One can start the pilgrimage tour with Srirangapatnam. It is 20 km away from Karnataka. This holy town is situated in an island formed by the waters of Cauvery. Puranas speak of this place as Gautama Kshetra. The sage, who had his ashram on the banks of Cauvery, is believed to have founded the shrine of Lord Ranganatha. Historical evidence dates back to the reign of Ganga king Thirumalaiya (897 AD).
Srirangapatnam is also revered as Adi Rangam like Srirangam near Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu. It is known as Andhya Rangam.
Sri Ranganathaswami Temple: It is one of the largest temples with a massive gopuram. The Lord is seen reclining on Adi Sesha with the Goddess in His chest. The images of sage Gautama and Goddess Cauvery are enshrined at the holy feet of the Lord.
Saints and Alwars are enshrined on the prakarams. Two pillars in front of the inner entrance are called Chathurvimsati. The 24 forms of Vishnu with their names are engraved thereon.
In the northwest corner is the temple dedicated to Ranganayaki Thayar and the sacred feet of the Lord. Pattabhirama with Sita and Anjaneya at His feet and Lord Rajamannar are wonderful sculptures. There is another Krishna shrine which is very popular among the devotees. The images of Srinivasa and Panchamukha Anjaneya, installed by Guru Vyasaraya, are noteworthy too.
Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali, who ruled the region, had great respect for Lord Ranganatha. They donated much to the temple.
Sri Nimishambika Shrine (20 km): This ancient shrine is dedicated to Mouktikeswara and His consort Nimishambika. The deity is another form of Shiva. Lord Lakshmi Narasimha is also enshrined. The temple, very popular among the pilgrims, is situated on the banks of Cauvery. It is 20 kilometers away from Mysore.
Thirumukkudal : It is the holy sangam or confluence of rivers Kabini and Cauvery. The shrine of Lord Siva as Agasteeswara, installed by sage Agastya, is on the banks of Cauvery. Water is seen trickling from the head of Lord Shiva.
There are two ancient shrines of Someswara and Jaganmohana Ranganatha around Sivasamudram falls. The Ranganatha shrine is known as Madhya Ranga.
Narasipur: The Lakshmi Narasimha temple here is popular among the pilgrims. The Lord is seen having a balance and kundumani in His hands. The place is as revered and sacred as Kashi.
Biligiri Ranganna Temple: This Vishnu temple of Purana fame is situated amid thick forests on top of the Biligiri Ranga Hills at an altitude of 1566 metres and 120 km from Mysore. Known as Swetachalam, the hill and the various Theerthams are held as sacred as those of Tirumala. Sage Vasishta and his wife had worshipped Lord Vishnu for being blessed with a progeny. They got Shakti as their son, followed by Parasara, Vyasa and Suga as the illustrious lineage.
Sri Rama and sage Parasurama are said to have worshipped Sri Ranganatha. The presiding deity, installed by Vasishta, is worshipped as Srinivasa, Venkateswara and Ranganatha and His consort as Alarmelmanga, Lakshmi and Ranganayaki.
There is a separate shrine for Lord Gangadhareswara. The sculptures of Saraswati, Krishna and Anjaneya on the pillars are worth checking out.
This place can be reached by road via Kollegal, Yelandur or Chamarajnagar.
Mahadeswara Hills: The Shiva temple on top of this hill is dedicated to Sri Mahadeswara. It attracts a lot of pilgrims round the year besides on special occasions like Shiva ratri.
The temples of Gangadhareswara and Lakshminarayana are worth visiting. Rare images of Hamsa Gayatri, Dakshinamurthi and Sri Adi Sankara are worshipped at these religious places.
(Last Updated on : 23-03-2015)
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