Historical Significance of Srirangam Temple - Swikriti's Blog

Historical Significance of Srirangam Temple

Also known as Sri Ranganathaswamy temple and Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Srirangam Temple is an eminent Vaishnav temple of India. It is considered to be the largest Hindu temple of India, spreading across an area of 166 acres. Srirangam temple is of great religious importance as it is considered to be the first of the 108 Divya Desams (holy abodes) of Lord Vishnu. This grand temple is devoted to Lord Ranganatha, a reclining form of Lord Vishnu on Shesh Nag. 

Now, a little bit about the Srirangam Temple History.

  • Mythological History:

Legend has it that Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, used to worship the main idol of Lord Ranganatha. The main idol was then presented to the King of Heaven, Lord Indra. When Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, Lord Indra handed it over to Lord Rama as a gift. Vibhishana, who helped Lord Rama in the war against Ravana, requested him to gift him the idol of Lord Ranganatha during his Pattabhishekam (crowning ceremony of King). Lord Rama agreed to his request and gifted him the idol. He was told not to place the idol on the ground. On his way back to Lanka, he stopped at Srirangam to take a bath and worship the deity of Anant Sesa. After performing the pooja, he tried to lift his Vimana but it wouldn’t move. It was stuck to the ground and hence was made the humble abode of Lord Ranganatha. The temple was then religiously maintained by Ikshvaku Kings and his successors.   

  • Based on Inscriptions:

Archaeological inscriptions and some historical pieces of evidence prove that the temple was established in the 1st Century during the Sangam period. The inscriptions that range from 9th to 16th centuries suggest that it was under the influence of early Cholas, Pallavas, Hoysala and Vijaynagar dynasties who ruled the area over time.

Malik Kafur, Alauddin Khilji’s general, visited the area in 1311 and took the golden idol of the deity to Delhi after destroying the temple. Legend has it that the devotees of the deity went to Delhi, sang and danced in front of Khilji to impress him. The idol was then returned to the devotees after Khilji was impressed.

The Srirangam temple was again invaded and the idols of Vishnu and Laxmi were taken to separate locations. Almost 13,000 devotees of Sri Vaishnav died in the battle of defending this temple.

The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is an architectural grandeur and the largest functioning religious complex of the world. Srirangam temple is more of a temple-town and holds a prestigious place in the Vaishnavite culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.