Ranganathaswamy Temple was one of the very few Vishnu temples, that we went to in Tamil Nadu. We actually only went to 3 Vishnu temples; Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, Azhagar Kovil in Madurai District and Venkateswara Temple in Thirumala (Thirupathi Temple). I only have some pictures of the first temple mentioned.
Ranganathaswamy is one of the most important Vishnu temples, and is located in the town Srirangam, in the district of Trichy/Thiruchirapalli, on an island in the Cauveri/Kaveri River. Trichy was the first town we stayed in during the road-trip in Tamil Nadu, and before going to Srirangam, we went to Uchipillaiyar Temple in Trichy and Jambukeshwarar Temple in Thiruvanaikaval (also on the island) – another post about the temple is coming soon.
Brihadishwarar Temple, named Rajarajeshwaram in it’s earlier days, is a temple dedicated to lord Shiva, built by the king Rajaraja Chola I and his sister, princess Kundavai, between year 1003-1010 AD is one of the greatest examples of Tamil architecture. It is built of granite, around 60,000 tons of granite is said to be used to built the temple. According to the insriptions, that are to be seen at present day, the engineer and architect behind the temple was Kunjara Mallan Raja Raja Perumthachan, a archari from that time, from Kerala. The interesting part is, that even the present successors of the achari still practice Vastu Sastra.
Pazhamudhircholai, one of 6 abodes of the tamil god Murugan, is located 25 km north of Madurai, and the temple of Murugan is located atop of the hill here, surrounded by beautiful forests. Unfortunately I got no pictures from this temple, as we were running out of charge for our camera. Hopefully I’ll visit this temple again 😉
We went to this temple after Trichy, and right before going to Azhagar Kovil, followed by Meenakshi Amman Kovil in Madurai.
The legend says this was the place where the tamil poet Avvaiyar was tested by Murugan, when he was a child. The well-known “Sudda Pazham Venduma, Sudaatha Pazham Venduma?” (do you want the roasted or unroasted fruit?) is from the conversation between these 2.
Lord Murugan of Pazhamudhircholai is praised in many tamil sangam literature, like Silapathikaram, Ettuthogai. This is also the only temple, where Lord Murugan stand with a single-faced posture, with both of his consents, Valli and Deivanai.
The Murugan temple in Thiruchendur is the 2nd among the 6 Abodes of Lord Murugan. Thiruchendur is located in the Thoothukudi District (Tuticorin), with the temple at the shore of Thiruchendur, in opposite to the other 5 temples. This was the last temple of all 6 Arupadai Veedu we visited. It is one of the most beautiful temples I’ve visited, and also one of the favourite temples.
Thirupparankunram is a town in the district of Madurai, and this was the temple we visited after Meenakshi Temple, that is located in Madurai.
Thirupparankunram is the first of the 6 Abodes of lord Murugan, the Arupadai Veedu, but this was the 5th of Arupadai Veedu that we went to. This is believed to be the place where lord Murugan married Goddess Deivanai, the daughter of Indra. The temple here is actually a cave-temple, situated 1050 feet above sea level, built in a hillock. The temple was built by king Maravarman Sundara Pandyan in the 8th century CE, though the temple is believed to be much elder, from the 6th century, where the Murugan temple was converted to a worship place for Jainists by Jain monks, and then later reversed to Hinduism in the 8th century, where the Pandya king built it.