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
Alauddin Khilji, the second ruler of the Khilji 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 tyranical.  

Srirangam, TN location map.

On instruction from Allaudin Khilji, one of  his military Commanders Ulagh Khan and his powerful army raided many parts of South India  and in 1323 AD attacked the famous Sri Ranganathar temple, Srirangam, 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.
Srirangam Ranganathar temple comlex, Tamil Nadu,
According to 'Koyilozhugu,' a true  record of events relating to 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. In the ensuing  battle against the well-eqipped armed raiders from Delhi, the unarmed and defenceless 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 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 kilometres from Srirangam. The Muslim army left Srirangam terribly disappointed, having found no valuable 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.

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.

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.


          (corrections made: 10 October 2017

1 comments so far

Thank you for sharing this important blog. Hare Krishna!