Visit to Biligiri Rangana Temple

November 25, 2006


During the free time in the afternoon while on the Bird Survey at Jungle Lodges and Resorts, I wanted to go and visit the Biligiri Rangana Temple. As I said, Vijay Cavale zapped me by unhesitatingly offering me his Terracan…so I asked Yathin and Amogh along for company and off I went.

For some reason that I have not yet been able to find, the river Kaveri is associated, all along her course, with the god Vishnu, as Ranganatha. We have temples to him in Srirangam, and Ranganathapuram in Tamizh Nadu, and Srirangapatna and places like Biligiri Rangana Hills, too. Here’s a detail from the top of the temple, which depicts Vishnu:

Vishnu is dark (the name of his incarnation, Krishna, means, literally, “dark”) but is often depicted as blue instead! He has a conch and a divine wheel called the srichakra in his hands. His consort is Lakshmi (as Ranganatha, the consort is named Ranganayaki.)

<IMG height=333 alt=”IMG_0225 detail of Vishnu from BR Temple” src=”” width=500>

The temple door  is guarded by Dwara Palakas (literally, guards of the openings) and here's the detail from the depiction of one of them: <IMG height=500 alt="IMG_0227 Detail of Dwara Palaka" src="" width=333> This is the Kalasha, or divine pot, that surmounts the temple. These are often covered in gold plating. <IMG height=500 alt="IMG_0220 Kalasha" src="" width=333> And here is the  temple bell, heavily decorated with flowers. You can see the beginning of the name, "Sri Biligiri Ranga..." on the bell, too, in Kannada. <IMG height=386 alt="IMG_0231 Decorated Temple Bell" src="" width=500> As we went around the temple, I saw several granite flagstones with figures etched on them. I have heard that devotees do this so that as other devotees' feet touch their images, they accrue more and more of "punya" or good karma and  are thus better qualified to either go to Heaven or take a better birth the next time around. <IMG height=349 alt="IMG_0221 Figure etched in the granite path" src="" width=500> That'a detail from the temple chariot or Ratha (I couldn't get the right angle to get the whole of it, and this detail was inspired by 's photos.) <IMG height=333 alt="IMG_0228 Detail of Temple Chariot" src="" width=500> This devotee, or rather mendicant, who was sounding a gong and asking for alms, caught my eye....he has the Vishnu caste-mark on his forehead and holy beads around his neck. A saffron-coloured cloth, that he has used as a turban, is associated with religion and spirituality, too. IMG_0232 Devotee/ Mendicant And several devotees had lit small pellets of votive camphor or kalpoora on the walls surrounding the temple: <IMG height=454 alt="IMG_0222 Votive Camphor" src="" width=500> And, just to remind me that I was here on a bird survey and had better get back, was this little fellow, sitting perkily on the temple sparrows are no longer seen within the city limits of Bangalore, for various reasons. They are gregarious, chirpy, delightful little birds. <IMG height=255 alt="IMG_0223 House Sparrow...a rare bird in Bangalore" src="" width=500> </lj-cut> Well...those were the vignettes of my visit to Sri Ranganatha at his temple in the hills!