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Śrīraṅgam


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A South Indian temple complex, the largest dedicated area of this kind on the subcontinent, situated on an island (raṅgam) in the Kāverī river in the Tiruchirāppaḷḷi district of Tamil Nadu. A major pilgrimage site for all Hindus, it houses the Śrī Vaiṣṇava Raṅganātha temple, dedicated to Viṣṇu, and known to devotees as ‘The Temple’ (kōyil). In addition, it contains numerous other shrines, not only to Lakṣmī, and the avatāras of Viṣṇu, but also to the Āḻvārs, and to various Śrī Vaiṣṇava ācāryas who were based there, including Rāmānuja, who took over the management of the temple for periods in the 11th/12th century ce. The earliest extant architecture on the site dates from the late Cōḻa period, although Śrīraṅgam had been celebrated by the Āḻvār poets and others well before that, and its chronicles, the Kōyil Oḻuku and the Śrīraṅga Māhātmya claim that it was an important tīrtha from the early centuries ce. Expanded under the patronage of various dynasties between the 13th and 17th centuries (notably under the Vijayanagara kings), parts of the temple were still being completed at the end of the 20th century. Its basic design is as an enclosure with a perimeter of over 3 km, divided by seven rectangular concentric walls; large and elaborate gopura are stationed along roads leading in from the four cardinal points.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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