Famous Ranganathar temple, Srirangam - complex 2015 renovation work

Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy .srirangaminfo.com
 Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy  samproskshanam,nov. 2015 .thehindu.com

The 'Yagasalai'-first phase.'samproskshanamon Sept. 9. .thehindu.com

  Srirangam 1i towers and 43 Sannadhi Samprokshanam. www.anudinam.org

Holy water being poured on the 'Ranga Vimanam' Sri Ranganathar temple nov.18,2015..thehindu.com.
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at  Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli (Trichy), Tamil Nadu, India is a well - known Hindu temple dedicated to Ranganathar, Lord Vishnu  in reclining posture (Anandasayanam) on the coiled bed of giant serpent 'Adishesha.' Rich in legend, history, artistic mandapas (halls) and shrines, this Thenkalai Vaishnava sthala, that follows Vadakalai tradition of worship (kovil Bhattacharyas follow Vadakalai Samprathaya),  is counted most revered among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the protector. The Maha Samrakshanam (renovation) of this ancient (believed to be as early as 9th century) and  massive temple took place on the 18th of November, 2015  with religious fervor  witnessed by thousands of people; an important temple event in south Tamil Nadu, the people of this area had been waiting for more than a pretty long time. The last Maha Samprokshanam was held in 1979, according to R Mukundan, a trustee of the temple. The total cost would come to around Rs 46 crore (roughly $8 to 9 million) plus.

Sri Ranganathar temple.srirangaminfo.com

Maha Samrakshanam or Kumbabisekam is a time- consuming, tedious but essential process of renovating Hindu temples - both Saivite and Vaishnavite shrines periodically. The complex process starts with major repair works, white washing, painting of deities or images on the towers/shrines, inside the temple, etc  in the first phase followed by the set-up of  spacious Yagasala with agni (holy) fire kundams (fire pits) in the precinct of the temple. The next phase consists of  conducting a sequence of yagasala rituals before agni kundams  and pots filled with water brought for this specific purpose. The rituals are divided into segments called 'kaala'(time) and  each kaala yagasala pooja is done to propitiate  a particular divine power. Trained Pundits, well versed in temple Agama Sastra mantras, chant  relevant mantras in Sanskrit appropriate to gods and  purposes.  Finally toward the end  after the yagasala pooja formalities,  Pandits (Bhattacharyas), divided in to groups,  proceed to the top of the specific shrines or towers and at the per-determined time, do pooja again and on the kalasas (metal pot)  sprinkle purified  holy water in the pots earmarked for that particular tower/ shrine taken from the yagasala. In the case of  Saivite temples,  the same process is referred to as 'Kumbabisekam', and  the water in the kalasas  (alloyed metal pots atop the shrines or towers) is emptied and  filled in with new sanctified holy water  from  pots kept in the yagasala by the Shivacharyas who do the same rituals mentioned above. The great important  temple event Maha Samrakshanam or Kumbabisekam  is a spiritual rejuvenation of the place of worship to retain its sanctity and divinity for the benefit of the people and the region. The spiritual sanctity of a Hindu temple has to be retained continuously for generations in order to preserve the divinity of the place of veneration.

Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy .srirangaminfo.com

Tradition has it that such  grand event  Maha Samrakshanam or Kumbabisekam is supposed to take place every 12 years or 24 years. Normally it is done on completion of 12 years.  But,  because of  financial constraints, and lack of enthusiasm on the part of state government that manages the temple this important temple event gets delayed beyond the stipulated 12 year period. For small temples, expenses are met with by way of  public subscriptions, donations, etc.

Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy.srirangaminfo.com

The temple Agama Sastras vary with respect to renovation among temples that follow prescribed time-bound traditions. Sri Ranganathar temple at Srirangam follows the ''Parameswara Samhita'' of Pachratra Agama, while other temples follow ''Iswara Samhita'' and ''Jayakya Samhita'', depending on the the tradition set by the temple experts. Yagasala pooja starts with propitiation of god Soman  in the first kaala pooja for the welfare of the society, copious rain, enough yield of grains, etc.  Other rituals, in the first phase include, invocation of natural elements, picking up sacred earth and  raising of navadhanyam (paalikai/nine grams). They are referred to as  ''Mryutsabgrahanam'' and ''Angurapanam.'' Following this is  ''Sukthi Karya'' - sprinkling of ''Pancha Kavya'', ''Parthi Agni Karyam'', a process of purification of the area by holding burning Dharba  grass.  Kalakarshnam consists of invoking of a particular god in the sacred pot by chanting a series  of complex mantras. After the propitiation of protective god in the pot,  Avahana is undertaken, Chhathurdana Archna is done for dwara, kamba, mandala and agni sthanas. The final phase includes choosing pradhna kundam for Maha Samrakshanam or Kumbabisekam. The above-mentioned tasks take lots of time  and a host of Vaithigals (pundits), quite conversant with such difficult and complicated rituals do it  before sanctified agni (holy fire) in the agnikundam. Once the great event is over, the Yagasala is closed  reverentially. The final phase and the concluding one took place on the 18th November, while the first phase of temple rituals concluded on September 9th, 2015 itself.

Srirangam temple.'samproskshanam ,nov. 2015 eenaduindia.com
In the case of Maha Samrakshanam of  Sri   Ranganathaswamy, this year,  for the first time in recent years, nine kundams were established, out of which five for the presiding deity and the rest for the God's consort, Ranganayaki Thayyar. The kundams represent the various attributes of Sri. Ranganathar. 

The Yagasala was set-up in the 1000 pillar mandapam (hall) and numerous kalasams were established for Perumal shirne , Rajagopuram and pranavahara Vimanam. A separate Yagasala and kundams were built on the premises of  Thayyar shrine while the Vedic rituals were in progress. Eight kaala pooja was done with sincere devotion involving score of pundits.  In the sanctums additional rituals were conducted as part of Bhimha Shuddhi. On suceessful completion of 4th kaala poojaspecial  pooja was done for deities, Rajagopuram and  pranavakara  vimanam  called  Saapana thirumanjanam. Mahapoornahuthi was done after the eight kaala pooja followed by revival of kalasam and deities-kumbha Uttpapanam at auspicious time, With the performance of aavahana  teertham by way of prokshanam or sprinkling of the holy water on the kalasas, Kumbabisekam or Samrakshanam came to an end after taking 'Mangala Aarthi' before each deity in the shrines, including primary deities Sri Raganathar and Thayyar Ranganayaki. The next grand event will be after a decade. So, it is a continuous and  periodical process of spiritual revival and  reawakening of place of worship for the progeny as well.

Because of  Samrakshanam, the temple authorities on the same day itself  arranged for a special darshan of Sri.Ranganatha Swamy, Ranganayaki Thayyar and other deities after 2 pm.

Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple complex is a huge one, covering about 156 acres with 18 towers (gopuram), 48 sub-shrines and seven prakarams (wide corridors). Undertaking of maintenance, painting and other works as part of renovation of a mammoth temple complex is an Herculean task, involving a large sum of money, skilled men and others. The honorable CM of Tamil Nadu Ms. Jayalalityha, pious as she is, took  particular interest in successful completion of Maha Samrakshanam with ample cooperation from her officials. 

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