This week in Thinking Color we take a trip to the southern Indian district of Tamil Nadu to take a look at one of the most sacred sites in Hinduism that also happens to be one of the most colorful architectural wonders in the world.

The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is the largest functioning Hindu holy site in the world; only the long abandon Angkor Wat surpasses the vast complex in scale. The temple is dedicated to Ranganatha a form of the Hindu diety Vishnu, which is fond of reclining on an ornate sofa.

Archeological evidence suggests that construction on the temple began sometime in the 900’s AD. However, references to the temple can be found in Tamil literature dating back to the century AD. Centuries of foreign invasion and occupation took their toll on the temple, which was incredibly not completed until 1987.

The temple consists of twenty-one colorful gopurams, or towering pyramid structures. These structures are brilliantly decorated in traditional Hindi designs and colors.

Between the four major religious festivals hosted at the temple each year and the breathtaking architecture it is estimated that over a million people visit the temple each year.

Here is a link to a cool video about Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple:

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