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Story of the Murti of Sri Ranganathaswamy Worshipped in Srirangam Temple

The murti, or idol, of Bhagavan Vishnu worshipped in the Srirangam Temple in Tamil Nadu is popularly known as Sri Ranganathaswamy. The story of the murti is associated with Brahma and Vibhishana, the king of Lanka.

Legend has it that the murti of Sri Ranganathaswamy first appeared during churning of ocean or Samdura Manthan. Lord Brahma originally worshiped the murti. A king of the Ikshvaku dynasty did intense penance and attained the murti. The murti came into the possession of Bhagvan Sri Ram who was born in the lineage of Ikshvaku.

Vibhishana, younger brother of Ravana in the Ramayana, asked for the murti to be taken to Lanka so that it can be worshipped there. Bhagvan Sri Ram gave the murti to Vibhishana who carried it to Lanka. On the way, he stopped on the banks of Kaveri River in present day Srirangam. He offered the noon prayers and was accompanied by the then Chola King.

However, when Vibhishana prepared to leave and tried to lift up the murti, it was suddenly too heavy. It became impossible to move the murti.

A voice in the sky asked the murti to be installed at the spot. It is said that the murti faces Lanka as it is protecting the region.