Aayiram Kaal Mandapam – Trichy
India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu is truly a land of heritage, culture, and history. It is here that you will find the lineage of Hindu mythology stretching many centuries back and adding to the rich cauldron of India’s culture.
The magnificent Sri Ranganathaswamy temple located on the Srirangam Island in Trichy is one such temple that has been inspiring generations of devotees. It is the world’s second largest temple area-wise and the world’s largest functional temple. It is located about 10km away from Trichy city and hosts millions of believers every year. The temple complex has many interesting features including 5 sacred water pools, 50 shrines, 39 pavilions and 17 gopurams (gateways).
Aside from this, the temple complex also has a colossal granite hall supported by a 1000 pillars and built by Tirumangai Mannan. It is known as the Aaiyaram Kaal Mandapam (hall with a 1000 pillars). However, do note that the hall actually has only 953 pillars. Each mammoth sized pillar is a representation of glorious Dravidian sculpturing out of a huge single block of granite and intricately carved with images of fierce horsemen on rearing horses crashing down and trampling rampant tigers. You will also find intricately-carved depictions of the 12 incarnations of Lord Vishnu on these pillars. The pillars aren’t just strong supporting structures, but also a marvel of Indian architecture.
This Aayiram Kaal Mandapam comes alive during the annual ‘Vaikunta Ekadasi’ festival during which time the hall becomes crowded with thousands of devotees. There is a legend that whoever passes through the ‘Parampada Vasal’ (Gateway to Paradise) during this festival will surely attain the heavens upon their death. This festival falls between the cooler December-January months, making it the ideal time to visit this amazing architectural feat in Trichy.
The Aayiram Kaal Mandapam is a place of divine vibrations and ideal for meditation. It attracts fans of ancient Indian architecture and history buffs as well as the worshippers. Legend has it that the hall is surrounded by standing water throughout the year and recent maintenance work has added to the former glory of this structure. Efforts are on to make permanent water storage areas around the mandapam.
There are numerous other places of religious and historical significance in Trichy too, so come prepared to spend a few days of utmost pleasure in this vibrant city. Getting to Trichy is easy as it has an airport and a railway station, aside from good road connectivity. A number of great hotels including the Sangam hotel are there to enhance your holiday mood.