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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Holy darshan of Sri Nam Perumal at Thiruvarangam Periya Kovil

In life there are moments, when you feel extremely elated ~ one explicable moment is when you have darshan at Thiruvarangam of Nam Perumal … the very thought of Sri Rangam and touching the soil of Thiruvarangam would sure give us great joy….  as one travels with the purpose of worshipping at Booloka Vaikuntham [the heavenly abode of Lord Maha Vishnu on this earth] – one’s heart jumps with joy….. as you get closer in physical proximity, you start thinking and looking for the view of Raja Gopuram….. for some the expectations start even as the train traverses Ariyalur, Lalgudi etc., ~ had the pleasure of worshipping Lord Ranganathar and Ranganayaki Thayar recently…..  In the words of Thondaradipodi Azhwar

கங்கையில் புனித மாய காவிரி நடுவு பாட்டு *
பொங்குநீர் பரந்து பாயும் பூம்பொழிலரங்கந்தன்னுள்
எங்கள் மாலிறைவனீசன் கிடந்ததோர் கிடக்கை கண்டும்
எங்ஙனம் மறந்து வாழ்கேன் ஏழையேனேழையேனே.

-           This place lies surrounded by river Kaveri which is considered more sacred than the most sacred Ganges; the place that flourishes with the new waters of Kaveri has beautiful orchards and abundance of greenery.  In this Arangam is situated the greatest Temple for the Lord in reclining posture; the one who is most benevolent and most affectionate to his Bakthas – Lord Ranganatha; a mere glimpse of His Lord would ensure that the devotee would never would want to be away from this holy land. 

It is a city by itself …. The glorious Thiruvarangam… 21 Gopurams – 7 prakarams …. ~reverred as ‘The Kovil’ by all Sri Vaishnavaites – it is  ‘Thiruvarangam (Srirangam)’ an island created by Coleroon [kollidam] and Kaveri.  The Sanctity of a Temple is accorded on the basis of its threefold popularity of the Presiding Deity, the quality of the holy waters and its religiously significant  past. So many acharyas have lived here dedicating themselves in the service of the Lord. A temple sung by 11 Azhwars [mangalasasanam], this temple occupies an area of 156 acres making it the largest temple in India.  Lush green mango groves, banana gardens, Coconut groves, tall fortified walls – all add color to the island.

Besides the main sannathi of Lord Ranganatha; Sri Ranganayaki Thayar; there are important sannathis of  biggest Garudar; Sri Ramanujar ; Sri Sudarsanar; Swami Nammalwar; many many Acharyars including Swami Desikan and Swami Manavala Mamunigal; Danvanthiri ….. and more….. the entire temple complex is full of architectural marvel.

The temple of Sri Ranganathaswami at Srirangam boasts an historic past of great kingdom and a civilization thousands of years old. It has flourished through various dynasties though the invasion of Malikapur was a dark era.  At that time,  Pillai Lokacharyar [Pillai Ulagaryar] who was already 60+ by historical accounts along with his disciples Kura Kulothama dhasar and other committed devotees, traversed miles carrying Arangan to safety as many thousands sacrificed their lives fighting for the divinity………….  When compared to the historical past of the temple, the Rajagopuram is of much recent origin, having been completed and renovated in 1985 with great efforts of many Seers.  The Rajagopuram is 236 feet height with its 13 tiers with gopuram's base measuring  166 feet by 97 feet ~ a great engineering marvel of recent times.   The massive Rajagopuram can be seen and worshipped from every nook and corner of Thiruvarangam and beyond.  

There are many ponds nearer the  temple ponds too – of which Chandra Pushkarini and Surya pushkarini are important.  The Surya pushkarini is situated nearer Garuda mandapam – is about 500 sq. ft. in area. Over the years, it got dilapidated and the thick growth of vegetation including a tree, weakened the structure… it was a happy sight to note that renovation work is underway now.

The great Sri Vaishnava Acharya Sri Ramanujar [Emperumanar, Udayavar, Yathirajar] lived here-  resuscitating and reinvigorating Sri Vaishnavism; streamlining the administration and doing many kainkaryams to the Perumal.  It is also the place of many of our Acharyars including – Sri Parasara Battar, Nanjeeyar, Nampillai, Vadakku Thiruveethi pillai, Swami Desikar,  Pillai Ulagariyar [Pillai Logacharyar]; Kura Kulothama dhasar, Swami Varavara Muni [Sri Manavala Mamunigal] and more………. It is place which links us to the past and still maintains most of the traditional and heritage values.

Some photos taken during this trip as also a photo of Num Perumal [Lord Ranganathar – uthsavar] taken on an earlier occasion by a good friend of mine are posted here.

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.
10th July 2013..
another view of Rajagopuram and
intricate pillars near 1000 kaal mandapam

 Emperumanar sannathi and Lord Ranganatha [below]

vellai gopuram [white tower] 
and pond Surya pushkarini - below 
 maada veethi  -- see its vast expanse and row cocount trees

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