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Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is huge – indeed, it is the biggest temple complex in India, seven concentric walled sections covering with 60 hectares 21 gopurams. Having said that, it perhaps lacked the finesse and craftsmanship of the three Cholan temples we had just visited. Maybe this was the impression given because of the ubiquitous multi-coloured gopuras and shrines, because in between them we came across many examples of fine Cholan work. I particularly liked a manadapa whose columns were rearing horses.

This temple is dedicated to Vishnu, unlike most of the others we have seen which have been Shiva temles. The elephant, the temple walls and pilgrims all bore the vertical symbol (as opposed to the horizontal lines of Shivaites).

Temple Fort Rock

Tichy lies in the middle of a fertile but very flat plain, so the one 83m high hill, on which are perched forts and temples, dominates the landscape.

The whole rock is a Hindu temple complex (so you have to leave your shoes at the base and climb the hill barefoot). The entrance is hidden away in a bazaar selling religious trinkets and artefacts and then you pass through a succession of dark temples, all the time climbing steep stairs. Then you emerge halfway up the hillside and continue to climb, passing yet more temples. Many, including ones dating back to the Pallavans, were closed to non-Hindus. Some 400 steps up, the view from the top disappointed me, having seen better views from forts like Jodhpur. But its dusty, polluted haze did spell out that this is a city with nearly a million inhabitants.

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