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Very interesting facts about the largest functioning temple in the world - Ranganathaswamy Temple!!

Written By: Vineeth Mohan

Temples are deeply rooted to the Indian culture and tradition! India is a home to countless temples, of which some are world renowned for their architecture and lifetime. India has many centuries old temples that astounds even the modern day builders and artists! Let's take a tour through one such temple in India which is renowned for its magnitude and architecture - Ranganathaswamy Temple in Tamil Nadu.

Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam

PC : Raj

Let's see some very interesting facts about Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam !

- Ranganathaswamy Temple is a temple dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of Lord Vishnu, located in Srirangam of Tamil Nadu. Constructed in Dravidian style of architecture, it is one of the most illustrious Vaishnava temples in India that is opulent in legend and history!

- Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam is the largest functioning Hindu temple in the World. Spread over 156 acres, it is also the largest temple in India and one of the largest religious complexes in the world!

Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam


- There are 21 towers and 39 pavilions in Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. At a height of 236 feet, the main gopura of the temple known as Rajagopuram is the second tallest temple tower in Asian continent.

- As per the legend, the deity in Ranganathaswamy Temple was worshipped by Lord Rama for a long time and was handed over to King Vibhishana after Rama's victory over Ravana. On his way back to Lanka, Lord Vishnu appeared before Vibhishana and expressed his desire to stay as Ranganatha in this place!

Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam

PC : Arian Zwegers

- 'Valmiki Ramayana' mentions that King Vibhishana received a gift from Lord Rama while returning back to Lanka, but it does not specify the name of the gift. It is the 'Parameshvara Samhita' that identifies the gift with the idol of Sri Ranganatha.

- Though the temple is mentioned in Tamil literature from the Sangam era, the archaeological evidences are available only from the 10th century. The inscriptions belong to the Indian dynasties of Chola, Pandya, Hoysala and Vijayanagara.

Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam

PC : Nagarjun Kandukuru

- During the 13th century, Malik Kafur, a prominent general of Alauddin Khilji, and his army invaded the region. The idol of the temple was stolen and taken to Delhi. In a daring exploit, devotees of Srirangam ventured to Delhi and enthralled the emperor with their histrionics. Moved by their talent, the emperor was pleased to gift them the presiding deity of Srirangam, which was requested by the performers.

- In a dramatic turn of events, the daughter of Malik Kafur, Surathani had fallen in love with the deity and followed him to Srirangam. She prostrated herself to the God in front of the sanctum sanctorum and is believed to have attained the heavenly abode immediately. Even today, a painting of "Surathani" (known as Thulukha Nachiyar in Tamil) can be seen in her shrine near the Arjuna Mandap adjacent to the sanctum sanctorum.

Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam

PC : Jean-Pierre Dalbéra 

- The large and famous diamond of Orlov and a similar gem served as the eyes of the deity! Legends hold that a French soldier, disguising himself as a Hindu convert, stole Orlov in 1747 during the second Carnatic war.

These are some of the intersting facts about the largest temple in India. Travel to Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam to witness this grandeur of a temple and get soaked in its tranquil and spiritual aura! Happy Travelling :)

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