Deep within the mainland of Tamil Nadu, you will find a small river island on the Kaveri river that attracts millions of pilgrims each year. A bridge connects the main town of Tiruchirapalli to Srirangam, which houses the grand Sri Ranganathswamy temple, considered the largest active temple complex in the world. While Tamil literature has references to this temple and traces it back to the Sangam era, before the Common Era (CE), archaeologists believe that the temple complex evolved over a long period of time with layers upon layers being added to it.
This Vishnu temple complex spans an area of about 631,000 square metres (6,790,000 sq ft) with a perimeter of 4 km (10,710 ft).The entire temple complex built in the Dravidian style of architecture consists of seven parikramas (path around the temple) with massive walls, 21 sculpted gopurams (monumental ornate towers), 53 sub shrines, 9 sacred pools and a gilded vimana (dome) over the sanctum sanctorum. While the great temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, is larger in size, the Sri Ranganathswamy temple beats it, since it is actively in use even today, hundreds of years after it was built.
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