A glossy 217-page book on Srirangam’s Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple records in loving detail, the rich religious and architectural heritage of one of the most important shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Titled ‘Srirangam Bhooloka Vaikutnam’, the book has been published by Tiruchi-based architect, mountaineer and photography enthusiast J. Ramanan and his wife, Bharathanatyam exponent Vrinda.
Mr. Ramanan’s eye-catching photographs of the temple city and its shrine are supplemented by essays contributed by Mrs. Vrinda Ramanan, Dr. Prema Nandakumar and Dr. Chitra Madhavan. P. Manickavasagam, associate professor, Department of Architecture, NITT, has done the illustrations, while the line drawings have been rendered by V. Devashana, assistant architect at Ramanan and Associates.
The book was launched in Chennai recently by Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, TVS Motor and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Sri Ranganathaswamy temple, Srirangam.
Considered to be the foremost of the 108 Vaishnavite ‘Divya Desams’, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is one of the 8 self-manifested shrines of Lord Vishnu (‘Swayam Vyaktha Kshetra’). It is spread over 150 acres and has seven ‘prakaras’ (enclosures).
Perhaps the most visible aspect of this revered temple is the 21 Gopuras (towers). The main shrine is devoted to Shriman Narayana reclining on the serpent Adisesha. Smaller shrines devoted to avatars of Sri Mahavishnu and Sri Renganayaki Thayyar are also found here.
The Ramanans worked for over a year on the photos and essays, which focus on the history, mythology, traditions and architecture of the temple. “We also wanted to do something related to the Smart City initiative, to showcase the history of Tiruchi and Srirangam,” Mr.Ramanan said.
“This book is our way of showing why we should be proud of our heritage. Srirangam is a unique town in that, there are festivals being celebrated here at least 320 days in a year,” added Mr. Ramanan.
As the floor plans of the temple’s structure show, the sacred complex has withstood the ravages of time gracefully.
The resplendent colour – whether in the varied costumes and accoutrements of the idols or the rituals – has been captured on camera as a fitting tribute to the longevity of the shrine.