The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Trichy Travel Blog› entry 10 of 37 › view all entries
The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus. It is said this temple is the biggest Hindu temple in the world as it covers an area of about 6,31,000m². This Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple claims to be the largest functioning Hindu temple, leaving Angkor Wat in Cambodia as the largest non-functioning Hindu temple in the world.
It’s only a short ride from the Rock Fort Temple to the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, we could clearly see the huge gopurams of the temple from the top of the Rock Fort.
Once we’ve passed almost all outer sections (without being overrun by one of the many rickshaws or small trucks, a miracle), we encountered a small and provisional building where we could leave our shoes. All temples have some kind of arrangement for safeguarding shoes, leaving your footgear here makes it as sure as can be that it’s still there when you get back after visiting the temple. Most temples have one or two employers at the ‘shoe shack’, they expect a small tip when they hand you your shoes back.
Once we’ve taken off our shoes, an ever increasing problem proceeds: when you visit a temple later than early morning, the stones on the floors are blistering hot and us poor tourists don’t have as much hard skin on the bottom of our feet as local Indian people do.
The first courtyard of the temple is gorgeous, it has many colourful sculptures on the façade, followed by a large hall with carved pillars. It was very busy around this hall, there were many locals walking in or out and they all seemed to be looking at me and Rens. The fact that there were at least fourteen other western looking people (our travel companions) walking around somewhere in the temple, didn’t make us less interesting. Some people shamelessly followed us with camera’s on their mobile phones, others wanted us to take pictures of them, preferably together with either me or Rens.
At some point I saw a cute baby boy sitting on the floor, and I took a couple of pictures of him.
As soon as the boy’s father noticed me taking pictures of his son, he walked up to me, stuffed the child in my arms and started taking pictures with his own camera. This would have been fine were it not that the father took quite a while taking pictures from every angle and the baby wasn’t wearing a diaper. Or even underwear. I had his naked butt on my arm and was terrified he would pie on me (I’m not the standard woman who starts cooing when there’s a child in sight…). Luckily he didn’t, and when his father finally lowered his camera, I carefully placed the boy back on the floor and quickly walked on.
The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple was extraordinarily beautiful, especially the first courtyard and the large hall with carved pillars. Every now and then, it would be nice if we could be invisible though. It’s getting a bit exhausting to get this much attention everywhere we go…