Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy temple (BRST)- another hidden gem of the Mysuru region is being introduced briefly to the people through this article. Though people from the Mysuru region know about this temple, it is for those who haven’t heard about BRST this article is catering to.
Sri Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple – A brief introduction
“Biligiri Rangayya… ” the ultimate song of the 1971 cult classic Kannada movie “Sharapanjara ” (the cage of arrows), immortalized by the late actress “Kalpana”, talks highly about Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy – presiding deity of BRST. The song, with a philosophical tone, made such an impact in the minds of people, that it got instant recognition, and the temple shot to fame. People came in droves to this temple seeking divine blessings, and the rest they say is history. The rush continues even today.
Brief history of this temple
According to legend, sage Vasishta did penance here on these hills on Lord Venkateswara, also called Lord Ranganatha. The Lord appeared to him and blessed him. To mark this moment, sage Vasishta consecrated Lord Ranganatha Swamy moola pratima and worshiped the deity.
There are many interesting folklore stories about Lord Ranganathaswamy, the temple deity. A huge pair of sandals has been kept in the temple Garba Gudi (Sanctum). Lord is believed to wear them and go roaming in the forest at night daily. The sandals are replaced once they are found worn out. The villagers of nearby Boodi Tittu village offer the sandals as their offering to the lord even now.
The divine love
It is said in their Janapada story that Lord Ranganatha was wandering in the forest and happened to meet the Soliga tribal girl Kusumale, fell in love and married her. It is also believed that Lord Ranganatha used to meet Kusumale every night on the pretext of hunting rabbits. The Tribal inhabitant of Soliga Community living in their hutments at the hillock consider Lord Ranganatha as their brother-in-law, which means their sister’s husband
The oldest reference to this holy place is available in the “Brahmanda Purana” in its “Teertha Prashamsara Khaanda”. The Puranas call the place “Champakaranya” (the flower forest of Champaka) and also “Gajaranya” (the elephant forest) where a large number of elephants were once found.
Present day temple was built in 17th century
The temple houses the idols of Nammalvar, Ramanujacharya and Venkatacharya the Vaisnava disciples. The history of the temple dates back to the year 1667 and has been built by the Then Paleyagar Sree Mudduraju of Hadinadu and these hills were given as ‘Datti’ to the Lord Poornaiah of the erstwhile Mysuru Samsthana of Wodeyar period, and left two villages to the temple as Dattigramas. There are other temples like Sree Gangadhareshwara temple, Sree Anjaneyaswamy temple and Sri Gajendraswamy temple at the close vicinity of the main temple Biligiri Ranganatha.
Lord Rama too had visited this Kshetra It is said that Lord Rama and Lakshmana in search of Sita Devi came to this place and offered prayers to the deity. There is also a separate shrine for Lord Gangadhareshwara – Lord Shiva.
Lord Ranganatha can burn our Doshas – There is an epic story that Lord Parushurama – an incarnation of Lord Ranganatha himself, did penance at this hillock and worshiped Lord Ranganatha to absolve him from Matru Hatya Dosha (He beheads his mother as ordered by his father Sage Jamadagni). A Riveret which takes its birth here is being called in his name as Bhargavi, a tributary of the River Cauvery. So, whoever visits this temple and meditates on the lord can burn off all his negative karmas – doshas.
The hillock on which the temple exists is famous for its gigantic Champaka tree locally called Dodda Sampige which is believed to be very old. The Sri Anjaneyaswamy temple also exists near Vadagere village. Soliga tribals take part in the temple works during the Rathotsava period.
Location of temple
Sri Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple OR Biligiri Ranganna Temple is Situated in Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka on the ‘White Cliff’ the highest peak of the BR mountain range.
The moola pratima of Sri Ranganatha Swamy, the main deity is of 5 feet in height in a standing posture, dressed as a hunter with a dagger in the belt. Goddess Ranganayaki Ammanavara Sannidhi – Goddess Lakshmi, has a separate shrine on the right side of the shrine of Lord Ranganathaswamy.
Lord Ranganatha and Goddess Ranganayaki – the divine couple
There is a belief that, if married couples come and worship Lord Ranganatha and Goddess Ranganayaki (Goddess Lakshmi) together by doing special seva, they (couple) will be blessed with more understanding, love and bonding between them. Also, the couple will be blessed with kids who bring good name and fame to their parents.
Thousands of people stand in a long queue to reach the temple and to seek divine blessings.
Rathotsava – Temple car festival
The Annual Car festival of the deity held during “Vaishakha “in the month of April, is famous in the region and attracts several pilgrims from other places too. The local tribes present a large pair of slippers measuring 1 foot and 9 inches, made up of skin, to the Ranganathaswamy once in two years.
How to get there?
BR Hills is 120 kms from Mysuru and 247 kms Bangaluru. KSRTC Buses & private buses ply regularly from Mysore. One can drive from Mysuru/ Bangaluru by private cars too.
Best months to visit temple
June to early March for regular visiting, as the weather will be pleasant. Visiting the temple during Rathotsava (car festival) in Vaishakha Masam (April month) will be auspicious.
What to carry during the journey?
Since there are no decent eateries when travelers leave Mysuru for the shrine, it is better to carry food, drinking water separately. The pooja items can also be carried along from Mysuru itself. Please make sure the shrine and its surroundings are kept clean and don’t litter the place.
Biligiri Ranga (BR) hills
BR hills on which the shrine is located