By Swami Harshananda
Deity Aspects of Raṅganātha
Raṅganātha is an aspect of Viṣṇu. Images of Raṅganātha are invariably in the śayana or reclining posture. Three temples of this deity are at Śrirañgapaṭṭaṇa, Śivasamudra and Śriraṅgam. The first two are in the Karnataka state and the last one is in Tamil Nadu. The deities are known as:
Śrirañgapattaṇa is a small town 13 kms. from the city of Mysore. According to the local legends, the great sage Gautama lived here and was worshiping the Ādiraṅga image. Tirumalayya, a chieftain of the kings of the Gaṅga race built the present temple in A. D. 849 and named the small town as Śrīraṅgapura. The Raṅganātha temple has been built in the Dravidian style of architecture. At the entrance of the navaraṅga there are two big images of Dvārapālakas.
Image of Raṅganātha
The original image is very beautiful and attractive. The serpent Ādiśeṣa, on whom the deity is lying, has seven hoods. Near the feet of the deity is an image of goddess Lakṣmī and of the sage Gautama. There are two more temples in the town, of Narasimha and of Gaṅgādhareśvara built during the 17th century A. D. Very near Srīraṅgapaṭṭaṇa is the pilgrim center Paścimavāhinī. Here, one of the branches of the Kāverī river flows towards the west for a short distance. Hence it is named so. There are quite a few dharmaśālās catering to the pilgrims who crowd here for the performance of religious rites.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore