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Srirangam – The Life and Times of a Temple Town in India
Early in the morning, Alamelu Sarangapani has a cup of coffee, completes her breakfast and travels to Ranganatha Swamy Temple in Srirangam with a small bucket of sourdough flour, which she will draw intricate patterns on the ground. Outside and inside the temple compound. Alamelu has been doing this since she came to Srirangam as an 18-year-old bride – she is now 62 years old. Karunakaran sits patiently against a pillar at the east entrance of the temple with a registered guide ID attached to his shirt. His waiting to guide pilgrims through Ranganatha Swamy. This was the only world he had known and wanted to know since the age of nine, when he first visited the temple with his father. There are more like Alamelu and Karunakaran in the temples of Srirangam where life and livelihood are closely related to the temples. The temple is the gateway to heaven.
South India is synonymous with Tamil Nadu, and Tamil Nadu immediately released images of temples. It is the only state where since ancient times the temples have been the town of Raison d’être. The Dravidian culture of Tamil Nadu originated and flourished in these temples and continues to do so even today. Tamil Nadu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of 8 temples, of which 3 are temples and 5 are stone temples! The temple, its legends, rituals, ceremonies and everything related to it build a matrix around which the whole city operates.
In Hinduism, all creation begins and ends with the Trinity, Brahma (creator), Vishnu (protector) and Shiva (destroyer), and Hindus are broadly divided into Shaiviite (followers of Shiva). ) And Vishnaviite (followers of Vishnu). The Vaishnavites hold Vishnu supreme, while in Shaivaites Shiva is the primus inter pares. The 108 temples in southern India are of the utmost importance to the Vaishnavites and Srirangam. It was here that one of the foremost Vaishnavaite saints, a woman called Godha Devi, was believed to have merged with idols and been saved.
Srirangam is only 8 km from Trichy, the main district of Tamil Nadu.
It is not very difficult to determine or locate the temple town in Tamil Nadu. Those who travel the streets can not miss the big advertisements with colorful pictures of the deities of a particular temple, while those who come by train are considered similar advertisements ( Even to a lesser extent) along the railway line as they are near the troubled station. . This is a unique temple art! If you miss these objects, you can always find the ceremonial towers or gopuras of the temple, which in the case of Srirangam can be seen from many kilometers away because it is the tallest in Asia.
Srirangam is rich in legends and myths. The statue, which is said to have risen from the Milky Way of the Celestial Ocean, is a huge black statue of Vishnu sitting on a sofa made by Adisesha, the divine serpent. The statue was received by Brahma and kept in prison until Vishnu in his incarnation, as Ream had given to Vipassana, the noble brother of the deceased demon king. Vibheesana expressed a desire to take it back to Sri Lanka. The Lord told him not to put it under any circumstances, because if it was put down it Will not be able to move out of that place. Vipassana kept it for worship, and it is certain that the idol is still rooted in place. It lived there for a long time, deep in the forest covered with plants, until the emperor of the Chaolao dharma dynasty Varman stumbled and built a shrine to protect.
Today, the Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy temple covers an area of 156 hectares, making it the largest Hindu temple in the world.
It has seven central walls and as many as 21 gopura towers or pyramids, a view that no temple guide will leave. . In fact, it is obligatory to climb up one floor to a wide terrace from where you can count the gopuras – all 21 of them. Gopuram or Rajagopuram grows to a height of 236 feet (72 meters). It is the tallest in Asia. The walls of the temple are decorated with stone pillars, decorated with intricate carvings of mythical figures and designs. There is a corridor with a thousand pillars (and each pillar is a work of art) ending in a hall, which means a place for concerts and dance performances. Looking at these intricate shapes, one wonders how the sculptors captured the details of such minutes, such as intricate folds of clothing, designs on ornaments, feathers, or details of horseshoes on rocks and stones. . When there is no electricity, no engine and no automation. It is a wonderful poem. In fact, when Karunakaran shows off a giant eagle Garuda that Vishnu rides, all we can do is look at it in amazement and amazement at its size and details!
The Srirangam temple is defined by its rituals. There is a festival every month of the Hindu calendar! In fact, the number of ceremonies at this temple is higher than the average across all other South Indian temples. Most important is placed on the conduct of these ceremonies according to the doctrines set by the Vedas and Agamas (Hindu scriptures). During the festival, deities are paraded around the city in elaborate chariots that religious people pull or carry on their shoulders. Effort is an offer and the opportunity to do so is considered a privilege. On the occasion of Vesak, which means spring, a procession is installed in the temple garden for nine days to Let him enjoy the flowers. The fire festival is between November and December, coinciding with the beginning of winter. Hundreds of lamps were lit inside and outside the temple, and church keepers read the temple records to the Lord. Vaikuntha Ekadasi, which falls between December and January, is the most important festival in Srirangam. Hindus believe that the gates of heaven remain open throughout the day, and any visit to any of Vishnu’s shrines on earth on that day guarantees access to heaven. The bus carries worshipers from far and near and waits for hours to see the statue. Preparations for Vikantha Eka here begin in October itself, when the first of the pillars All 47 of the “Manda Pham” (stages) were built in front of the priests who recited the Holy Dharma. Each festival in Srirangam is a vision of the glory of the ceremony. The deity is covered with the finest silk and adorned with the most beautiful flowers after a bath with water milk. Bees and sand.
The church festival is an important driver of socio-economic growth in the temple city. Every festival is a show of brilliance and vitality and expresses jealousy. Most festivals coincide with seasonal changes, thus providing a strong market for the agricultural and horticultural offerings of that season. Not only did the townspeople come in full force, but there was also a huge influx of Religious people from other cities urgently need services. The police force came out in full force, despite the feeling of amnesty spread throughout the city. Women from Orthodox families (and still a small number of these) who wish to stay indoors are punished to walk away from their fines and travel around the city. The market sells everything from needles to elephants growing around the temple. Business is fast because it almost requires shopping after visiting the temple. Shopping in the temple town is a real treasure. Watch patiently. You could probably get some rare books and antiques at a discarded price, as these heirs are so ignorant of their value! But there are also crooks who deceive the crooks. We come across a character named Sridhar, the owner of an antique shop who warns us. It is sad that if we do not bring any idols home, our children will suffer. Eye of our enemies and come to great danger!
Srirangam is a riot of colors and sounds around, even on non-festive days. Exotic flowers, fragrances of incense, songs dedicated through the speakers, delicious offers from side dishes, make annoying families and energetic and resilient vendors. For Hindus in many cities, the city of temples actually proves to be an emotional abuse. But when you are done, all that is left in your mind is the sacrifice of the man who pierced his tongue and held the idol on his shoulder without the slightest trace of pain. The face of another devotee as he pulls the heavy chains, the quiet faith of the old woman, who is fervently praying with her eyes closed, and the sublime devotion in the voice of the worshiper, singing praises to the Lord in key notes. Most. Without the slightest trace of awkwardness.
To the Vesantas and the locals, the king is the king himself. He was spoken by the first person. They visit him like they visit a family member, they attract him when they are sad, they share the joy with him, they dress him with love, and they take him around with care. . Arriving at the temple was a feeling of ownership, along with an unshakable faith that He was there! When they enter the temple, they believe they have traveled from the temporal to the spiritual — a journey they believe will give them strength to face trials and tribulations in life. !
Indeed, the Srirangam offers the best thumbnails of Indian culture!
You need to know:
How to get to Srirangam
Srirangam is closest to Trichy. Trichy is accessible from Chennai (320 km) by rail, road and air. It is also accessible by train from Bangalore, Madurai and Trivandrum.
Trichy Airport receives direct flights from Chennai and Trivandrum, connecting flights from Bangalore and international flights from Sharjah, Kuwait and Colombo. Kingfisher Airlines operates flights from Bangalore and Chennai to Trichy. Paramount Airways operates flights from Chennai to Trichy.
You can also drive into Trichy from Chennai (320km), Bangalore (345km) or Madurai (142km).
Where to stay and what to eat
Trichy offers a wide range of accommodation options, from affordable guesthouses to affordable three-star hotels. Sangam Hotel and The SRM Residency above have been tested and confirmed! There are many small hotels and cool bars serving coffee, tea, soft drinks and the famous South Indian idlis and dosas. Remember, most bars here are non-alcoholic!
Try to solve
The easiest way to get there is to rent a car from Trichy to visit the Srirangam and other temples around it and return to your hotel. This should cost you anywhere in the region from 1200 rupees to 2000 rupees per day depending on the distance covered. There are also regular buses between Srirangam and Trichy, but they are likely to be hot and crowded. However, if you really want a close-up view of the locals, take the bus. The people are generally friendly and forward-looking.
Best time to visit
Srirangam Temple has festivals around the year, so Trichy is a year-round destination. Summer runs from April to July and can be unbearably hot. Therefore, the best time to visit Trichy is between August and February.
On the road
You can also visit the cigar factory in Woraiyur from where Sir Winston Churchill used to buy his cigars! Then there is the 128-year-old Gandhi Market in the heart of Trichy, one of the most important markets in Tamil Nadu, almost a heritage site.
When in Rome …
Srirangam, Trichy and many other cities in Tamil Nadu have pretty modern infrastructure, but the population continues to be conservative. Guests who dress politely and appropriately are always respected. Be careful not to distort the local mood!
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