The Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple

January 9, 2008

I promised someone that I would do a separate post on this lovely little temple, so here it is!

On the morning of the 4th, after we had finished the regular safari, we decided to visit the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple after which the entire B R Hills area is named. It is a beautiful little temple..though not in the best of condition. Here’s the entrance; the “nAmam” at the top has gone a little out of kilter:

entrance to biligiri ranganna temple

Here's the name of the temple in Kannada: biligiri ranganatha swamy sannidhi This is the view of the main sanctum; the old granite looks so beautiful... main sanctum, b r temple The entrance has these lovely, carved doors, though I doubt they are as old as the temple itself. carved front door b r temple As one enters, there are murals on either side of the entrance. One depicts Hanuman, and a sage and his wife (probably Agastya and Lopamudra, but I am not sure) venerating Vishnu who has appeared atop a lotus: adoration of Vishnu b r temple mural On the other side is the depiction of "gajEndra mOksha". (gaja-elephant, indra- one of the gods, mOksha= salvation.) Indra, for one of the transgressions that the classical gods were always committing, was cursed to be born as an elephant in the forest;once, while bathing in the river when he was caught by a crocodile, he prayed earnestly to Vishnu, and was granted salvation. On a wildlife level, the story illustrates the dangers of crocodiles in the river! ( the statue of one of the dwArapAlakAs, or gateway guards, can be seen, too.) gajendra moksha, b r temple To illustrate the are crocs on the rocs at Ranganathittu Bird Sactuary, which we visited later that day. Just look at the size of 'em! crocs on the rocks RanganAthaswAmy is taken out in procession during festival days, and wooden carved figures of his vehicle, Garuda (which we think is the Brahminy Kite.) Here are two such depictions of garudA....the plank containing the figurine of the god is placed across the outstretched hands of these, so that the vehicle is literally carrying his God... smaller garuda vAhanA b r temple garuda vAhanA b r temple Sometimes, the figure of the great devotee of RAmA (an incarnation of Vishnu), Hanuman or AnjanEyA (son of anjanA) is used, here it is: AnjanEya vAhanA b r temple I saw a large collection of "maces", (one of the four items that Vishnu carries...shankha (conchshell),chakra (wheel),gadhA (mace) padma (lotus) at the temple. Perhaps devotees who have their prayers granted gift them to the temple as thanksgiving.... maces at b r temple The rathA, or temple chariot, didn't seem to be in great shape either, but still looked beautiful: temple chariot

The temple was peaceful and uncrowded, and we enjoyed our visit very much indeed. Often, one can see wandering mendicants like this one, who lead a nomadic existence, begging for alms, and sleeping in the temple premises:

wandering mendicant chamarajanagar 040108

B R Temple….one of the beautiful temples of Karnataka…this god presides over some of the most beautiful hills in this State!