Now that we are done covering our stories from our expeditions to the various Cholan temples, we decided to let you in on our travel story to the famous Ranganathar temple of Srirangam . And oh, by the way, if in case you missed out on our travel stories from Great Living Chola Temples, please click here to read all about it – we are sure you will find these interesting.
So Srirangam happened right after the Tanjore visit. After spending an entire afternoon admiring the rock cut sculptures of the Big Temple of Thanjavur, we spent the night in Trichy which was our next quick stop. The temples of Trichy was our sole inspiration for this pit-stop in our journey. We had strongly believed that the Brihadeeshwara of Thanjavur would be the single most highlight of this trip. Srirangam and the mighty Ranganathaswamy Temple proved us otherwise.
Facts About the Temple
The temple itself is dedicated to the reclining form of Lord Vishnu, a much revered Hindu deity and is located in Srirangam, Trichy at a distance of about 5 hours from Bangalore. You can reach here by road using private vehicles, or bus transport or, by the unfailing India Railways if you book your tickets well in advance. Trichy itself has an airport and is well connected using the domestic airline network with the rest of the country. Srirangam occupies a place among the most illustrious temples in South India owing to its rich history.
Spanning an area of 155 acres with 50 shrines and 21 towering gopuras, Srirangam remains the largest temple compound in India and also occupies a place among the world’s largest religious complexes.Its connection with the great Indian history and architectural significance earned it a nomination into the UNESCO’s world heritage site list.
A Walk Through Srirangam Temple
After depositing our footwear in the north entrance, we tried to find our way around the temple. Undoubtedly, the sheer size of temple left us wandering aimlessly through multiple mandapas and shrines. The rock carvings at every turn will leave one wondering about the architectural and design excellence that prevailed in the early centuries. These invariably can bring shame to any of the modern buildings and super structures that are constructed in today’s world.
A striking feature of the Srirangam temple is the numerous stone carved pillars that support the entire structure throughout the temple compound.
You could reach halls and corridors and everywhere the notable feature would be these countless intricately designed and carved pillars that span the length and breadth of the temple compound.
After straying around in a lot of places aimlessly, we were guided by a kind pujari to the main deity. From the long queues for a “darshan” of the deity it was evident that if we joined the line for a darshan, we would never reach Bangalore back on time. The pujari also went on to explain how for Rs.100/- we could get to a faster queue, and then for Rs.250/- to another even faster queue and further how a donation to the temple could land us directly in front of the deity for instant blessings. We thanked the pujari for guiding us through and proceeded to walk around the various other mandapas and shrines housed in the enigmatic temple.
The temple can get really crowded on auspicious days. However, we were fortunate to be able to go around the temple without much crowd while we visited. It is mandatory to be clothed in ethnic or indian attire while visiting the Srirangam Temple. Cameras are very much allowed and except the core sanctum where the main diety lives, photography is allowed everywhere else.
After spending what must be half a day in this historical temple, we proceeded to end our short tour of the beautiful towns of Tanjore and Trichy and return to where our full time jobs and real life beckoned us back to – Bangalore.
The Memories That Linger
When I decided to write about Trichy, it was impossible for me to not write about a few things that totally blew me away on this trip.
First, the humility of the people in Tanjore and Trichy totally had me. I have travelled across multiple states, including my own home town of Kerala. But never have I come across a population of people who are so welcoming to guests. Every person we met, every restaurant we visited we were always met with smiling faces and down to earth humans who were always ready to help. Most of the places, we ditched an unreliable GPS to people who were ever ready to help and direct us to the places we needed to go.
Second, the food. It goes beyond saying that the Tamil cuisine remains to me as one of the most delectable foods in the universe. I had the chance to savor on Chettinad meals and curries during the 2-day trip and the deliciousness of everything I tried still lingers on my taste buds. Not to mention the numerous stops for vada and coffee that I lost count of. It was probably a mix of the taste of the amazing food and the love with which it was served that added up to the experience. I could go back here any number of times again for the same.
Third and the last – our stay at Mani’s guest house in Trichy. We found this place while looking up AirBnB in and around Tanjore area and came across this by chance. They were very accommodating to change the reservations as per our last minute travel plan changes. This beautiful home has been built adhering to the traditional architecture of chettinad homes and maintained impeccably by its staff.
I woke up in the morning to the sounds of peacocks invading the nearby rice fields. The staff here was extremely helpful and the very loving “paati”(elderly lady) who was in charge of the kitchen, made and served some delicious pongal with chutney and topped it with an amazing filter coffee. This place, totally felt like home and should I return to Trichy, I totally know where I would stay.
That being said, Trichy is a wrap. We hope you enjoyed our journey to the Great Living Chola Temples and Srirangam. We hope to do more exciting trips to places like these where the soul of Indian history lives.