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George Michell

Temple site in the Tiruchirapalli District, Tamil Nadu, India, situated on an artificial island on the Kaveri River. One of the greatest religious centres of the south, Srirangam attracts pilgrims annually for the Vaikuntha Ekadasi festival in honour of Vishnu. The site contains two large temple complexes, the Vaishnava Ranganatha and the Shaiva Jambukeshvara, as well as numerous shrines and bathing ghats. Tamil literature of c. 3rd–7th centuries attests its religious importance for devotees of both Shiva and Vishnu, but later it became a centre for the development of mainstream Vaishnavism, culminating with the philosopher–saint Ramanuja in the late 11th century and the early 12th.

The Ranganatha, with its unique seven enclosures, is the largest temple complex in south India (see fig.). It is dedicated to the reclining form of Vishnu, supported on the primal waters by the coils of the 1000-hooded snake of eternity, Ananta. Koil Olugu...