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Ranganatha Temple

Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the Sri Ranganatha Temple is one of the most eminent temples of Hampi. Located in a small island on the river Kaveri in Mandya District, the temple houses an idol of Lord Vishnu in his reclining form, called Ranganatha. This beautiful temple is situated near the Achyut Raya’s temple in the northern end of Courtesan’s street. The shrine was built in rectangular shape with a porch outside it.

About the temple idols
The main shrine of Ranganatha Temple houses the beautiful images of Lord Vishnu, his consorts and Lord Brahma. The idol of Lord Vishnu is resting on the cosmic sake Anantha, and Lord Vishnu has four arms. One of the right hands of Lord Vishnu supports the head of the snake; the other holds the Chakra (Vishnu’s weapon).
One of his left hands holds a conch shell called Panchajanya, the other left hand rests by his side. You can observe the idol of Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Bhudevi sitting beside him. Lord Brahma, the creator of the Universe is seated on a lotus, which rises from the naval of lord Vishnu.

Temple Architecture
Enclosed within fort like walls, the magnificent temple premise is an architectural wonder. The huge temple gopuram has beautiful sculptures all over it, and the sanctum of the temple is surrounded by a hall with round and star shaped pillars.  The Chaturvimsati pillars are decorated with carvings of the 24 forms of Lord Vishnu.
There is an idol of Lakshmi near the feet of Lord Ranganatha. There is a separate shrine for the Goddess Ranganayaki, the consort of Ranganatha. This temple also has a shrine of Lord Krishna besides images of Alwars and Acharyas of the Sri Vaishnava tradition. This temple has a huge Garuda Sthamba.

Mythological Significance
As per mythological beliefs, river Kaveri used to be so pure that she cleansed all the sins of those who bathed in her. Eventually, she too got affected by the accumulated sins of the people who washed off their sins in her.  She performed penance to Lord Vishnu to grant her a way to cleanse her of all the sins and pollutions. Lord Vishnu appeared before her and granted her a boon saying he would himself descend to Earth. He assured that he will take residence along her course and she would thus be protected from all the contamination caused by people bathing in her. Another belief state that Maharishi Gautama also performed penance here, and had Darshan of the Lord in reclining or Sayana position. Therefore, this place is also known as Gautama Kshetra.

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