Ranganath in Vrindavan
This temple is dedicated to Sri Ranganatha (Lord Vishnu), as is the famous temple in Sri Rangam. Also worshiped here is Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu. There are many side temples including ones dedicated to the Alwars (Tamil Nadu Vaishnava saints), Sesa-sayi Ananta Sayanam with Lord Vishnu reclining on him, and Tirupati Balaji.
Also worshiped in this temple are Lord Narasimha, Sita-Rama and Laksman, Venugopala and Ramanujacarya. This temple is managed by priests of the Sri Sampradaya, which begins from Sri Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune. This temple is constructed in the South Indian Dravidian style.
The construction of this temple began in 1845 and was completed in 1851, at the cost of 45 lakhs (4.5 million) rupees. It was built by Seth Radha Krishna and Seth Govindadasa of Chennai (Madras). This is the biggest temple in Vrindavana. The outer wall is 231m (770 ft) by 132m (440 ft). This wall encloses a nice tank and garden. This temple has eight South Indian style gopurams.
The main entrance to this temple is the western gate. There is a six-storey (31m or 105 feet) gopuram, which is completely covered by carvings. There is an 18m (60 ft) high flag staff (dhwaja stamba).
The style of worship in this temple is the system established by Ramanujacarya and the worship is done by South Indian brahmanas. Non-Hindus (non-Indians) cannot enter the main temple area where the Deity is located, but they can enter the courtyard If you are not an Indian, you can only enter the first two gateways. On either side of the second gateway are moving diorama exhibits for Rs 1.
On the left of the gateway is an exhibit on Krishna’s pastimes and on the right is one on Rama’s pastimes. They are fairly well made and are interesting. In the month of Chaitra from the 2nd to 12th days of Krishna Chaitra (March-April) there is the huge Brahmotsava Festival of Sri Ranganatha. It is a ten-day festival in which the utsava murti (festival deity) is taken out on procession twice a day in the morning and evening. Over a hundred thousand people come to this festival. On the eighth day of Krishna Chaitra the processional Deity is pulled by devotees on a large 14m (45 ft) high cart from the Ranganath temple to Rangaji Garden, about 700m.
The procession takes about 2½ hours. The cart festival is known as Ratha ka Mela. On the days when the main cart is not used, other vehicles are used to carry the Deities. There are fire-works on the tenth day of Krishna Chaitra. There is a variety of asanas (thrones) that are used to carry Lord Vishnu, which are placed on a smaller chariot. There is a Garuda, Hanuman, Surya (the Sun god), Chandra (the Moon god), a lion, an elephant and a horse.