Srirangam Namperumal's long stay at Thrumala (AP) in 1300s CE - during Muslim army invasion!!

 Thousands of devotees who  visit or go past the Ranga mandapam  and the small shrine there at Thirumala, Andhra  may not be aware that Srirangam  temple' s festival panchaloha idol Sri Alagiya Manavala Perumal or Namperumal was safely protected here  from 1323 till 1370 during bloody invasions of the Muslim army from Delhi in the 14th century. The invasion was primarily carried out to loot temples'  valuable jewelry and treasures that many Hindu temple had in those days. 

Located close to  the Sampangi Pradakshinam and to the Pratima Mandapam, is a small shrine in the Ranga mantapam (32 m long and 18 m wide) where  there are  several images of royal devotees  of Balaji. The small shrine   3.6 sq m - at the   southern end made of  granite is an interesting one. It is closed always except on festival days.  An interesting historical fact is it was here the processional idol (an alloy of 5 metals/ Iyyempon) of Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy temple, TN was secretly kept for a long time about 48 years to safeguard it from  Muslim invaders from Delhi in that tough period. 

Presently are housed the idols of Malaippa (Vishnu) and his consorts. The Shrine has been  closed since the time the Namperumal idol was returned to Srirangam temple.   Ranga Mandapam  Temple comes alive and active with decoration during Brahmotsavam and other festival days.

Ranga Mandapam, said to have been built  between 1320 and 1360 by the Yadava ruler Sri Ranganada Yadavaraya, has ornate pillars with carved panels at top highlighting selected episodes from the Ramayana. The  structural design and other features show the influence of  the Vijayanagara period. The highlight of the sculpture is that of a boar holding a sword that is similar to the Vijayanagara royal crest of Varaha holding a long  sword.  Part of the building is being occupied by some offices of  the TTD..


Srirangam Namperumal's  arduous journey due to Delhi army's invasion in the 14th century:  

Shrine in the Ranga mandapam, Thirumla AP twitter. com,

 Shrine in the Ranga mantapam, Thirumla AP twitter. com,

14thCE srirangam festival idol carried by disciples of Pilli Lokacharya

urchavar idol of Srirangam Emperumal

Muslim invasion, sculpture, Srirangam- a soldier backstabbing the other
 twitter. com,
The popular temple of Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy, TN was raided and plundered twice in the 14th century CE for its treasures. First major bloody and brutal invasion took place in 1311 and the powerful Delhi Sultanate army of Alauddin Khilji of Khilji Dynasty was led by Commander Malik Kaufer, a eunuch and a homosexual. He was a courageous warrior, but was inhuman, merciless and unscrupulous. Besides Srirangam, he plundered and looted many temples.  Kafur violently attacked the kingdoms of  the Kakatiyas, Yadavas and the Hoysala, forcing them to become tributary states of the Delhi Sultanate. He also looted  Madurai Meenakshi temple, looted Pandya kingdom  and returned to Delhi with a large bounty. At Srirangam the acharyas somehow managed to save the processional idol of Sri Alagiya Manavala Perumal and also his consorts.

The second invasion  that took place in the Tamil month of Panguni,1323 (on the  on the eighth day of the Panguni festivalwas one of the bloodiest  in Indian history. The Muslim army was commanded by Ulugh khan (later Mohd. Bin Tughluq) of the Tughlaq dynasty founded by  Ghiyasuddin Tughluq in 1320. Before the army had reached the temple, the acharyas gave a slip with the festival idol  NamPerumal and headed south led by Pillai Lokacharya and his disciples.  Enraged Ulugh Khan had his soldiers behead 12000 Vaishnavites who were protecting the temple. The Kovil Olugu refers to this incident as “Pannirayiramtirumudi-tiruttina-kalabham” (the invasion which took 12000 heads). 

After the demise of Pillai Lokacharya, his disciples secretly continued the journey with the deity after wandering several places in Chera Nadu, Karnataka (Melcote) and  Chandragiri forest (AP). The urchavar was in the shrine at Thrumala  for 48 long years and finally  returned to Srirangam when normalcy was restored in that place.  On the 17th of Vaikasi,  the year of Paritabi (1371), the urchavar  Sri Alagiya Manavala Perumal, went into 48 years of exile primarily due to brutal invasion by the Delhi's Tughluq  army.  The annual ritual of ''Tithi'' (Pithroo Karyam) or' Sirardham' for the Pithroos (Ancestors) is being performed on Adi Ammavasai day every year on the banks of the Vaikkal near  Gopurapatti temple, near Srirangam in memory of those 12000 people who gave their lives to save the holy idol.