Divya Darshan at Srirangam Temple

Having visited most part of Tamil Nadu in search of spirituality, I have explored some of the illustrious landmark sites before. It evidently brings about a feeling of accomplishment when you are visiting historic religious sites, for the whacky fact that you have recorded your presence over there! It goes like that, having seen a lot of people who wish to visit Kailash Manasrovar once in a lifetime. The one thing that kept pricking me is Srirangam - been to Trichy twice, but skipped Srirangam from my itinerary due to time constraints.
Aranganthar Thirunamam

Though I missed the temple town twice earlier, I strongly believed that I did not have the fortune to receive the divine opportunity from the lord himself (praptham). This time around, everything had fallen into place and I felt that I am destined to visit Srirangam temple on this trip. The town is just about 14 km from the Tiruchirappalli Junction railway station and the Central Bus station. Better late than never, I simply thanked the almighty for the chance at least this time!

Srirangam Temple from Rock Fort Temple

My first view of the Rajagopuram from the Kaveri Bridge which is almost 4 km away made me speechless - a perfect instance of divine intervention! I made my next stop at Amma Mandapam Ghat for a holy dip in the Kaveri River before visiting the temple (1.5 km away from the temple). Taking the straight road from the ghat I landed in front of the Royal Temple Tower. I was flabbergasted to see the tallest temple tower in all of Asia, which is standing majestically for about 236 feet touching the sky!

Rajagopuram of Srirangam Temple

It is a popular belief in the town that the shoreline of Sri Lanka can be seen from the top of the tower. I took my time to explore the tower that is adorned with meticulously crafted sculptures. It was almost impossible to set the entire tower in my lens as I had to crouch on the road to catch its beauty. The way I photographed it by bending brought smiles to the passerby! But, truly it was a never-before seen shot for me.
Srirangam Temple Gopurams

My divine mood was perfectly set. As I moved ahead for a few hundred meters through the busy commercial place, the main entrance of the temple, widely called as ‘Ranga Ranga gopuram’ received me! In no time, I realized that I am up for something unique that the aura of the temple complex is beyond words. Just like the royal temple tower, everything inside the temple complex was massive! No wonder that Srirangam temple is regarded as the largest functioning temple in the globe.

Ranga Ranga Gopuram in Srirangam

After getting blessed by Andal - the temple elephant, I exchanged a few words with the divine-looking mahout to know more about the temple. The mahout was so friendly that he guided me about the important sannathis (deities) in the temple. The most important deities in the Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple are - (in no particular order)
  • Garudalwar Sannathi
  • Chakkarathazwar Sannathi
  • Presiding deity Aranganthar Sannathi
  • Thanvanthiri Sannathi
  • Thayar Sannathi
  • Hygrevar Sannathi
  • Udayavar Sannathi
Each sannithi is so singular in its own way and the best among all the sannithis is of the primary deity Lord Aranganthar. Starting from the massive Garudalwar, I proceeded to the Chakkarathazwar Sannathi and had a great darshan. The next sannithi would be the 'much awaited' primary deity.
Aranganathar Swamy Deity
 
I chose to take the tickets for special darshan as I wanted to spend more time exploring each sannithis in the temple. The sanctum sanctorum is so subdued that no artificial lights were used. In less than a minute, I was quickly demanded to leave the privileged shrine. The Aranganthar darshan is nothing short of one-of-the-best-goose bump-moments of my life.
Golden Tower Srirangam

On my way out, the gold plated gopuram of Sanctum sanctorum (fenced by electric wiring) literally stunned me for a good 2 minutes. I followed the signboards carefully to reach the Thayar Sannathi (Aranganayagi) which is a separate temple, located at the other end of the temple complex. The distance was so long that I felt like walking to a new locality! If eminent ceilings and majestic columns are amazing, the stupefying paintings on those ceilings will undoubtedly amaze you more.
Srirangam Temple Prakaram

After visiting all the sannithis, exploring various monumental mandapams, breathtaking sculptures, walking through the largest temple in the world, I finally decided to take some rest in the spacey manalveli inside the temple. After spending some quality time in the malaveli, I ended up at the prasadham (sacred food) counter as I was not able to listen to my stomach growling anymore! Even though the food counter showcased just three dishes; Puliyodarai (Tamarind Rice), Sakkarai Pongal (Sweet Pongal) and Curd Rice, for a moment I thought that this might be the aroma coming out from the heaven!
Srirangam Temple Architecture

I was not able to end with just one round of prasadhams as it was too good to stop. While relishing, I got all those funny thoughts that it is worth a trip to this temple town just for this pleasant tasting prasadhams! Jokes apart, I cannot add anymore about this temple, except giving thanks to the Lord for giving me a chance to visit this Bhooloka Vaikuntam (heaven on earth).

Tidbits:

Significance: First and foremost among the 108 Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu

Architecture: Dravidian
Total Area of the Temple: 6,31,000 Sqm (156 Acres)
The temple is enclosed by 7 prakarams (concentric walls)
21 Gopurams
39 Pavilions
50 Shrines
Thousand Pillars Hall
Several Temple Tanks (inside the temple complex)

Location and Contact Details:
Sri Ranganathar Swamy Temple
Srirangam, Trichy - 620 006
Phone Number: +91 - 431 -2432246
Email: srirangamtemple@gmail.com

Daily Pooja Schedule (Sri Ranganathar Sannathi):
Viswaroopa Seva -     06:00 am to 07:15 am
Darshan Timings - 09:00 to 12:00 Noon, 01:15 pm to 05:45 pm, 06:45 pm to 08:45 pm
Viswaroopa Seva: Rs. 50 per head
Special Seva: Rs. 250 per head
Note: No Darshan after 08:45 pm at Sanctum Sanctorum     

Daily Pooja Schedule (Thayar Sannathi):
Viswaroopa Seva - 06:30 am to 08:00 am
Darshan Timings - 08:45 to 01:00 pm, 03:00 pm to 06:00 pm, 06:45 pm to 09:00 pm
Viswaroopa Seva: Rs. 50 per head
Special Seva: Rs. 250 per head

Note: Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum

Santosh Kumar, a freelance journalist shared his experience of Divya Darshan at Srirangam Temple with us.


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