Are you from Srirangam, the famous temple town in Tamilnadu? Or, do you know anyone from there? Or, have you heard its name and know what kind of a place it is? Here is something that would interest all of you-and even those who have not heard of Srirangam at all:
It has been called 'heaven on earth' and is the, first among the 108 sacred centers of vaishnavism. It is an international heritage site; acknowledged by the UNESCO, which has been funding its preservation for future generations. This book gives a short account of its rise, fall and resurrection. Read on and savour its glorious past and colorful present. Hope it spurs you on to visit the place at the earliest, with a newly awakened curiosity and insight!
Ensconced in the cozy and privileged position of a precocious and pampered first born boy in a traditional home in the innermost square of houses in Srirangam, the author spent twenty deliriously happy years of his childhood and adolescence there. Afterwards he has been wandering all over the globe as a physicist but Srirangam, steeped in religion, spirituality and festivals, remained his first love. This book tries to capture some of that excitement and the events in the last millennium that went into making Srirangam what it is today. It also attempts to hold the mirror to the temple town, as it has evolved from a traditional bastion of vaishnavism into a teeming town of Tamilnadu in modern India. No matter where they go and what they become, every one of its natives is haunted by Srirangam. It beckons to them and steadies them through the vicissitudes of life. This is a story of that undying love.
I was born in Sreerangam on 21 March, 1944. I spent the I first twenty years of my life there.
Afterwards, even though I have been wandering all over the world, it has always remained my first love.
As Walter Scott once exclaimed Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land! Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd, As home his footsteps he hath turn'd, From wandering on a foreign strand!
To me, however, Sreerangam is not just my native place; it is a treasure bequeathed to me over millennia of spiritual evolution. It has an inexpressible vitality which age cannot wither nor custom stale.
No wonder then that I should choose to write about its history through a thousand years and thereby also enrich myself with a closer knowledge than before about this temple town.
I would like to share these 'wandering mazes' with my readers who, I hope, will find it enjoyable. To savour its delights, best go and visit Sreerangam first and acquire a detailed knowledge of the temple's many shrines, corridors and `mandapam's. Also equip yourself with a good knowledge of south Indian history. I have tried to explain these details as I went along but gave up because it is difficult.
Sreerangam has to be seen, visited, lived through in order for one to fathom its multifaceted grandeur!