Friday, April 22, 2016

Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam – Dhanvanthari Shrine

Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam – Dhanvanthari Shrine
Dhanvanthari, a great physician of ancient India is considered to be an avatar of Vishnu – there is a separate shrine of Dhanvanthari within the temple. In the courtyard of Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple (Srirangam), there is a Dhanvanthari shrine where daily worship of the deity is performed.
In front of this temple there is an engraved stone believed to be from the 12th century. According to the writings on the stone, Garuda Vahana Bhattar, a great Ayurvedic physician, established the statue inside the temple. A prasada or Teertha, a herbal decoction, is given to the visitors. The shrine is the oldest Dhanvanthari shrine in the state.

The temple also has a shrine for Dhanvanthari, Lord of medicines, with Mother Mahalakshmi on his chest.  He holds conch and discus in his hands and also a leech.  Those suffering from prolonged diseases light lamps with castor oil.  Offer curd rice as nivedhana.  On Fridays, a perfume paste called Punugu is applied on Lord Ranganatha.  
Along with nivedhanas, a medicine made of dry ginger and jaggery is also offered to the Lord for digestion.  It is believed that Lord Dhanvanthari himself offers this medicinal preparation.  Also a medicinal preparation is used for the abishek of Lord on the seventh day of Brahmotsavam festival.