Just 7km (4 1/3 miles) beyond Trichy, the vibrant, ancient holy town of Srirangam -- one of India's biggest temple complexes -- is the site of sprawling Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, whose seven concentric boundary walls (prakarams) enclose 240 hectares (600 acres). Within the temple walls, a web of lanes lined with houses, shops, and businesses is also enclosed, making for fascinating exploration of what feels like a heaving medieval village. Dedicated to Vishnu (worshipped here as Ranganatha), the town sees almost nonstop feverish and colorful activity, with communal gatherings and festivals held throughout the year. The original 10th-century temple was destroyed by a Delhi sultan, but reconstruction began in the late 14th century. Ongoing expansion by Trichy's successive rulers culminated in the late 20th century, with the elaborately carved and brightly painted Rajagopuram, not only the largest of the 21 goparums (tower gateways) that surround the immense complex, but said to be the largest in Asia, soaring to a height of 72m (236 ft.). The most important shrines are within the inner four boundary walls, entered via a high gateway where smaller shrines mark the point beyond which lower-caste Hindus could not venture. Within this enclosure, you'll find a temple to the goddess Ranganayaki, as well as the thousand-pillared hall, which dates back to the Chola period; non-Hindus may not enter the inner sanctum. Arguably the most impressive of all is nearby Seshagirirayar Mandapa, where the pillars are decorated with stone carvings of rearing horses mounted by warriors. For a memorable view of the entire complex, make sure to purchase a ticket (Rs 10) to climb to the rooftop.