of the Supreme God, Maha Vishnu, located in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India. Constructed in the Dravidian architectural style, the temple is glorified by Alvars in their Divya Prabhanda and has the unique distinction of being the foremost among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu.
The Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam, also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, is located about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) north of the city of Tiruchirappalli.
The Temple was first Built by Dharma varma chola Then, Later Kaveri river flood destroyed the temple vimanam and later the Early Cholas King Killivalavan Rebuilt the temple complex present today. These inscriptions range in date between the 9th and 16th centuries.
During the period of invasion and plunder by the Ala ud Din Khilji’s Muslim general Malik Kafur and his Delhi Sultanate forces in 1311, the Arabic texts of the period state that he raided a “golden temple” on river “Kanobari” (Kaveri), destroyed the temple and took the plunder with the golden icon of the deity to Delhi. To console the daughter, the Sultan sent in his army again to bring it back, but this time they were not successful. According to other versions, the Muslim daughter followed the icon from Delhi to Srirangam on a horse, symbolizing that love brought back the icon after the war had taken it away.
The temple has 17 major gopurams (towers, 21 total),[note 3] 39 pavilions, 50 shrines, 9 sacred water pools, Ayiram kaal mandapam (a hall of 1000 pillars) and several small water bodies inside.
The temple is aligned to the north-south and east-west axis, on an island surrounded by the Kaveri River. In particular, these shrines celebrate and commemorate the Tamil poet-saints and philosophers called the Alvars, as well Hindu philosophers such as Ramanuja and Manavala Mamunigal of Sri Vaishnavism tradition.
Despite the construction of various mandapas and gopuras over a span of many centuries, the architecture of the Ranganathaswamy temple is one of the better illustrations of Hindu temple planometric geometry per agama design texts in the Tamil tradition.
The sanctum does not show Brahma coming out of or connected to his navel either. However, the procession images of Sridevi, Bhudevi and Alagiyamanavalan reside within the sanctum in different places to ease their darshana (viewing).
Ranganayaki (Lakshmi) shrine is in the second precinct of the temple.
- Thousand pillar mandapam is a theatre like structure made from granite. It was built during the Vijayanagara rule period. It has a central wide aisle with seven side aisles on each side with pillars set in a square pattern.
- Sesharaya mandapam is the intricately carved hall built during the Nayaka rule period. It is found on the east side of the fourth prakaram courtyard. The northern side of this community hall has 40 leaping animals with riders on their back, all carved out of monolithic pillars.
There are 21 gopurams (tower gateways), among which the towering Rajagopuram (shrine of the main gateway) is the tallest temple tower in Asia. The Vellai gopura (white tower) on the east side of the fourth enclosure has a steep pyramidal superstructure that reaches a height of almost 44 metres (144 ft).
The structure of the Rajagopuram remained incomplete for over 400 years. The Rajagopuram was consecrated on 25 March 1987. The length and breadth at the base of the Rajagopuram is 166 and 97 feet (50.6 and 29.6 m), while the length and breadth at the top is 98 and 32 feet (29.9 and 9.8 m).
The temple celebrates numerous festivals around the year including processions. These are called utsavam (celebrations).