Sri Ranganatha temple is considered to be a popular Vaishnav temple located on the Srirangam Island, Tamil Nadu, and is surrounded by Rivers Kollidam& Cauvery. Pilgrims from all over the world come here to seek blessings from Vishnu Bhagwan, whose idol resides in a reclining form. This sacred place is considered to be the foremost of the one hundred & eight DivyaDesams that are dedicated to Vishnu Bhagwan.
Srirangam is a well-known temple town, unique for its SaptaPrakaram formation. This temple cantered settlement pattern is said to consist of 7 (Sapta) Prakarams or concentric rectangular enclosures. It is created by huge, thick rampart walls that enclose the sanctum sanctorum, where the presiding deity is kept. The temple complex is within the five inner enclosures, while the two outer enclosures act as settlements. Therefore, the distinction between settlement & the temple is blurred, while the latter at times is known as Srirangam.
The Dravidian architectural style can be seen in its construction. It is a huge complex spread across 63.131 hectares (156 acres) of land. Some scholars are of the strong belief that this is still among the world’s largest functioning religious complex.
The temple complex also boasts of having 21 colourful sculpted gopurams, 9 sacred pools, 48 sub-shrines, and gilded dome (vimana) including fresco paintings. The designs & plans have been well-executed, and some portion has been dedicated to Vaishnav cult-related activities, festivals &sevas. The temple has been stated to be the nucleus of the town by the citizens settled here. =
Other unique features:
The layout of this town is another feature that needs special mention. The sanctuary’s outer wall in the eastern side has consecrated mini mandapams that houses the Lord’s blessed feet in collinear formation via 7 enclosures.
The North-South axis is well defined by the Paramapada and Aryabhata gates along with the inner 3 enclosures, thus comprising the inner court. The remaining enclosures called the outer court are present in the outer area.
Exemplary Universal Value:
This is indeed an outstanding temple of Lord Vishnu showcasing SaptaPrakaram design instead of a temple town. Its architectural topology/planning can be termed to be unique. It is definitely a highly venerated pilgrimage center par excellence. Moreover, the temple complex can be found to be architecturally beautiful having a variety of interesting ornate features.
Different dynasties & rulers have contributed towards its development, thus captivating serenity, beauty & spirituality of this place. The complex scale, as well as its size, is unprecedented. This temple is undoubtedly a true masterpiece and an amazing creation. Since the first century CE, this temple can be stated to be an exceptional testimony towsssards the development of the Vaishnava tradition. This temple best represents Tamil culture for several centuries. The complex also maintains very high aspects with regards to integrity & authenticity as little change has been done to its original fabric. Going through the literary descriptions present at the temple will vouch for its authenticity.