The river Cauvery in Karnataka has the same place of pride as the Viraja river in Sree Vaikuntam. Vaikuntam is the abode of Sri Ranganathar where he resides as Vasudeva.The idols of Sri Ranganathar in Srirangam and Adi Rangan in Srirangapattinam are suyambu ie. They were formed on their own. In these temples, the Lord is in an ananthasayanam pose. Sayanam means sleep. Anantha means unending happiness. So, whenever we think about Sri Ranganathar, we should recall that he is in a sleeping pose and is relaxed.
Our driver Murthy informs us that Tipu Sultan despite being a muslim was a great supporter of Hinduism. He was keen that temples were restored to their original glory. We reached the temple venue by 2.30 but sadly were informed that the temple was closed and would open by 4 pm. There is a huge parking lot where vehicles can be comfortably parked. Shops dot the road towards the temple on both the sides and you have to negotiate hard. It is a common notion among shopkeepers that those who come by cars can afford to pay more than double the actual price.
We returned to the Srirangapatna bus stand and had lunch at the Nimishambal restaurant located in the bus stand. The food was awesome and cheap. As we were tired and hungry, food served at this restaurant was like a nectar for us. Chapathis are available for those who do not wish to have rice.
Brahma, Shiva, Devas, Kanaka Rishi, Kapila Rishi – all of them considered Srirangapatna as a sacred place. Sri – Mahalakshmi, Ranga – Vishnu, Patna – Town. Thus, srirangapatna is the town that has both Lord Vishnu and Goddess Mahalakshmi. The legend has it that Kaveri Devi was meditating on the Lord at a place called – Triveni Sangamam which is the place of the confluence of the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Kaveri.
Lord Adirangan was pleased with her devotion and granted her three wishes. Srirangapatna would become a pilgrimage center; that the Lord himself shall arise here as suyambu to bless his devotees and let Kaveri become holier than Ganga river. When Lord manifested himself on the snake “Adiseshan” both Kaveri Devi and Sri Mahalakshmi had a “darshan” of the Lord and Goddess Mahalakshmi manifested herself close to her husband in the South-east direction. It was Brahma, the creator, who ensured that the temple was completed and also informed Narada about the sanctity of the place.
Hundreds of years ago there was a severe famine in Srirangapatna. There was no water to bath and the sages were put to tremendous inconvenience and discomfort. The sages started travelling in search of water and reached the ashram of Gautama Maharishi that was located on the banks of the river Godavari. Pleased at their arrival, the great sage Gautama made all arrangements for the comfortable stay of the sages in the hermitage.
While going to the river Godavari, Sage Gautama asked his disciples to plant seeds on the way and when they returned these seeds had become grains. The grains were pounded to provide a sumptuous meal to the sages. However, the sages had other intentions. They wanted to occupy the ashram and so they created a cow that would eat away the grains on the field. When Sage Gautama noticed this he asked his disciples to drive away the cow. The cow fell at his feet and died and the other sages blamed Sage Gautama for the same. Incensed by their ungratefulness, Sage Gautama cursed them to become evil souls.
Dejected by the turn of events, Sage Gautama decided to undertake a pilgrimage and reached Srirangam. The Lord appeared before him and advised him to visit Srirangapatnam where he was in the form of Adirangan. On the way, sage Gautama had the good fortune of visiting Tamirabharani river, Mahendragiri and Sahyadri Hills. He was mesmerized on seeing the source of Cauvery river. Eventually he reached Srirangapatnam. He along with other sages performed a yagna as a result of which the Lord was pleased with them and advised them to search the ant hills nearby. The anthills were located near the holy basil [tulsi] plants. Sage Gautama’s efforts resulted in Kamadenu, the divine cow bathing the anthills with her milk.
Ranganayaki is the Goddess in this temple and one can have a darshan of her after our eyes have feasted on the pleasant sight of Lord Adirangan.Lord has placed his right hand on his head and his left hand is free. Devi Ranganayaki is seated with pride on the Lord’s chest while Kaveri Devi got her pride of place at the Lord’s feet. This place is also called as – Gautama Kshetra. Narada taught Gautama about the “pancharatra” way of propitiating the Lord. Sriranga jayanthi is still celebrated in this shrine where there are special abhishekams and alankara sevas. The Lord is taken out in procession in the evening. Taking bath in the Cauvery river freeds one of all sins. Even if you just watch the Cauvery river or feel the air around it, consider yourself blessed on all counts.
Yoga Narasimhar’s idol has also been consecrated in this shrine. The temple was constructed in 894 AD. Ramanuja has visited this shrine. Legend has it that Hyder Ali was often guided by Lord Ranganatha himself who used to come in his dreams.
If you are staying in Chennai or Bangalore then this is definitely one of the shrines that you must visit. The world famous Nimishambal temple is located at a distance of 2 kms from this shrine. This temple is situated on the banks of the Cauvery river and so a bath in the river is must. It is safe as there are barricades put and the water level is not deep. But it is frustrating to see people using soap while taking bath. Hope that the temple authorities display a notice banning the use of soaps while taking bath in the river. If women are so particular, then let them carry turmeric powder with them. Vegetables are available very cheap in the market outside Nimishambal temple and so this is one more bonus.
Photographs are not allowed to be taken.
There are no special tickets. Every one is equal before Lord Adiranga. No segmentation of customers on the basis of ticket charges.
There is heavy rush on Sundays, public holidays and special occasions. If you want to have a peaceful darshan of Lord Adiranga, avoid Sunday evenings and try to visit the shrine on a working day.
The temple is an architectural marvel. There are lots of positive vibes as you enter the sanctum sanctorum. Archana tickets are priced at Rs.5.
Senior citizens need not wait in the queue. If you make a request, you are allowed a special route to enter the temple premises.