Srirangam formerly Vellithirumutha gramam and Thiruvarangam in Tamil is an island and a part of the city of Tiruchirapalli, in South India. Srirangam is bounded by the Kaveri River (also known as Cauvery river) on one side, and the Kaveri distributary Kollidam (Coleroon) on the other side. Srirangam is home to a significant population of Srivaishnavites (followers of Lord Vishnu, one of the triumvirate of Hindu Gods the other two being Lord Siva, the Destroyer and Lord Brahma, the Creator).
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple:
Srirangam is famous for its Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus (especially Srivaishnavites) and the largest temple complex in India. According to the temple's website, Srirangam can be considered the biggest functioning Hindu temple in the World, as it covers an area of about 631,000 square metres (6,790,000 sq ft) with a perimeter of 4 km (10,710 ft). Srirangam claims to be the biggest functioning temple; Angkor Wat is bigger but non-functioning.
Srirangam is the foremost of the eight self-manifested shrines (Swayam Vyakta Kshetras) of Lord Vishnu. It is also considered the first, foremost and the most important of the 108 main Vishnu temples (Divyadesams). This temple is also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Periyakoil, Bhoologa Vaikundam, Bhogamandabam. In the Vaishnava parlance the term "KOIL" signifies this temple only. The temple is enormous in size. The temple complex is 156 acres (0.63 km2) in extent. It has seven prakaras or enclosures. These enclosures are formed by thick and huge rampart walls which run round the sanctum. There are 21 magnificent towers in all prakaras providing a unique sight to any visitor. this temple lies on an islet formed by the twin rivers Cauvery and Coleroon.
The Srirangam temple complex is composed of 7 concentric walled sections and 21 gopuram. The gopuram of the temple is called the Rajagopuram and is 236 feet (72 m) tall, the tallest in Asia. The temple has seven prakaras (elevated enclosures) with gopurams articulating the axial path, the highest at the outermost prakara and the lowest at the innermost. In historic times, just after the construction of this temple, the city of Srirangam lived completely within the walls of this temple and hence is quoted as an example of Hindu religious utopia - during its peak of existence.
Due to the famous temple, Srirangam has a thriving economy based on tourism. Devotees come from all parts of India and abroad. The number of devotees to the town increases greatly during the festivals like Vaikunta Ekadashi which falls on the Tamil month of Marghazi (Margashirsha). Thiruvarangam is one of the few temples which is always being crowded by devotees. There are many other famous temples near Srirangam. They include Rockfort Temple, Samayapuram Mariamman Temple, Tiruvaanaikovil temple, Kumara Vaiyalur temple, Uraiyur Vekkali Amman temple, Kaatazhagiya singer temple etc.
In addition along the banks of Kaveri in areas near Srirangam and Tiruchirappalli there are other famous temples of Lord Vishnu most of which house the reclining form of him, namely the Sri Vadivazhagiya Nambi Perumal Temple (Thiru Anbil) and housing the deity Appala Ranganathar, also called the Appukudaththan Temple at Koviladi. Another temple of Vishnu is at Tiruchirappalli itself, the Azhagiya Nambi Temple at Woraiyur which is part of the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam. Srirangam town is also home to several hundred people who work in offices and industries located in Trichy. The public transport linking Srirangam to Trichy (route #1) is very frequent.
The nearest airport is Tiruchirappalli International Airport. Trichy Airport has connections to Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Thiruvanathapuram, Singapore, Dubai, Sharjah, Kuwait, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi.
Srirangam has a railway station that can be reached from Chennai through any of the major trains travelling in the Chennai-Kanyakumari railway track and the approximate journey time from Chennai is about 5 hours and 10 minutes (320 km). The Tiruchirappalli fort and Trichy junction which are the distance of 2 km and 8 km serves as connection point to many destinations in southern India, such as Thanjavur, Chidambaram, Madurai, Tirupathi, Tuticorin, Tenkasi, Quilon, Rameswaram, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Mysore, Kochi, Kanyakumari and Mangalore. It also connects to some northern Indian cities like Delhi.
Trichy Central bus stand has direct services to most parts of Tamil Nadu. From the bus stand, tourists can avail local buses, taxi, auto rickshaw to reach Srirangam. City Bus service to all places of tourist interest from Central Bus Stand and from Chinthamani -Main Guard Gate Bus Stand (Both in Trichy). Tourist Taxis andAuto Rickshaws are also available at reasonable rates.