March 21, 2010

A 9th century ancient and huge temple - Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangapatna, Near Mysore, India

After you visit Mysore Palace, Mysore Zoo, Chamundi hills, and Brindavan Gardens in Mysore, the heritage city of India, you should also visit the nearby towns such as Somnathpur, Talakad and Srirangapatna, the historical towns of Karnataka state of India. Srirangapatna town, which is popular due to its Tipu Sultan connection and history, got its name due to the huge ancient temple of Sri Ranganathaswamy temple located here.

Ranganathaswamy temple is the dominating site of Srirangapatna, even though there are other historically important sites such as Tipu's Summer Palace aka Daria Daulat Palace, Juma Masjid, Tipu's tomb, and Tipu's fort. Ranganathaswamy temple of Srirangapatna was built by a Ganga chieftain named Tirumalayaraya in 894 CE. Even though this temple was built by the Gangas, you can find a lot of contributions and expansions to the structure by Hoysalas, Vijayanagara kings and Mysore Wodeyar kings.

Almsot all the major islands formed in the Cauvery (Kaveri) river have temples to Lord Sri Ranganathaswamy (Vishnu in the reclining posture). The three towns, which are the islands formed in the Cauvery river, which constitute the main pilgrimage centers dedicated to Ranganathaswamy, are:

Adi Ranga - at Srirangapatna
Madhya Ranga - at Shivanasamudra
Antya Ranga - at Srirangam

Sri Ranganathaswamy is the presiding deity of the temple. The main shrine of the temple has the idol of Ranganathaswamy, the form of Lord Vishnu in the reclining posture on the coils of the serpent Adi Sesha. Ranganathaswamy idol of this temple is the largest Ranganathaswamy idol in the entire state of Karnataka. The main entrance of the temple has four pillars sculpted with 24 forms of Lord Vishnu. It was constructed during Vijayanagara period. Apart from this, most of the pillars of this temple are in the unique Hoysala style. You know, the pillars of Hoysala kings are always unique and stylish. In front of the main shrine you can find the ancient monolithic Garuda stambha of Vijayanagara period.

Ranganayaki is the main goddess of the temple. She has a separate shrine in the temple. Apart from the shrines of Ranganath and Ranganayaki, there are other shrines such as Narasimha and Sudarshana back to back, Gopalakrishna, Srinivasa, Rama with Sita, Lakshman, Hanuman, Ramanuja, and Garuda.

The temple is big in size with big prakara (corridor surrounding the temple) and big complex wall surrounding the temple complex. The temple tower (Rajagopura) which is visible from almost any part of the town has a stunning figure and it is architecturally very beautiful.

Go and visit this beautiful temple of 9th century when you happen to visit Bangalore or Mysore.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Ranganathaswamy Temple
Site Type: Ancient temple
Highlights: One of the three main pilgrimages of Sriranganath; 9th century ancient temple built by Gangas; the biggest idol of Ranganathaswamy in the state of Karnataka
Location: 18 kms from Mysore, Karnataka state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Srirangapatna
Nearest Airport: Bangalore (around 170 kms)
Local Transport: Easily reachable from Mysore; there are lot of private and government buses
Hotel: There are few good hotels at Srirangapatna; If you are looking for good cheap and budget hotels, it is better to go with hotels of Mysore or hotels of Bangalore
Restaurants: There are few good restaurants available in Srirangapatna; better options are available in Bangalore or Mysore

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