Monday, 2 March 2015

Srirangam Ranganathar temple,Tamil Nadu and massive invasion by Alauddin Khilji's army in 1323 AD

Ala-ud-din Khilji.1290 -1320 CE www.tamilvu.org
slideshare.net
Alauddin Khalji, the second ruler of the Khalji dynasty reigning from 1296 to 1316 was the most powerful ruler of the dynasty. Among the Muslim rulers of Delhi, besides being the most efficient warrior and military leader, he was equally tyrannical. He was a religious bigot just like other Muslim rulers. He was not considerate towards other faiths. The Hindus suffered untold miseries and pain. His military commanders were equally tyrannical.He openly indulged in religious suppression and was not kin to Shia Muslims either.  
Srirangam, TN location map. Weather-Forecast.com
Alauddin's  successful  raid on Devagiri, the capital of Yadhava dynasty of Andhra in 1296 that yielded him vast loot, he could ever think o encouraged him to try kingdoms beyond the Yahadava land.  On instruction from Allaudin Khalji, one of  his military Commanders Ulagh Khan ( Alauudin's brother, not Muhamed-bin-Thuklug) and his powerful army raided many parts of South India  and in 1323 AD attacked the famous Sri Ranganathar temple, Srirangam near Tiruchirapalli  Tamil Nadu, the largest functioning temple complex in the world for treasures. The siege continued for a short period and the holy temple was used as a garrison by the invading army. It was a chaotic situation around the temple town. The army terrorized the harmless people and made them run helter skelter. Their aim was to loot the temple for treasures hidden  there.

Srirangam Ranganathar temple comlex, Tamil Nadu,Indiatamilnation.co
According to 'Koyilozhugu,' a true  record of events relating to the siege of the  Srirangam temple, the main shrine - sanctum  was  well protected by  groups of devotees, each entrusted  with  the main  task of guarding the temple and its  sanctity. They came to know about the raid well in advance and were very particular about protecting the temple and the precious idols in the sanctum. It was Sri Vedanta Desika who made a proper plan to save the main idols. He had a brick wall built around the sanctum to hind it from the invaders and the wall was not broken for sixty long yesrs till the return of Namperumal. Sri Desika himself broke the wall built by him when complete normalcy was restored in the temple town.

Yet another acharya Sri Pillailokacharya, despite his old age, managed to  secretly move  the deity of Lord Ranganatha (Numperumal) to  an unknown place in the south (he died near Thirunelveli) prior to the Muslim invasion. The Thayyar idol was moved over to another destination.

In the ensuing  battle against the well-equipped armed raiders from Delhi, the unarmed and defenseless people, who were caught unawares, could not do anything to stop them. In the aftermath, temple record points out that 12,000 Vaishnavites  (in Tamil - 'Pannerayiravar mudi tiruthiya pandriazhwan mettu kalagam') lost their precious lives  in the process of saving the temple and the remaining people left the place and settled down in adjacent villages such as Tirupachil (now known as Pachoor), Govarthanakudi (now called Kovathakudi), Tiruvarangapatti  and  Azhagiya Manavalam.
Ranganathar temple,sriangam 1000 pillar mandap.Pinterest
In the historical temple at Gopurapatti village, Sri Adhinayaka Perumal (Vishnu) is in  Ananthasayanam (reclining) posture as in Srirangam. As the sanctum at Srirangam  was blocked with a wall on all sides for safety before  massive invasion by the Muslim raiders from Delhi, the daily religious rituals or protocols (Nithya pooja, etc) meant for Lord Sri Ranganathaswamy was  regularly performed to Sri Adhinayaka Perumal idol in Gopurapatti village, several kilometers from Srirangam. The Muslim army left Srirangam terribly disappointed, having not found a huge bounty of valuable gems, gold or silver treasures in the temple. After this unfortunate raid, for several years the temple remained  closed with out temple rituals, poojas, etc., and was not properly maintained for some decades for various reasons. As mentioned above puja protocols were established as per Agama Sastras 69 years later.
 

Puja rituals  for Sri. Ranganathar continued at Gopurapatti village till the reopening of the temple  and  resumption of regular  poojas in the sanctum at Sri Ranganathar temple  at  Srirangam under Sri Vedanta Desika .

As  a  mark  of  respect and  homage to the Vaishnavites  who lost their lives in 1323 AD during the invasion of Alauddin Khilji's army, annual rituals of ''Tithi'' (Pithroo Karyam) or' Sirardham' for the Pithroos (Ancestors) is being performed on Adi Ammavasai day every year on the banks of the Vaikkal. The Samprokshanam of Gopurapatti  Vishnu temple was performed on August 27, 2010.

Ref: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-editorialfeatures/a-village-intertwined-with-history-of-srirangam/article4233379.ece

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khilji_dynasty

          (corrections made: 10 October 2017

1 comments so far

Thank you for sharing this important blog. Hare Krishna!