Tri Rangams: Adi Rangam , Madhya Ranganm and Antya Rangam
We left Tiruchirappalli by Mysore Express and reached Mandya early morning. From there we took an auto to Sri Rangapatna. After lunch at our friend’s house we left for Madhya Rangam. It took us about 2 hours to reach the place. Ranganatha Perumal was reclining and had an 8ft Salagrama Tirumeni. The temple belongs to Hoysala period dating back 1600 years. Madhya Ranganm is an island and Perumal is known as Jagan Mohana Rangan lying on a seven headed serpent with Cauvery Thayar at His feet. Thayar is Ranganayaki and there are sannidhis for s azhwars, Takshaka, Ramanujacharya and Sugreevan. After taking Theertham and Sri Sathari we proceeded to Kote Varadharaja Perumal temple.
On the way we stopped to see Bharachukki Falls which was just a trickle at that point of time.
Kote Varadaraja Perumal temple was about 5kms from this place and the roads were rugged. As we entered we were welcomed and shown rest rooms and after freshening up we waited for the Bhattar to open the temple. This Varadaraja Perumal was worshipped by Swami Desikan during Swami’s stay in Satyamangalam when Sri Rangam was under siege. Thayar Ranganayaki has a specialty here. Thayar’s bangle made of stone moves freely. But this place is more famous for Swami Desikan. This is the only place where Swami is seen in standing position looking in the direction of Sri Rangam. When Sri Rangam was attacked by Moslems Swami Desikan was entrusted with “Shrutha Prakasika” and the two sons of Sudarsana Suri a reputed Sri Vaishnava teacher who was too old to move. Swami protected the grantham and the children by sleeping amidst corpses lying on the battlefield. Travelling on the Cauvery trail Swami reached Satyamangalam and lived for 12 years at the feet of Perundevi Thayar and Varadarajaswami. Swami rendered kalakshepams continuously. While there Swami used to bathe in the Cauvery and do anushtanams on its bank. One tortoise kept following Swami every day. One night it appeared in Swami’s dream requesting for some kainkaryam. Next day when Swami went to meditate under the Ashwattha tree there was a stone tortoise (Koormasan) Swami thenceforth did anushtanam seated on this Koormasanam. This koormasanam is within the temple now. This Ashvatha known as Gynanashvatham is on the banks of Cauvery. This place has been preserved for us to worship and meditate. Abhithistavam was created by Swami Desikan here, and even today when there is a turmoil, anusandhanam of Abhithistavam helps us to tide over the crisis. What touched us in this temple was the hospitality accorded by the priest. He showed us the kitchen and dining hall and invited us to stay there as long as we desired. He made us speak with Krishnamurthy mama of Bangalore and he asked us to participate in Swami Desikan Tirunakshatram celebrations which is celebrated on Thula Masam Sravana nakshatram day. Reluctantly we left this place after accepting the hospitality of the priest. It was late evening when we reached Sri Rangapatna.
After resting and relaxing at our friend’s house we visited Sri Rangapatna temple. Sri Rangapatna is an island and is known as Adi Rangam. Antya Rangam is Sri Rangam. All three Rangakshetra are on the bank of Kaveri and we were told that people try to have darshan of all three in one go. Sri Rangapatna temple built in the 9th century is a mixture of Hoysala and Vijayanagar styles. Perumal Sri Ranganatha is seen reclining on Adisesha. There is a separate sannidhi for Ranganayaki Thayar. There are sannidhis for azhwars, acharyas, Gouthama muni and Cauvery as also for Krishna, Srinivasa and Panchamukha Anjaneya. We were blessed by Harathi darshan at Perumal and Thayar Sannidhi and heard Mukunda Mala recitation. After Theertham Sri Sathari and prasadam we went home for dinner and the plan was to leave for Kirangoor
temple after breakfast. Kirangoor is the birthplace of Ananthazhwan called Ananthan Pillai by Bhaghavadh Ramanuja because He alone went without hesitation to Tirumalai to establish a Nandavanam for Perumal. A descendant of this vamsam Sri Ananthacharya has made his dream a reality by building a beautiful temple for his acharya at this spot. About 30 years back this space was occupied illegally and the first step swami took was to make them vacate by giving appropriate compensation. Today there is a beautiful temple for Lord Srinivasa and Ananthazhwar along with a nandavanam. This has happened only because of swami’s unflinching acharya prathibhakthi.
We stopped at this holy spot and offered our dandavath pranams before proceeding to Nambi Narayana temple.
This temple was built by Vishnu Vardhana in the 12th century. Bitti Deva was a Jain king of the Hoysala dynasty. He embraced Sri Vaishnavism after his daughter was cured of a chronic illness by Bhagvadh Ramanuja who simply cast His divya kataksham on her. Bhagavadh Ramanuja was in Melnadu because of Krimikanta Chola’s harassment of SriVaishnavas. Wherever Bhaghavadh Ramanuja went there arouse temples for Sriman Narayana and Srigramams. Nambi Narayana’s archa Tirumeni is carved out of a single stone and He is flanked by SriDevi and BhuDevi. Here Perumal holds Shanku in the left and Chakram in the right hand inorder to do Samashrayanam to Tondanur Nambi. Just opposite was a temple for Gopalaswami but since it was closed we proceeded to Yoga Narasimha temple.
This temple was on a hillock and we climbed about 20 steps to reach there. Narasimha swami in yogic posture was installed by Prahladhazhwan. After Perumal Theertham we were touched with an iron rod on our heads and shoulders. The rod was washed and put back on Sri Nrisimha again. But what captivated us was the Tirumeni of our own Ramanujacharya. The karuna kataksham mesmerized us. Seated on Seshapeetam on a five headed serpent was how Lakshmana muni appeared to each of the 1000 jains who questioned Him in the court of Bitti Deva. Ramanuja clarified each of the questions and the king and his subjects all became disciples of Yathiraja. A devotee offered vastram to Ramanuja and so caught up were we that we failed to remember that we had to go to Tirunarayanapuram. We saw Bhaghavadh Ramanujacharya’s cane basket enclosed in a glass-case.
After seeing the Tondanur Lake which was created by Ramanujacharya we proceeded to Melkote. The water in this lake is crystal clear and never dries up even during drought.
Melkote is 14km from here and we had darshan of TiruNarayanan, Yadugiri Nachiyar and RamaPriyan better known as Chella Pillai or Selva Pillai. This RamaPriyan was taken to Delhi and was the favourite toy of the sultan’s daughter. Ramanujacharya went to Delhi in search for the missing utsavar of Melkote. When the sultan asked Yathiraja to identify the deity wanted, Ramanuja called Selvapillai and RamaPriyan walked into His hands. To this He is known as Chella Pillai the pampered son of Ramanuja. After praying at the temple and having lunch we proceeded to Dodamallur where we had to attend a wedding. So we did not have time to have darshan of Narasimha on the hill or to visit the Brindavanam of Adivan Sathakopan the first Jeer of Sri Ahobila Muth.
Dodamallur is a small agraharam with two temples one for Sri Rama and the other for Sri Krishna. The Sri Rama temple was where the wedding took place but it is Aprameya who is more famous. Sri Rama is said to have worshipped Sri Aprameya and He is known as Ramaprameya. The Mulamurthi Aprameya in Ninra Tirukolam is a beautiful Saligrama murthi and utsavamurthi is a replica of Moolavar flanked by Sri Devi and Bhu Devi and is housed in a sandal wood mandapam with Ramanuja at their feet. Thayar Aravindavalli is in seated Tirukolam with lotus in two upper hands, the other two are in abhaya and varadha hastham. Andal and Swami Desikan are also housed in the same sannidhi. But what caught our attention and mesmerized us what Navaneetha Krishna in crawling posture holding butter in His hands. His eyes followed us everywhere and we wanted to carry Him. Many cradles were hung around and this Lord removes putra-dosha and blesses children to the childless. This was the Lord who inspired Purandaradasa’s immortal song ”Jagadhodharana”! Close by in the Sri Rama temple, Sri Rama and Seetha are in seated posture with Lakshmana standing to the left of Sri Rama and Hanuman is seen with folded palms .Adjacent is Venugopal sannidhi where Gopala is seen with four hands. There is a unique Sudarshana LaksmiNarasimhar sannidhi.
Next day after Tirumangalya dharanam was over at the wedding we went to the temple of Nadhi Narasimha. Though there is no nadhi now Narasimha the all-pervasive is housed in a temple which is more than 1200 years old. Swami is Soumyarupi and answers the prayers of devotees. After darshanam and pradakshinam we made our way back to the wedding site.
After lunch and tambulam we were dropped at Maddur railway station from where we boarded Mysore Express which reached Tiruchirapalli next morning and went home to Sri Rangam. There are many other Perumal temples in this area which need to be visited and worshipped.
Courtesy: Vyjayanthi and Sundararajan