Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lalchand Rajput Abhinav Mukund

Get Abhinav into the Ranji Team, when in form and high on confidence- India U19 Coach
Lalchand Rajput was a formidable opening bat for Bombay, who in the mid 80s played a couple of tests and one-dayers for India. He recently was the coach of the Indian U19 team that toured Sri Lanka and is currently the manager of the Indian team at the 2020 World Cup. Rajput played a key role with Abhinav during the recent India U19 tour of SriLanka and can be credited with the two big knocks that the left hander played towards the end of the tour.

In this exclusive telephonic interview from South Africa, Lalchand Rajput, the U19 India Coach talks to S.Prabhu about Abhinav Mukund and his prospects.

Q. When did you first watch him bat?

Lalchand Rajput(LR): I first saw Abhinav at the NCA(National Cricket Academy) a couple of years ago, when he was around 15 years. But more recently, I watched him at the U19 camp in Chennai, just before the team left for the Sri Lanka tour.

Q. What was your initial assessment of Abhinav (just before the tour)?

LR: He seemed to have a very tight bottom hand and tended to play a lot towards mid wicket and square leg and also behind square. The camp was too short a time to change this. However, I told him to practice with the top hand and to leave the bottom hand loose. Also, I wanted him to play the initial overs in the mid off and mid on region. I asked him to play his shots only after settling down.

Q. He did not seem to do too well early on in the Sri Lanka tour. What did you tell him that suddenly transformed him?

LR: As I said, the pre tour camp in Chennai was too short a time to make a correction. However, during the course of the tour, I kept instilling the confidence in him that he has the potential to play a long innings. I asked him not to play across the line, at least in the initial stages of his innings. He is a good listener and grasps things well. And by the end of the tour, you could see the transformation. He is now a good player all round the wicket. He has got a very good cover drive and a straight drive. He is also playing a lot more ‘showing the full face’ of the bat. And that’s something he has picked up very quickly from the discussions I had with him.

Q. What should he do now as he prepares himself for the move into the higher league?
LR: Once he gets in, I would like him to tighten himself and look for a long innings. He is improving all the time. But he must look to improve further and not rest on past glory. He has a very good temperament, is a brilliant fielder and a good runner between the wickets. He must bowl a bit more in the nets and simulate situations, as if he is bowling in a match. He can actually be a good player in the shorter version of the game too, in addition to succeeding in the longer form of the game.

Q. Tamil Nadu has traditionally been a little slow in inducting youngsters with high potential into the Ranji team. Do you think he is fit to make the jump into the Ranji team?

LR: I do not know what their plan is and it is a call the TN selectors will have to take. He has done well in the U19. However, having watched him closely and having seen him transform to a player with shots all round the wicket from being a pre dominantly on side player, my view is that one should try and get him into the Ranji team as quickly as possible and give him the right opportunities. He is in form and high on confidence. If you do not give youngsters the opportunities at the right time, especially ones with high potential, you will not be able to decide how good they are for the next level.

R. Madhavan Abhinav Mukund

Key challenge for Abhinav will be to maintain the momentum and carry his good form on to the next stage- TN Selector

In an exclusive interview with S.Prabhu, R. Madhavan, Member, Tamil Nadu State Senior selection committee talks about the prospects for Abhinav Mukund, the 17 year old south paw who has been making tons of runs in the recent past.

Madhavan represented Board President’s XI, India under-25 and under-19 teams in the late1970s and early 80s. He played for Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy and South Zone in Duleep & Deodhar Trophy tourneys in the mid 80s. He is a Qualified Level 1 coach of the NCA (National Cricket Academy). He was the Chairman of the TamilNadu state under-19 cricket selection Committee 2006-07 and is a current member of the TamilNadu State Senior selection committee

Q. What is your take on Abhinav?

R. Madhavan(RM): I have been watching him closely over the last year or so. He is strong off the back foot and that will be a great asset for him, especially at higher levels of cricket when (hopefully) opening the batting against top class fast bowlers. He has a good temperament, is mentally tough and quite determined to succeed. And he has improved his fielding and running between the wickets in the recent past. As a leg spinner, he could come in handy too.

Q. Given Abhinav’s recent run of big scores (double century and a hundred the U19 test in July and his 90 odd in the BuchiBabu in August), will Abhinav gain entry into the TN Ranji team this year?

RM: It is a little premature to talk about that now. However, Abhinav has Yo-Mahesh to look up to. Yo played and performed very well for the India U19 team last year and went on to perform very well in the Ranji, Duleep and Irani trophy tournaments and is currently on the short list of the Indian senior team. Abhinav can look to emulate him.

Q. What’s the key for Abhinav in the year(s) ahead?

RM: Abhinav has been at the forefront in all the age groups he has played so far- U13, U15, U17… and recently in U19. The double hundred and the century against Sri Lanka in the recent under 19 test match was just the right kind of knock that would have given him confidence (at the beginning of the season) to break into a higher grade of cricket. The next 3-4 years will be crucial for him. The key challenge for him now will be to maintain the momentum and carry this on to the next stage.

Q. Any words of caution for Abhinav?

RM: While his back foot stroke play is solid and will help him get a lot of runs, he may also have to be careful to use it discreetly. At higher levels, it would be important for him to play in the V during the initial stages before he cashes in on his strengths – the cut and pull and the drives.

Q. What about the possibility of a formal and structured plan to groom talented youngsters come up the grade and make the transition school/college cricket to first division and Ranji Trophy a lot easier. Also, Do you as a selector talk to the upcoming cricketers to give them the confidence of scaling up to the next level?

RM : It's a good thought in terms of policy but will have to be a longer process for grooming youngsters. Ideally, one should look at a 5-10 year plan for TN cricket that would help identify, create and groom potentially talented cricketers to help them scale up to the next level- and hopefully national duties. I am sure this will be high on the agenda of the TNCA academy which recently inaugurated its indoor facilities.

As selectors, we do talk to the youngsters at various age levels and in different perspectives. All four selectors in the current state selection committee are qualified coaches and that helps.

Abhinav Mukund

Has potential to be a solid India opener
Its been close to 3 decades since the emergence of the last TN bat who made it big on the international scene. Srikkanth, who made his debut in 1981-82, stayed on for a decade and carved a name for himself as the man who created a new approach to playing the first 15 overs of a one dayer.

Over the last 25 years or so, there have been several players from TN who have made it to the Indian team but their stint have all been short lived( for varied reasons). LS, VB, M. Venkatramana, B. Arun, WV Raman (current TN Chief Coach), S. Ramesh, S. Sriram, Hemang Badani, M. Karthik and L. Balaji have played for India but only a few tests/one dayers. Robin Singh did manage to remain on the scene for a few years in the one day circuit.

I am picking a TN cricketer here (Opener again!!) who I believe will play for India, for a long time at that, and will end up as an opener with the best defensive technique after Sunil Gavaskar.
Abhinav Mukund, the 17 year old south paw from Mylapore, Madras doing his first year B. Com at Vivekananda College, recently scored a stunning double hundred and a century in the same test playing for India Under 19 against Sri Lanka.

I first saw Abhinav a decade ago, in 1997, and actually bowled to him on several occasions that year at the Vivekananda College Ground nets. Even at that tender age of 7, I found him very passionate and committed ( he would be at Viveka at sharp 6am even before the ground gate opened). He would bat for half hour under the watchful eyes of CS Umapathy, his first coach and would then pick up the red cherry and turn his arm over with his leg breaks, much like his father, TS. Mukund. And would then leave for Vidya Mandir by 730am. In those early days, Umapathy was the one who taught Abhinav the basics of defence.

His background
Abhinav comes from quite a cricketing family. Father TS Mukund played almost two decades of First Division cricket (He was also in the TN Ranji and Subbiah Pillai squad in the mid 80s) and when he moved into lower division cricket in the late 1990s, he spun every single team he played for, into promotion into a higher division - quite a unique record.

Abhinav’s mother Lakshmi Mukund played cricket for South Zone University. His uncle TS Mohan(played for RBI) is regarded as one of the best coaches, especially on the fielding front. To this day, cricketers dread the prospect of a fielding session under TS Mohan. Another of Abhinav’s uncle, TS Manohar, still plays for Indian Airlines. And his grandfather was a cricketer too!!!

The beginning
The first aspect I noticed even then watching Abhinav bat was his ability to let the ball go, something of a rarity these days. With a solid defence and the patience he displayed, it was no surprise that his father wanted him to become an opener.

Abhinav had been watching cricket from the age of 3 when his father used to take him to the ground for his matches (2 day first division league those days). He had his father for his coach through the early ‘foundation years’ of his cricket. TS Mukund put him through a rigorous daily schedule- waking up at 515am, nets for 90mts in the morning, school and then a couple of hours at the nets in the evening, followed by watching a cricket video (many times the batting of Lara). Much of the dinner discussion also centered around cricket.

Age Group Cricket
In his first ever school match, when he was under 9 years, he batted almost through the 30 overs to score 26 runs. Abhinav has come a long way from there.

A year later, Abhinav scored his first ever century ( for his school in an U10 match). At 12, he scored back to back centuries for TN in the U13 tournament including a knock of 192. In 2004-05, he captained the TN U15 team (he had captained TN U13 team as well) and led them to the South Zone championship. TN finished runner up losing to Delhi in the All India finals.

Even before he had turned 15, he was already representing the state in U15, U17 and U19.

Entry into League Cricket
He began with Division V cricket playing for Harnath in 2001-02. The next year, playing for Egmore Club in the 4th Division, he scored 350 plus runs in the season. He gained instant recognition and Indian Bank chose him to play for them in the 2nd Division in the 2003-04 season at the age of 13. That year he came up with two gems. He scored a century against Bunts, but more importantly Abhinav played one of his best knocks to date on a square turner against SBI that had two experienced off spinners, Kubendran and VijaySarathi- a half century that gave him a lot of confidence to play against top quality off spinners. He scored over 400 runs that season in the 2nd division.

Bad Phase
2005-06 saw him go through a bad phase. Playing for TN state U17, Abhinav failed badly in the first 2 matches(plus one match was washed out). But what was commendable was the way he came out of this phase. Abhinav views his then U17 coach, J. Gokulakrishnan, the former TN Ranji cricketer, as one of his best coaches and credits Gokulakrishnan for bringing him out of the poor rut he had got into.

The season saw a damp start with preparations being hampered by heavy rains, so much so that they had to practice indoors. With spinners coming on earlier than usual, Abhinav found it difficult to come to terms with the turning ball and fell continuously for low scores.

When asked what he did to get Abhinav back on track, Gokulakrishnan recounts those few days, with a great deal of pride, “ It was a very difficult tour for all the boys. The pitch turned square. We had very little practice outside, in the sun. With Abhinav, it was a question of an adjustment to his technique and the way he played the turning ball. I asked him to get into the line of the ball, to wait till the last moment to play and also to apply himself to the task. I said the same thing to all the boys but it was amazing to see how Abhinav transformed himself so quickly.”
Gokulakrishnan goes on, “His 160 against Goa showed how quick a learner he was. He grasped the finer points of what I said. More importantly, it was very clear that he wanted to come out of that low phase. And he did it in style.”
“As a coach, it also gave me a great deal of satisfaction that a young kid could grasp the deficiencies so quickly and turn around as fast as he did. He showed maturity far beyond his age.”
NCA(National Cricket Academy)

He was inducted into the NCA in May 2004 and has been at the NCA every year since, so much so that he is now said to be a veteran at the NCA. At the NCA, he has improved his game under the watchful eyes of Bhaskar Pillai (the unlucky Delhiite who plundered runs in the 1980s) and Parthasarathy Sharma. The video analysis and personalized feedback at the NCA has helped Abhinav immensely in correcting any technical faults. Very interestingly, Abhinav also stopped eating Appalams completely after feedback from the NCA( He used to have 5-6 a day previously).

Century in 1st Division at 16
At the age of 16, he scored a century in first division league against a top notch Jolly Rovers attack comprising of L. Balaji, Tinu Yohanan and Jesuraj. He followed that up with three 80 plus knocks in successive matches against MRF, India Pistons and India Cements. He scored over 400 runs that season( he had not played the full season because of U17/U19 commitments). Also, in 2006-07, he got a double hundred in all India U17 tourney.

His first (formal) overseas tour
In July this year, he went on his first official overseas tour (his father had earlier taken him to England to play a few matches for Kent minor county), to SriLanka, as part of the India U19 team. After low scores in the initial phase of the tour, Abhinav Mukund put up a sterling performance in the 2nd test with a double century and a century in the same test. These two knocks earned him many words of appreciation from the team’s coach Lalchand Rajput (read the exclusive interview with him), who helped him a great deal on the tour to face the moving Kookubara ball. This spectacular performance immediately earned him a place in the TN team for the Buchi Babu tournament in August and for the Moin-ud-Dowla tourney in Hyderabad.

Key Milestones

1999-2000 - First century when he was not yet 10
Oct 2002 - Back to Back centuries for TN in U13 tournament
2002-03 - Over 350 runs in IV Division league for Egmore Club
2003-04 - Century against Bunts in the 2nd division(13 years)
May 2004 - Inducted into the NCA
2004-05 - Captained TN U15 to South Zone championship, finished runner up in national U15 losing to Delhi in the finals
2006-07 - Century against a strong Jolly Rovers attack in first division league
2006-07 - Double hundred against Tripura in U17
2006-07 - MRF signed a contract with him for his cricket gear
July 07 - Double century and a hundred in the U19 test against SL
Aug07 - Selected in the TN Buchi Babu team, scored 92 against Assam

Abhinav’s Education
While he has had good amount of success on the field, he has not de-focused on his education. He secured around 90% in Class X and around 85% in Class XII. That’s exceptional for a boy, who has been at one ground or the other most of the time in the last 3 years and had an attendance of around 15% in class XII. Credit for this should go entirely to his mother Lakshmi who used to write notes for him and get him up to speed, when he came back from matches. Vivekananda College had already booked him (to join) even while he was just 15 years (yes, 2 years ahead of time).

StrengthsHas one of the best defences (for his age)
Mentally very strong, determined and a positive ‘want to succeed’ attitude
Consistent scores over the last 4 years – U13 -U15 -U17 and now U 19
A good thinker of the game
Strong onside player, very strong of the back foot- has a good cut and pull
Areas of concern
In 7- 8 years of cricket, he has not seen too many lows - will be interesting to see how he tackles failures
His technique against the moving ball will be tested at higher levels- to strengthen ‘front of the wicket’ game Focus on bowling could be a distraction
(Several former Ranji cricketers I spoke to, think that his bowling could be a value add. This writer believes that Abhinav should focus on being a ‘great opener’ than a batsman who can also be a utility bowler. The best of opening batsmen have all been pure play openers. And being a leg spinner, he will require that much more practice in the nets. It may be a sacrifice he may have to make, but may be worth considering)

What he must guard himself fromOver dose of matches currently - so could be stressed out if he doesn’t relax
Advice on ‘technique’ from different players

The Future- What’s in StoreAt 17, Abhinav’s eyes are now set on his Ranji debut. If all goes well, he should make his debut this season (read TN selector interview) and should be batting alongside Anirudh Srikkanth before the end of the season(Anirudh incidentally has had a brilliant start to the league season, amassing over 500 runs in the first round of matches and has been in form in Moin-ud-Dowla as well). Another big opportunity for Abhinav this season could be the under 19 World Cup (in February 2008).

ConclusionThe last time I was excited about a young TN cricketer, with an aggressive attitude to succeed, was 20 years ago, when I watched S. Sriram (he was about 10-11 years then) bowl tirelessly at the TSR YMCA nets. One thing that worried me even then about Sriram was his interest to also focus on batting. In the end, he turned into a batsman in the 1990s and lost his once beautiful flight, arc and turn.

Abhinav has brought to me the same excitement as Sriram did 2 decades ago. So far, the road has been smooth for Abhinav with TNCA providing him all the opportunities to establish himself at the junior level. More importantly, Abhinav has remained focused and has not been carried away by the early successes he has had (at U13/U15 and U 17 levels). With over 50 centuries already under his belt, I believe Abhinav, at 17, is now all set to make the jump into the next higher level- Ranji Cricket.

One of the big issues with TN cricket has been not providing opportunities at the right time to budding cricketers, thus delaying their entry into top notch cricket. Luckily for Abhinav, he has had it his way in the last 3- 4 years and has had a smooth sailing thus far in all grades of cricket. Abhinav must also count himself lucky that, at a time when he is looking to break through into the Ranji squad, he has two southpaws as selectors this year, WV Raman (he is also the coach) and R. Madhavan, both of whom are ideally suited to guide him through his next phase in his cricketing career.

It will do his confidence a great deal of good if the TN officials talk to him and inform him of their plans for him (of course subject to him scoring the necessary runs). That will help him not become too eager and anxious of his impending selection in the TN state team.

Having graduated in flying colours in age group cricket, Abhinav has it in him to scale through Ranji and Duleep in the next couple of years to put himself in contention for national honours. Unless something dramatically goes wrong,(and I don’t see that possibility as he has all the basics right, both technically and mentally), I see Abhinav being an integral part of the Indian team into the next decade.

Abhinav could end up as one, with the best defensive technique for India against the new ball after Sunil Gavaskar. A shrewd thinker, I also see Abhinav captaining Tamil Nadu for many years.
Where do I see him
2007-08- Debut in Ranji Trophy
2008-09- Entry into Duleep Trophy and Irani Trophy
2009-10- In the Indian team
2010-11- Cementing his place in the Indian team

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thiruvarangam Ranganatha temple

The Kovil among Temples- Bhoologa Vaikuntam
Srirangam Ranganatha temple has 7 prakarams denoting the 7 logoms
Located between the two famous rivers, Cauvery and Coloroon, and spread over 150 acres, Ranganatha Swamy Temple in Srirangam is the holiest and the most sacred among the Divya Desams. This place is also called Bhoologa Vaikuntam (Heaven on Earth). Such is the greatness of this Lord that when a Vishnu devotee says just ‘Koil’ (Temple) without naming any Lord, he is meant to have called Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam.

The Utsava processional deity is called Nam Perumal referring to 'Our Lord'. There are 21 towers in this temple, the highest for any divya desam. Bus facilities from Trichy Junction (Station) to Srirangam rank as the best bus service in India.

Biggest Temple Tower in Asia
Srirangam is home to the biggest temple tower in Asia. The construction of the Raya Gopuram had originally been started by the great Vijayanagar king Krishnadeva Raya, but was unfinished and remained so for several centuries and hence was called the ‘Mottai Gopuram’(Barren tower). Ahobila Mutt Jeer anchored the construction of the Raya Gopuram (in the later half of the 20th Century) which at 236 ft is the tallest temple tower in Asia.
The story
It is believed that Brahmma himself used the idol of Lord Ranganatha for his daily prayers. Later Raama’s forefather brought the idol from Brahmma and brought the idol to Ayodhya. After defeating Ravana and on being crowned the king of Ayodhya, Lord Rama gave the idol of Lord Ranganatha to Vibheeshana, who wanted to take this to Lanka.

On his way back to Lanka, Vibheeshana wanted to bathe in the Cauvery and handed the idol to Lord Vinayaka (disguised in a boy’s attire) for him to hold till he had bath. (The idol if placed on the land could not be removed). Lord Ranganatha wanted to make Srirangam his abode and as per his plan, Vinayaka placed the idol on the banks and ran atop the nearby rock (this is now the famous Uchi Pillayar Temple) away from an angry Vibheeshana. Lord Ranganatha told a disconsolate Vibheeshana that he would like to remain here for ever and promised to lie in the same sleeping posture facing Lanka (South). He asked Vibheeshana to come here once a year to perform pooja.

Chozha King Dharma Varma took the idol and constructed the temple here, which was then submerged in the floods. Later, Killi Valavan who came here hunting, heard a parrot repeatedly sing in a sweet voice about the Vaikuntam Lord being present here as Lord Ranganatha. The Lord appeared before Killi Valavan and showed him the exact location. Killi Valavan, it is said, laid the base for the temple that we today see at Srirangam, which over time has been improved upon and renovated by Chozha, Pandya, Nayak and Vijayanagar Kings as well by the Azhvaars.

ThondaradiPodi Azhvaar built the Nandavanam (Garden) and brought flowers for the Lord from the Garden. ThiruMangai Azhvaar, when he was building the huge walls, found that the Nandavanam came in the way. But he built the huge walls in a way that did not disturb the Nandavanam. It is believed that Rajendra Chozhan built the Coloroon to prevent damage to the temple from floods in the Cauvery.

7 Prakarams denoting the 7 Logam
There are 7 prakarams (the only Divya Desam to have so) at this temple that relate to the 7 logams (7 worlds) each of which is said to be a step in leading us to Vaikuntam.

The 7th prakaram (Bhoo Logam) called the Chitra Street now has a row of shops and offices.

The 6th prakaram (Bhoovar Logam) has a Bazaar and is called the Uthara Street. This prakaram also has the famous big Eastern Gopuram called Kaliyuga Raama Gopuram. It is in this prakaram that one finds the temple’s chariot which takes the Lord on his street processions.

The 5th prakaram (Swar Logom) has ChakkarathAzhvaar and Andal Sannidhi on the West and Thaayar Sannidhi on the Southern side. The Sesha Raya Mandapam, on the Eastern side has several battle field sculptures that reminds one of the great times of Vijayanagara rulers. Opposite this is the 1000 pillar mandapam where the Vaikunta Ekadesi festivities and the recital of Naalaayira Divya Prabandham (4000 songs composed by Azhvaars) as well as the Araiyar Sevai take place. This prakaram has some beautiful sculptures, possibly built by the Hoysala somewhere around 1200AD. Some of the sculptures depict girls playing the veena and ladies holding beautiful parrots. This prakaram has the famous White Gopuram at the Eastern Entrance to the temple.

The walls of the 4th prakaram (Mahar Logom) were built by ThiruMangai Azhvaar. This prakaram houses one of the biggest mandapams for Garuda among the 108 Divya Desams. This has over 200 pillars and is also possibly the most beautiful mandapam in the temple. On the southern side of this prakaram, one finds the Paramapada vaasal, also called Swarga Vaasal (the Gateway to Heaven), that opens only once a year during Vaikunta Ekadesi. Among the 108 Divya Desams, this is the only temple to have a Sannidhi for Dhanvantri, the medicinal God, which is located in this Prakaram, opposite the tank.

One can enter the 3rd prakaram (Jano Logam) only through the Arya Bhattal Tower. This houses several mandapams. While this is a dark area, one finds a special peace when inside this prakaram.

The 2nd prakaram (Thapo Logam), which one enters through the NaazhiKetaan Entrance is called the Raja Mahendran street in memory of the Chozha king who built it. This prakaram also has the Kili (Parrot) Mandapam and the big Glass mirror, through which one can see the Lord when he comes out on procession.

The first Prakaram (Sathiya Logam) was built by Chozha King Dharma Varma. There are 24 pillars inside this prakaram where(sanctum sanctorum) one finds Lord Ranganatha in his sleeping posture facing South(Lanka). These 24 pillars, it is said, denote the 24 letters of the Gayantri Mantra.

Kamban Ramaayana and Srirangam Temple
The Great Tamil poet Kamban had in his composition of the Raamaayana written about the Lord destroying Hiranya, the mention of which did not find universal acceptance. Kamban retorted stating that if the Lord accepted his version, then the world could not dispute it. He stood outside the Thaayar Sannidhi of this temple and recited his version. Lord Azhagiya Singar, who heard this composition, accepted this version. In memory of this, there is an Azhagiya Singar Sannidhi in the 5th Prakaram of the temple. Recognising the importance of this event, there is a separate Kamban Mandapam opposite the Thaayar Sannidhi.

NammAzhvaar in Srirangam
As per the instructions of Lord Ranganatha, MaduraKavi Azhvaar brought NammAzhvaar to this temple. During Panguni festival, NammAzhvaar was the one who convinces Goddess Ranganaayaki to accept Ranganatha back (the Lord had been to the Goddess at Uraiyur about 6 kms North of Srirangam) and had stayed there for 3 days, an action that angered Ranganaayaki) and thus brought peace between the two. During Vaikunta Ekadesi Festival, Lord Namperumal himself comes and visits NammAzhvaar at the 1000 pillar mandapam, such is the regard for the Azhvaar.

Everyone equal in Lord’s eyes- Thirupaan Azhvaar’s story
Thirupaan Azhvaar, who belonged to a lower caste, was shy to visit the temple and hence would sing praise of the Lord from the banks of Cauvery. One day, Sage Lokasaranga, who came to collect water for the Lord from the Cauvery could not do so as ThirupaanAzhvaar was standing there. The sage clapped asking the Azhvaar to move aside but the Azhvaar who was immersed in his thoughts of the Lord could not hear this. Angered at this, the Sage threw stones at him and the Azhvaar started to bleed from the forehead.

When the sage went for a darshan of Lord Ranganatha, he was shocked to find blood flowing from the Lord’s forehead as well. Lord Ranganatha tells the sage that ThirupaanAzhvaar is just as devoted as him and asks the sage to carry the Azhvaar on his shoulder to the temple. Sage goes back and carries him all the way back to the temple.

ThirupaanAzhvaar, who was so thrilled at seeing Lord Ranganatha, sang the famous 10 ‘Amalanaathipiraan’ Paasurams in praise of the Lord and disappeared under the feet of the Lord. Lord Ranganatha through this action sent a message to the world that all are equal in his eyes.

Story of ‘5 holes- 3 entrance’
At the entrance to the Goddess Ranganayaki Sannidhi, one finds 5 holes on the ground. This place is called ‘ 5 holes 3 entrance’. It is said that Goddess Ranganayaki put her five fingers of her hand into the 5 holes and looked out eagerly for the Lord through each of the 3 entrances to the temple.


Ramanuja
The great Vaishnavite Acharya Ramanuja stayed here for several years before attaining Moksham at the age of 120 years. His Thirumeni (the body of Ramanuja) can be seen even today at the Srirangam temple. An interesting aspect is that one can actually see Ramanuja's finger and toe nails.

Everything is big here
236 ft Temple Tower is the biggest in Asia
Lord Ranganatha is a sleeping giant at 21 feet
Garuda here is the biggest among all the Divya Desams
Two Big rivers Cauvery and Coloroon on either side of the temple
Only Divya Desam to have 7 Prakarams
21 Towers with the Famous white Gopuram in the East and the Raja Gopuram in the South
Only Divya Desam where all the 11 Azhvaars (MaduraKaviAzhvaar did not sing praise of any Lord except NammAzhvaar) have sung praise of the Lord
247 Paasurams on Lord Ranganatha is the highest among the Divya Desams

Contact : Saathatha Vaishnava Sridharan@ 94433 78059

Place to stay : SN Towers @ 0431 2437600 or Maruti Piligrim House @ 0431 2435749


Where to Eat

Do not miss homely food at Gopal Mess (near Raghavendra Mutt): 0431 - 2432001

Venkatesa Bhavan (now open between 3pm and 5pm) for the best Rava Dosai and coffee
- 100 yards South of Ranga Ranga Gopuram