Hyderabad: “When the Golkonda kings were ruling Hyderabad, this area was known as Shaukar Karvaan as large number of Vysyas and Munur Kapus lived here following the Sri Vaishnava Sampradayam. There were not many Vaishnava temples those days,” said Srungaram Rajagopalacharya, a member of the family which is the custodian of the temple for the last 417 years.
The public requested their guru, Vanamamalai Jeeyar, head of the Nanganuru Prathama Peetham for the Vaishnavites, to build a temple. The main deity is Sri Ranganatha, Lord Vishnu in resting form. His consort Goddess Lakshmi is known as Ranganayaki.
Kalyana Vanamamalai Ramanuja Jeeyar laid the foundationstone for the first Peetham temple in Bhagyanagar. They follow the Tengala Sampradayam.
One of the proposed names for the new temple was Jeeyarguda since the Jeeyar stayed here. Muslims and others found it difficult to pronounce the Sanskrit name. Thus, Jiyaguda took birth.
“However, Jeeyarguda is still retained in Sanskrit,” said Rajagopalacharya.
And since there were no priests from their Peetham who knew the Sampradayam, priests from Srirangam came here to from the Vanamamalai Peetham.
Rajagopalacharya belongs to the seventh generation and all brothers are involved due to its hereditary nature. “I started with Chinna Jeeyar and we follow the Vanamamalai Sampradayam,” he insisted.
Rajagopalacharya has four siblings, who have their own trusts. The Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple Committee founding trustees are the brothers and the eldest of them, Srungaram Tiruvengalacharyulu, heads the trust.
Rajagopalacharya’s son, Srinivasa Ranganatha, has joined the hereditary profession and is learning Aagamam at the Chinna Jeeyar Ashram in Vijayawada.
“About six students come here to learn the Vedas. But I sent my son there for more discipline,” the priest said. These students have been with the family for the past 20 years and learn from their guru to practice the theories in the temple.
The family lives in the temple premises.
His elder brother’s son, Bhadrinath, studied engineering and went to London to complete MS and now works in the temple. “I wanted to do seva since childhood but my grandmother wanted to see me as an engineer,” said Bhadrinath. Keeping abreast with modern times, he runs a factory, dealing with disposables. There are 40 employees at the Sri Ranga Industries, Kukatpally.
“I am proud of being part of this temple and its great tradition,” he said. “What we are today is due to the Perumal,” says Rajagopalacharya.
Historically, the temple is located on the banks of the Musi. “The temple currently has two-and-a-half-acres. That is not enough to bring about any major facelift for the temple,” noted Rajagopalacharya. There is no regular income, save private pujas.
Dhanur masam or December is a peak time for the temple. Neighbours hear the Thiruppavai songs every morning. Rajagopalacharya claimed that during the Vaikuntha Ekadasi, the temple stands third in piety and devotion, preceded by Srirangam and Tirumalai. “This place looks like Vaikuntam (heaven) then,” he said, proudly. This year the holy day falls on December 29.
In fact, devotees have been increasing in number over the years and the government has not doled out any financial aids.
On Boghi day, after the Sankranti they perform Goda Kalyanam and on the Kanumu day, after Sankranti, there is the Vishesha Utsavam.
Changes have been brought to this old temple with the help of devotees.
On a crowded day, more facilities need to be put in place. During the Vaikunta Ekadasi, devotees get a quick darshan.
In Chaturmasam, they perform Sahasranaman Archana with tulsi and Revathi Nakshatra Abhishekam. Every Friday in that month there is also Thayaru Abhishekam.
The tradition is followed and the faith is kept alive by a family. It is a pleasure to be here with Sri Ranganatha.