Srirangam to honour Tirupati
Srirangam, Tamil Nadu July 16: In a rare gesture, a group of priests and officials of Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple at Srirangam, the first and foremost among the 108 Divyadesams, left for the Lord Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh this morning.
This was to honour the temple with ''Vasthirams'', a divine thanks giving for protecting the Procession Deity (Urchava Deity) Idol of ''Lord Namperumal'' in Tirupathi during the Muslim Invasion in Srirangam, during the 13th Century.
The representatives of Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple, led by Joint Commissioner and Executive Officer of the Temple P Sivakumar took the ''Holy Gifts'', comprising silk clothings, garlands, dry fruits, nuts and betel leaves in a procession through the four important Chithirai Streets around the temple, amidst chanting of vedic hymns from the holy scriptures by the temple priests.
Later, they left for Tirupathi hills by road. After reaching Tirupathi tonight, the ''Holy Gifts'' will be handed over to the officials of the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) on behalf of the Srirangam Temple by Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) Secretary Karpura Sundara Pandiyan and other officials, at a function tomorrow.
Recalling the history and the connection between Srirangam temple and Tirupathi, officials of the temple quoting historical evidences told UNI that it was in the year 1323 AD, the Muslim King Mohammed Bin Tughlaq invaded South India and made Madurai as his Capital. The Srirangam Temple was then transformed into a fortified camp.
However, the precious idols, some of the jewels and pooja articles for worship were saved before the Muslim Invasion and transported to Tirupathi, where they remained till 1371 AD.
The officials said before the invasion of Mohammed Bin Tughlaq, a Vaishnavite Saint ''Pillai Logachariyar'' of Srirangam took hard efforts to safe guard the Urchava Deity Idols-Lord Azhagiya Manavalan Perumal (Namperumal) and his consorts ''Ubhaya Nachiyars'' of Sirangam Temple for about 48 years from 1323 AD to 1371 AD. Despite his old age, Sri Pillai Logachariyar had taken the idols to number of places in order to keep them out of reach of the Muslim invaders. The idols were taken via Azhagarmalai, Ettayapuram, Nagercoil, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Thirukanambi and through the borders of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, before reaching Tirupathi on Padayatra.
The Idols were kept safe in Tirupathi for about 48 years. Though Sri Pillai Logachariyar succumbed to his ailment enroute to Tirupathi. But his disciples successfully took the idols to Tirupathi.
When the Vijayanagar Army reconquered the region, they liberated Srirangam from the Muslims in 1371 AD. The idols were again restored at Srirangam on June 6, 1371 AD. The Lord Azhagiyamanavalan Perumal was later called as ''Nam Perumal''. Even now, the premises where the Lord Azhagiyamanavalan Perumal Idol was protected at the Tirupathi Temple is called as ''Sriranga Mandapam.'' they added.
It might be recalled that the TTD officials had honored the Srirangam Temple with ''Silk Parivattams'' and other ''holy gifts'' in remembrance of preservation of Srirangam idols at Tirupathi on December 11, last year.