Monday, 19 March 2018

Pancharanga shrines (Kshetrams) - an exciting pilgrimage sites for Vaishnavites!!

Pancharanga Kshetrams  (Pancha-"five",  Kshetram-"sites")  refers to a group of five Hindu temples dedicated to  Lord Vishnu on the banks of the sacred river the Cauvery.  One is in Karanataka and the rest are in the delta districts of Tiruchi, Thanjavur  and Nagapatnam.  What is so special about these temples and why is it called Pancharanga Kshetrams?  Sri  Ranganatha, a form 
Ananthasayanam pose. Lord Ranganatha (Vishnu).en.wikipedia.org
Above image: The famous reclining posture of Lord Vishnu Besides the temples mentioned below, there is another famous temple at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala (believed to the richest temple in the world) where one can  see the lord in Ananthasayanam pose. This type of posture of Mahavishnu is mostly noticeable in the southern Indian states. All the five famous pancharanha shrines have lord Vishnu in this posture ............................
of  God Vishnu in Ananthasayanam posture - joyfully taking a nap in a reclining posture - on the recoiled bed of  serpent Adhisesha with his seven  hoods forming the canopy. The five holy shrines in the order of their successive locations on the banks of down stream of the Cauvery river  are: The Srirangapatna is called the Adi Ranga, the first temple on the banks of the Cauvery river from the upstream side; the Srirangam (an island between the rivers Coleroon and Cauvery) in Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu is known as Adhi Ranga, Appalarangam or Koviladi at Tiurppernagar in TN, Parimala Ranganatha Perumal Temple at Tiruindalur in Mayiladuthurai (also Mayuram) and Vatarangam near Sirkazhi (Nagapatnam district, TN ), also listed as Sri Renganatha Perumal Temple. In place of Vatarangam in some records, the Sarangapani temple, in the heart of  Kumbakonam is mentioned. Kumbakonam is yet another  famous  temple city in Tamil Nadu like Kanchipuram.  All the Navagraha shrines are located near Kumbaknonam except Thirunallar which is just far away in Karikal (Pondicherry). These are famous sacred pilgrimage sites for the Vaishnavites and further, they are all Divyadesam shrines revered by the 12 Tamil Azhawar saints.
Srirangapatna. Ranganatha swami templeMake My Hangout
Srirangapatna Ranganatha swami temple, YouTube
The  main gopuram (tower) over entrance in the Ranganatha swamy temple at Srirangapatna, Karnataka. The temple  is  believed to have been built as per saint Sri Ramanujar's wish; he was  a great  proponent of Vaishnadvaita philosophy  and received  grants from Dwarasamudra, the 12th century Hoysala king. Tipu's palace entrance is opposite to the temple. Tipu Sultan never destroyed this temple and also the other temple Narasimha Swami temple near by. The Wodeyar kings of the Kingdom of Mysore also patronized this temple. It is the first of the Pancharanga (Aadi) shrines. His father Hyder Ali donated a temple chariot to this temple.It is located 19 km from Mysore city in Mandhya district.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranganathaswamy_Temple,_Srirangapatna

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, TN:
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple,Srirangam,|tntemple.org
The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, (glorified in the Dhiviya Pirabandham, Vaishnava canons of 6th to 9th centuries AD) is the largest functional temple complex in the world and played a vital role in the growth of  Vaishnavism in south India, starting with the 11th-century saint Ramanuja and his predecessors Nathamuni and Yamunacharya in Srirangam. The temple complex covers an area of 155 acres (63 ha) with 50 shrines, 21 towers, 39 pavilions and many water tanks and old granaries.  The annual 21-day festival held in the Tamil month of Margazhi (December–January) attracts more than one million visitors.The annual "Soorgavaasal Thirappu" (opening of heavenly gate) is quite famous here and is held with religious fervor.
Pinterest
Ranganathaswamy Temple | Srirangagam, Tamil Nadu
The temple was looted and destroyed during the raid by the Delhi Sultanate armies led by Mali Kaufer and Ulughan  in the 14th century. The former also raided Madurai city and plundered the famous Meenakshi temple  during the Pandya rule. At Srirangam the Delhi army  mercilessly killed 12,000 Vaishnavites who safeguarded the Moola Vigraham.  The temple was rebuilt in the late 14th century with fortification and additional  gopurams in the 16th and 17th centuries. There is a huge mantabam that has 1000 ornate stone pillars. The temple complex  is nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on a tentative basis, subject to full recognition in the future. Here the presiding deity is in the reclining posture with Sri Devi and Boomi Devi. Various Chola, Vijayanagara and Nayak rulers made contributions toward constructions, etc. The world famous Orlov diamond was stolen from here by  an ex-French soldier  a few  centuries ago. This temple s called Adhi Arangam shrine, next to Srirangapatna in Karnataka.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranganathaswamy_Temple,_Srirangam

Appakkudathaan Perumal Temple, Koviladi:

Appala RanganathaSwamy Temple, Koviladi. samarpam
Appakkudathaan Perumal Temple in Koviladi (Thanjavur district) on the banks of Kollidam River, 10 miles (16 km) from Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu is  a  famous Divya Desam  shrine - 6th in line and is  one of the five Pancharanga Kshetrams.

This old  temple with three-tired  Rajagopuram is on an elevated structure and many rulers built this place of worship.  The annual festival here, that falls in  the Tamil month of Panguni (March–April), is a famous one. This is believed to be the only Divya Desam  shrine where Neyyappam ( a food item prepared with ghee) is offered to the Lord every night as neivedhyam. Childless couple seek the blessing of the lord to have children. This temple is also close to Thiruvaiyaru on the Tiruchi - Thanjavur  bus route via Kallanai - a big  ancient stone diversion dam built by the famous ruler Karikala Chola in the 2nd century (the oldest one in the world) to improve  rice cultivation in the delta area of Thanjavur. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appakkudathaan_Perumal_Temple

Sarangapani temple, Kumbakonam:
The Pancharanga Kshetram Sarangapani Temple in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu,  is a famous one in this area and is one of the Divya Desam shrines. It is called Madhya Aranga Kshetram among the Pancharanga shrines.

 A  temple of great antiquity, it was built partly by  Medieval Cholas, Vijayanagar Empire and Madurai Nayaks. A big temple complex, the largest in this city  with tall granite boundary walls, the Rajagopuram (the main gateway) has eleven tiers and is 173 ft (53 m) tall.  There are five other smaller and attractive gopurams (towers) in the temple. The temple tank is Potramarai Kulam (Lotus tank) near the western entrance.
Among the 12 annual temple festivals, the chariot festival is the most prominent one in Tamil nadu in  the Tamil month of Chitrai (March–April). The twin temple chariots weigh 300 tons (660,000 lb) each  (renovated in 2007). They are next only in size to those at  Thygaraja temple (Aazhi Ther) in Thiruvarur and Andal Temple in Srivilliputhur. The chariots  festivals are held twice a year  during the Brahmmotsavam -April–May and other during Ratasaptami in January–February. 

The main deity is in pallikondar  (in reclining posture) with his head resting on his right hand. The sanctum has two entrances named as Utharayana Vaasal and Dhakshanayana Vaasal, each open for a six-month period. From 15 January to 15 July, Utharayanya Vaasal is opened  for Dharsan while Dhakshanaya Vaasal is opened during the other half of the year.
There are excellent stone carvings on the walls, displaying various styles of Bharatanatyam,  108 karanas form the basic movements; The Mahasamprokshanam (Kumbabishegam)  of the temple was held on 13 July 2015 with great fanfare and devotion.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarangapani_temple,_Kumbakonam

Parimala Ranganathar Perumal Temple, Mayiladuthurai: 
.. Parimala Ranganathar temple,Mayavaram.·Templefolks

Parimala Ranganathar Perumal Temple in Thiruvilandur of Mayiladuthurai town  on the banks of the Cauvery river is the last one of the Pancharanga Kshetrams (also known as Andhiya Arangam). Here, the  temple follows  thenkalai Sampradayam (tradition). The food offerings (naivaidhyam)  are made  six times  during the day which is a rare temple puja ritual. 
Mayavaram perumal ytemple. /indianmandirs.blogspot

Above image:  Parimala Ranganathar Perumal Temple in Thiruvilandur of Mayiladuthurai town.  In this temple Brahma is sculptured on the wall.  You can see part of the lord taking a nap,...........

Various rulers  medieval Cholas, Vijayanagar Empire and Madurai Nayaks contributed to the temple. . From 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m, six- kaala pujas are performed daily for the Moolavar. Here, the lord is believed to have blessed planet Chandra - moon god. In the sanctum, the main deity Parimala Ranganathar in Ananathasayanam posture (reclining), is a huge one -12 ft (3.7 m)  made of green stone facing east. The consort of the lord is Parimala Ranganayaki (also known as Chandrasaapa Vimochanavalli). Installed in the sanctum are  the images of river gods Cauvery and Ganga, as well as that of Santhana Gopalakrishnan. The other shrines are Yoga Narasimhar, Rama, Anjaneya, Surya and Chandra. Here, the dwajasthamba mantabam and the garuda mantapam are well sculptured and many of the small shrines. are in the Prakarams.

The well-known- festivals of this temple  are the Chitrai festival, the 10-day Aaandal Aadi festival (July–August), Vaikunta Ekadasi (Tamil Margazhi month: December - January), Makara Sank(ranthi (January) and Panguni Brahmotsavam (Panguni month: March - April).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parimala_Ranganatha_Perumal_temple