Spread over a sprawling 15 acres plot with lush green lawns and taking over a decade from concept to design to execution and to reality and with the sweat and toils of hundreds of artists and artisans from across the country who were chanting away JAISRIRAM, this MAGNUM OPUS called RAMANARAYANAM could finally take shape and achieve its destined position in the annals of the history of the CITY OF LEARNING /MUSIC and the historical city of VIZIANAGARAM.
Costing no less, this spiritual theme park is exceptional / unique in more ways than one. The design of the PRANGANAM is based on our ancient architecture upholding the Hindu Mythology. Since Green colour provides huge relief to the tiring eyes, this theme park is also home to the most exotic spread of flora and fauna which also offer solace to the tourists/pilgrims/visitors.
The holiest epic –“AADI KAVYA”
Ramayan is considered to be the holiest epic for Hindus is undoubtedly the most popular and timeless epic read and loved by all. Lord Srirama who had all along stood for human values, Principles and Ethics and never swayed in dharma is the epitome for all Hindus across the world.
Swami Vivekananda said “No language can be purer, none chastier, none more beautiful, and at the same time simpler than the language in which the great poet
VALMIKI has depicted the life of RAMA”.
Based on the great epic of Valimiki Ramayana, this theme park is the first-of-its-kind in the country having been built entirely without taking / seeking donations.
It is uniquely built in the shape of a bow and arrow as a two-storey complex. With many trees dotting the landscape, one section showcases the sacred trees of Nakshatra vanam, Narayana vanam, Raasi vanam, Navagraha vanam, Vinayaka vanam, Saptarishi vanam, Panchavati vanam, Pancha bhoota vanam. These rare trees have been a part of Indian scriptures and some of them were especially brought in from across the country as well.
While the park stays open from 10 AM onwards, it is best visited in the evenings. That is when the entire area is lit up in the colours of the rainbow giving us the feeling as if the Heavens have transcended to the Earth below. Beautiful mega fountains along the length of the bow transforms spectacle of indescribable proportions. The cool evening breeze rejuvenates you with a fresh burst of oxygen. Also while you’re here, do stop by at the huge Mandapam called Sri seetharamula adhyatmika kala thoranam(A/C) where performs Sri seetharamula kalyanam every month on the eve of punarvasu nakshatra (Birth star of Lord Rama), other special poojas and programs relevant to Indian performing arts take place on a regular basis. You could perhaps attend recitals such as the Bharata Natyam or Kuchipudi dance forms and also several religious/spiritual discourses.
Created in a huge to give a memorable experience to people across age groups, battery operated cars and Lifts are provided at the entrance for the old and disabled. Children have the spacious outdoors to engage themselves in, while the Perla’s boutique restaurant with its completely vegetarian fare ensures that no one goes hungry. Inspired by Chennai’s famous Saravana Bhavan.
A great epic
The entrance to the two-storied bow and arrow structure is from one end of the arrow, and visitors are soon inside a Centrally air conditioned complex depicting a series of sculptures from Ramayana. Vibrant in colour, rich in emotions and full of life, the seventy two laminated mouldings were created by thousands of artisans from different parts of the country. They depict 72 episodes from the Valimiki Ramayan with scenes right from the beginning of the epic, BALA KAANDA TO YUDDHA KAANDA, below each of the 72 exquisitely chiseled laminated/fiber panels, a bilingual (English and Telugu) explanation/ narration to the event/ episode above is engraved on brass plates with audio support also being arranged for the benefit of pilgrims/tourists will soon be provided, so that each and every visitor can have his own personalized experience at the RAMANARAYANAM. One exists from the gallery at the tip of the arrow, where a colossal 60 feet statue of Sri ABHAYANJANEYA stands tall in all its grandeur and splendor.
A spiritual destination
While a traditional Vishnu temple is part of the complex, the RAMANARAYANAM is more spiritual than it is religious. In fact, right from the time when work on the park began, artists/artisans from across religions and Cities have been integral parts of the project. Cities have been integral parts of the project. The PRANAGANAM is home to a huge library with over one lakh spiritual books, where visitors can browse through the many texts and also attend the cultural events that regularly take place here. A meditation centre for channeling inner peace, three temples of Lord Ganesh, Lord Vishnu and Lord Rama with his consort Goddess Sita and 18 feet statues of Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati surrounded by exquisite colourful water fountains are some of the stops you should make in the PRANGANAM. Also look out for the seven special fountains that are shaped like the 7 asthras or weapons of Lord Rama which are dotted across the ARROW.
A residential Veda Paatashaala adopted and run exclusively by the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD) imparts lessons on the four Vedas along with regular curriculum. Approximately 70 children have already enrolled for this full-time 8 year and 14-year course on the Vedas and Upanishads.
RAMANARAYANAM SRIMADRAMAYANA PRANGANAM is definitely a unique way of depicting the Ramayana, and the seed of the idea was planted two generations ago when Late Sri Narayanam Narasimha Murthy, Founder and Chairman of NCS Group conceptualized the temple to be as such. Envisioned to be more than a traditional temple for people to offer prayers, the idea was to promote it as a spiritual centre where people could see the scenes from Ramayana and take away the essence of human values from the Holy epic. Choosing just a few scenes from the large epic was a challenge and Sri Narayanam Nageswara Rao and other family members discussed /debated with scholars on the subject across the nation and then meticulously chose 72 important episodes from the epic to be converted into pictorial sculptures. Artisans from across the nation were enlisted to carve the pictorial sculptures with intense detailing carefully thought out, creatively crafted the RAMANARAYANAM leaves an ever lasting impression in the mind of beholder. Accessible by road, though the theme park has started functioning since an year ago, it sees a footfall of thousands of people each day more than 25 lakhs pilgrims visited till date. With a glorious present, the future plans of the RAMANARAYANAM are as illustrious. These include expansion of current facilities to include breath taking musical fountains and entertainment options along the lines of Sentosa in Singapore/Miracle gardens in Dubai. However, keeping in touch with ethnic roots as well, a gaushala is proposed to be set up too as a sanctuary for cows, calves and oxen. With so much activity taking place/shape in Vizag after the state division into two, and the state government’s intention to convert Vizag into a TOURIST HUB, RAMANARAYANAM is destined to occupy a niche position and iconic centre sooner than later. With thousands thronging the PRANGANAM every day, which has now become a cynosure for tourists/pilgrims, if you haven’t visited it yet, then do plan soon.