• Shiva

Arulmigu Ramanathaswamy Temple

Overview


The Ramanathaswamy Temple is dedicated to god Shiva located in Rameswaram island in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is also one of the twelve Jyothirlinga temples, where Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlingam (English: pillar of light).It is one of the 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where the three of the most revered Nayanars (Saivite saints), Appar, Sundarar and Tirugnana Sambandar, have glorified the temple with their songs. The temple was expanded during the 12th century by Pandya Dynasty, and its principal shrines sanctum were renovated by Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan and his successor Gunaveera Cinkaiariyan of the Jaffna kingdom. The temple has the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India. The temple is located in Rameswaram, an island town in South India, considered a holy pilgrimage site for Shaivites, Vaishnavites and Smarthas.

According to the Ramayana, Rama, the seventh incarnation of god Vishnu, is believed to have prayed to Shiva here to absolve sin of killing a brahmana, committed during his war against the demon king Ravana in Sri Lanka. Rama wanted to have the largest lingam to worship Shiva. He directed Hanuman, the monkey lieutenant in his army, to bring the lingam from Himalayas. Since he took longer to bring the lingam, Sita, the wife of Rama, built a small lingam out of the sand available in the sea shore, which is believed to be the lingam in the sanctum.

Rameshwaram Temple is situated in the island of Rameswaram, off the Sethu coast of Tamil Nadu and is reached via the Pamban Bridge across the sea. The huge temple is known for its long ornate corridors, towers and 36 theerthams.

This Shivastalam is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in India. It represents the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlingams of India and has been a time honored pilgirmage center held on par with Banaras. This shrine is regarded as the 8th of the Tevara Stalams in the Pandya region of Tamilnadu.


About The Temple



Temple Architecture and Description

The main deity in the temple is Ramanathaswamy (Shiva) in the form of a lingam. There are two lingams inside the sanctum - one built by Goddess Sita, from sand, residing as the main deity, Ramalingam and the one brought by Lord Hanuman from Kailash called Vishwalingam. Rama instructed that Vishwalingam should be worshipped first since it was brought by Lord Hanuman - the tradition continues even today. Like all ancient temples in South India, there is a high compound wall (madil) on all four sides of the temple premises measuring about 865 feet furlong from east to west and one furlongs of 657 feet from north to south with huge towers (Gopurams) at the east and west and finished gate towers on the north and south. The temple has striking long corridors in its interior, running between huge colonnades on platforms above five feet high.

The second corridor is formed by sandstone pillars, beams and ceiling. The junction of the third corridor on the west and the paved way leading from the western gopuram to Setumadhava shrine forms a unique structure in the form of a chess board and it is popularly known as Chokkattan Madapam where the Utsva deities are adorned and kept during the Vasanthotsavam (Spring festival) and on the 6th day festival in Adi (July–August) and Masi (February–March) conducted by the Setupati of Ramnad. There are separate shrines for God Ramanathaswami and Goddess Parvathavardhini separated by a corridor.There are separate shrines for goddess visalakshi, parvathavardhini, utsava idol, sayanagriha, perumal,and mahaganpathi. There are various halls inside the temple, namely Anuppu Mandapam, Sukravara Mandapam, Sethupathi Mandapam, Kalyana Mandapam and Nandi Mandapam.

Temple Tanks

Agni Theertham is the primary sea shore associated with the temple. There are sixty-four Trithas (holy water bodies) in and around the island of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India. According to Sknada Puraṇa, twenty-four of them are important. Bathing in these Tīrthas is a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameswaram and is considered equivalent to penance. Twenty-two of the Tirthas are within the Ramanathasvami Temple. The number 22 indicates the 22 arrows in Rama's quiver. The first and major one is called Agni Theertham, the sea (Bay of Bengal). The Sethupathy mandapam in front of the Temple’s Raja Gopuram9main Tower) was constructed by Ramanatha Sethupathy, a descendant of Ramnad Raja dynasty. It is also most essential to construct the North and South Gopurams. Shri Jagadguru Sringeri Peedathipathy and Shri jagadguru Kanchi Kamakoti Peedathipathy have given their kind blessings for the constructions of the North and South Gopurams of the Temple.

Stretched over a vast area of 15 acres, Rameswaram Temple is the typical specimen of Dravidian style of architecture. The skyscraping gopurams (spires) truly dominate the skyline of Rameshwaram. The shrine is acknowledged for having the largest temple hallway in India. This pillared corridor extends to 4000 feet in length, embracing more than 4000 pillars. Erected on a raised plinth, granite pillars are intricately carved with beautiful images. A hard fact about this corridor reveals that the rock doesn't belong to the island and it was imported from somewhere across the sea.

Encompassing nine levels, the eastern Rajgopuram (spire) soars to the height of 126 feet. However, the western 'gopuram' is not as high as the eastern 'gopuram', still it is equally captivating. The temple comprises numerous 'mandaps' having small shrines, dedicated to other deities. The colossal image of Nandi (Lord Shiva's Bull) captures the attention, due to its sheer size. It measures 12 feet in its length and 9 feet in its height. High fortifications encircle the temple, making a rectangle along with big pyramidal 'gopura' doorways on every side.

At the beginning, the temple was just a thatched shed under the cover of a Sage and the present structure was the work of number of people spread over a number of centuries but the pride of the place goes to the Sethupathis of Ramnad.

In the 12th century, Prakrama Bahu, King of Ceylon constructed the Sanctum Sanctorum around the Moolalinga, Sri Viswanath and the Ambal shrine.

In the 15th century, Udayan Sethupathi of Ramnad and a Vaisya of Nagoor built the western stone tower which is about 78 ft. high and the compound wall.

In the 16th century, Tirumalai Sethupathi built a portion of the southern second corridor. His statue and that of his son Ragunatha Sethupathi are found by the side of the southern entrance to the Ambal temple. In the 17th century, Dalavai Sethupathi built a portion of the main eastern Gopuram.

Early in the 18th century, Ravi Vijaya Regunatha Sethupathi built the Palliyarai and the Mandapam in front of the Ambal temple. Later in the same century, the world famous Third Corridor was constructed by Muthuramalinga Sethupathi. His statue and those of his two ministers are found in the western entrance to the Third Corridor.

The third corridor, the longest one in Asia and the third largest in the world, is world famous. It measures about 670 feet East-West and 415 feet North-South with a height of about 30 ft.

The total length of the outer and inner corridors is about 3850 feet!

The total number of pillars in the outer praharam is 1212

The high compound wall of the temple measures 865 feet East to West and 657 feet North to South

The temple is adorned with a towering 177 feet Gopurams in the East and West. The North and South Gopurams are unfinished and works are underway now to complete them.

Worship:

Six worship services are carried out each day, the first being at 5am. Special worship services are carried out every Friday.

Other Points of Interest

The Gandamadana parvatam (hill) provides a commanding view of the island. It also bears a shrine said to bear the footprints of rama. Dhanuskoti (struck by a ravaging cyclone in the 20th century) is the easternmost tip of the island, where legend has it that Rama with the tip of his bow destroyed the bridge that he had built between the island and Srilanka, during his victorious return. There is a Kodandarama temple located on the way between Dhanushkoti and the Ramanatha temple. Tiruppullaani nearby represents the site where Rama sojourned on his way to Lanka. Devipatnam is home to the Navapaashaanam stones installed by Rama.

Twenty Two Wells

Ramanathswamy Temple has twenty two wells in its complex. Being the main attraction of this temple, the wells are also recognized with their distinct properties. All of these wells have water of different taste, temperature, salinity and have curative properties as well. It is said that these wells were made by Lord Rama himself, when he fired arrows in the sand.

Temple Construction

The construction of this temple began in the 12th century; nonetheless it was completed much later, during the reign of various rulers. Rameshwaram Temple is famous for embracing one of the twelve Jyotirlingas (lingam of light) of Lord Shiva. The temple is also accredited for being the southern most ‘jyotirlinga’ of India. It is believed that at this place Lord Rama offered his gratitude to Lord Shiva.

The Lingam of Ramanathaswamy is the presiding deity of Rameswaram Temple. The religious significance of this shrine has made it, one of the most visited temples of India. Rameshwaram (South) is one of the four major pilgrimage sites of Hindus, the other being Puri (East), Dwarka (West) and Badrinath (north). The main shrine adores the idols of Viswanatha Naicker and Krishnama Naicker.

In the inner section of the Ramalingeshwara, Ramalingam and Vishvalingam are placed side by side. Preserving the words of Lord Rama, Vishvalingam is worshipped before Ramalingam. Maha Shivarathri, Thirukalyanam, Mahalaya Amavasai and Thai Amavasai are the major festivals that are celebrated with gusto and fervor.

Theertham (Water springs): There are 36 Theerthams in Rameswaram of which 22 are in the temple and these waters are said to possess medicinal properties. Bathing in these is considered to be of great significance. The Agni theertham refers to the ocean while the Koti theertham is located within the temple itself

Encompassing nine levels, the eastern Rajgopuram (spire) soars to the height of 126 feet. However, the western ‘gopuram’ is not as high as the eastern ‘gopuram’, still it is equally captivating. The temple comprises numerous ‘mandaps’ having small shrines, dedicated to other deities. The colossal image of Nandi (Lord Shiva’s Bull) captures the attention, due to its sheer size. It measures 12 feet in its length and 9 feet in its height. High fortifications encircle the temple, making a rectangle along with big pyramidal ‘gopura’ doorways on every side.

Structure of Rameshwaram Temple

Rameswaram Temple is spread over an area of 15 acres and has lofty gopurams, massive walls and a colossal Nandi. Rameswaram Jyotirlinga also boasts of a 4000 feet long pillared corridor with over 4000 pillars, supposedly the longest in the world. The carved granite pillars are mounted on a raised platform. Worth noticing fact about this corridor is that the rock is not indigenous to the island and is said to have been brought in from elsewhere in Tamil Nadu across the sea.

The eastern Rajagopuram towers to a height of 126 feet and has nine levels. The Western Rajagopuram is also quite impressive though not as tall as the Eastern one. The temple also has several mandapams with mini shrines to other deities. There is a huge Nandi measuring 12 feet in length and 9 feet in height with the idols of Viswanatha Naicker and Krishnama Naicker. The lingams are housed in the inner section of the Ramalingeshwara. High walls enclose the temple, forming a rectangle with huge pyramidal gopura entrances on each side.

Temple Architecture

Rameswaram Temple Third Corridor

The third corridor is the largest temple corridor in the world, The specification of its dimensions are really massive.

The stones on the top of the roof were goes up to 40 feet in length. All the pillers in the corridors were sculpted with beautiful sculptures.

The year-long painting works in the third corridor of the temple had been completed at a cost of Rs.54 lakh. And water jet washing was performed to restore the granite structure in the inner and outer prakaras of Swami and Ambal sannathis It had been taken up at a cost of Rs.75 lakh. The stone wall pillars in the prakaras had given preservative coatings.

The second corridor is at present undergone renovation process, there are 108 shiva lingas, Maha Ganapathi statue situated here.

The Ramanathaswamy , the Main deity of the temple with his consort Parvathavarthini Amman presents in the first corridor of the Temple. The first Corridor is the oldest corridor as compared with the others. Built in 12th century, and renovated over various periods.

Sannathis (Shrines) inside Ramanathaswamy Temple

Ramanathaswamy Temple possess totally three corridors and there are many small shrines named as sannathis inside the corridors. This topic briefly discusses all the important shrines present inside the Rameshwaram temple with their details.

Shrines Inside the first Corridor

Ramanathasamy sannathi

The main deity (moolavar) of the temple, the Shiva linga installed by Lord Rama is kept inside this shrine. It is believed that the Shiva linga is built by beach sand by Sita(wife of lord Rama).

Vigrahas (metal idols) of Rama nathaswamy And Ambal Parvathavarthini (Urchavar idols used during festivals), Ram , Sita, lakshmana, sugriva, hanuman are kept near Ramanatha swamy shrine. These idols are used in festival times.

Ramanathaswamy shrine is built using dark black granite stones , and the vimana (roof top tower) was coated with gold. Other Names : Rameshwar, Ramanathar, Ramanathaswamy,Ramnath

Statues around Ramanathar shrine

Sun God with his wife

Ganthamadhana lingam (It is believed that this lingam present in Rameswaram even before the arrival of lord Ram)

Jyothi Lingam (it is believed that installed by vibhishanan)

Statues of 63 Nayanmars (Devotees of lord Shiva)

Dhakshina Moorthi

Saraswathi

Natarajar (There are 2 Natarajar idols present near the northeast corner to the Rama nathaswamy shrine)

Siva Durga Devi

Chandikeswarar Temple

Vishwa lingam alias Vishwanathar Sannathi :

It is one of the two Shiva linga brought from Kailash by Hanuman. This sannathi situated north side to the Rama nathaswamy sannathi. Till date the poojas and offerings were first performed to this Shiva linga only.

Other Names: Kasilingam , Hanumanlingam , Vishwa lingam

Vishalatchi sannathi:

Visalatchi is consort of vishwanathar. This sannathi is near to vishwanathar sannathi . As she is a consort of vishwanathar , for her also Pooja’s performed associated with vishwanathar.

Parvathavarthini Amman Sannathi in Rameswaram Temple

Parvathavarthini Amman is consort of Rama nathaswamy , The shrine is situated left side to the Rama natha swamy and is in the south direction. The Ambal statue is standing on the lotus base (called as bathma beedam in tamil) and carrying two lotuses in her hand. There is “sri chakra” installed in this shrine and Parvathavarthini Ambal shrine is one of the shakthi peedams of tamilnadu. The vimana (Roof Top tower) of Ambal shrine is also coated with gold. Other names of Ambal : Parvathi devi, Malai valar kaathali, dhaatchayini.

Vishnu Shrine in Rameswaram Temple

It is located north-west corner to the Ambal shrine. This Temple is one of the very few temples which have Vishnu shrines inside The Shiva temple. The posture of the Vishnu is called as “Anandha sayana”. Other names: Pallikonda Perumal, Perumal

Santhana, Sowbagya Ganapathi

Literally the words santhanam and soubagyam means off springs and health, wealth, prosperity. It is believed that by worshiping this twin ganapathi one get Santhanam, sowbagyam. This shrine is situated at southwest corner to the Ambal shrine.

Palliyarai

This room is located at north east corner to the ambal shrine. Every night metal vigraha from Rama nathaswamy (Urchava moorthi) is taken from Rama nathaswamy shrine by a palanquin to this room and poojas were performed. And also every morning this vigraha is taken back to the Rama nathaswamy shrine after a certain ritualistic poojas.

Statues Inside Ambal Sannathi

Sabtha kannikal (literally meant 7 virgin goddess)

Brahmi,Maheswari,Goumari,Vaishnavi,Varahi,Inthirani,Chamunteeswari,Chantikeswari

Shrines inside the Second corridor

Second corridor of this temple is at present under renovation process. There are Hundred and eight Shiva lingas present inside this corridor. There is a Maha ganapathi statue. Situated in the west portion of the second corridor. During Sangadahara chathurthi on every month Special poojas were conducted to this statue.

There is a Bairava Shrine near to the theerthams (Ganga,Yamuna,kodi theerthams) in the second corridor.

Shrines Inside Third corridor

Five Shiva shrines in Third corridor

The list of the Shiva shrines in the third corridor are listed below

Naleswarar Sannathi, Neeleswarar Sannathi, Kavayeswarar Sannathi, Bapa paksheshwarar Sannathi, Punya thaaneswarar Sannathi

These sannathis were constructed by paranthaka chola and Raja Raja chola during the period of 10th and 11 th centuries . these temples are situated in the west side of the third corridor (Moondraam Prakaaram).

Sethu Madhavar shrine

Sethu madhavar Shrine is located Between third and second Corridor. The pilgrim can visit this temple after crossing sethu madhavar theertham in the third corridor. The statue of sethu madhava is beautifully engraved in the white marble.

Lord Rama shrine

There is a Lord Ram shrine in the west side of the third corridor. This Rama shrine is called as Godhanda Rama Sannathi. Lord Ram blessed his devotees with ,Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman in this shrine.

Rama Linga Prathista

On the northwest corner of the Third corridor The statues of Rama nathaswamy , Ram, Sita, Lakshman , Hanuman, Sugrivan, vibishna and Saints made up of lime stone (In tamil : சுதை உருவங்கள்) portray the Rama linga prathista scene (The installation ritual of Rama nathaswamy) were Kept inside shrine. In this shrine The narrative version of the mythical story of Rameswaram had played with lighting effects (At present it is not active).

Natarajar sannathi in Rameswaram Temple

Natarajar Shrine is situated at North east corner of the third corridor, The Interior of this shrine is fully decorated with Rudhrakshas . There is a maha Vishnu Statue inside this shrine. People Install naga (Snake God) statues inside this shrine for vanishing their Naga dhosham (sins) after performing rituals in Agni Theertham.

The epitaph (Yogic Samadhi) of Saint Patanjali (The person who invent and devised Yogic practice ) is inside this Shrine. It is said that patanjali rishi is the father of yoga. There is a Yogic chakra installed in that Samadhi place and a fire lamp (called jeeva jothi) lit by using ghee is continuously burnt kept near it.

Shrines in Nandhi Mandapam:

Maha Ganapathy Sannathi

The statue of Ganapathi is kept inside this shrine, According to Hindu mythology Ganapathy is considered as son of lord Shiva. It is the Hindu tradition that one should first worship Ganapathi before doing any other works. So the pilgrim should first start their worship right from worshiping Ganapathi situated south to the Nandhi Mandapam. Other Names: Vinayaga, pillaiyar

Karthikeyan sannadhi

Karthikeyan is also considered as a son of Lord Shiva, He blessed the devotees with two of his consorts Deyvaanai, and valli. This shrine is located north side of the Nandhi statue. Other Names: Murugan, Subramaniyar.

Navagraha (9 planets) sannathi

The Statues of Gods of nine planets kept near Nandhi mandapam.

Nandhi Statue

The great nandhi statue is 17 feet height and 12 feet width and is made up of bricks, lime stones and sea shells. The Nandhi statue Faces the lord shiva . The special pooja conducted to Nandhi during the day called as Prathosam (this day comes monthly twice)

Shrines near East Entrance of Temple

Hanuman Temple

This shrine is north to the east entrance, the hanuman statue face the direction of south (SriLanka). The Hanuman statue in the Rama nathaswamy temple is 16 feet height , 8 feet is displayed or the devotees and the other half is lying beneath the ground ,submerge in the water. The Face and body of the Hanuman is fully covered with saffron color powder called senthuram.

This hanuman is called as “Veera Hanuman “ veera literally meant the word brave. It is believed that on who worship this god will gain the braveness in heart.

Maha lakshmi Temple:

According to hindu mythology Maha lakshmi is the goddess of the wealth. The pilgrims can reach the shrine by taking a small walk towards the south from the east entrance.

Theerthams inside Rameshwaram Temple

According to the words of scriptures there are totally 64 theerthas(sacred water bodies) in and around Rameswaram. Out of them twenty two theerthas situated inside the Ramanathaswamy Temple premises. The names of the 22 theethas in Rameswaram temple with their respective location is given below:

Mahalakshmi Theertham :
Location : South of the Hanuman Temple.

Savithri Theertham :
Location : West of the Hanuman Temple.

Gayathri Theertham :
Location : West of the Hanuman Temple.

Saraswathi Theertham :
Location : West of the Hanuman Temple.

Sakkara Theertham :
Location : In the second corridor of the Temple.

Sethu Madhava Theertham :
Location : This theertham is located as a Pond in the third corridor.

Nala Theertham :
Location : Near Sethumadhava Temple. (Between third and second corridor).

Neela Theertham :
Location : Near Sethumadhava Temple. (Between third and second corridor).

Gavaya Theertham :
Location : Near Sethumadhava Temple. (Between third and second corridor).

kavatcha Theertham :
Location : Near Sethumadhava Temple. (Between third and second corridor).

Gandhamadana Theertham :
Location : Near Sethumadhava Temple. (Between third and second corridor).

Brahmahathi Vimochana Theertham :
Location : Near Sethumadhava Temple. (Between third and second corridor).

Sooriya Theertham :
Location : Near Sethumadhava Temple. (Between third and second corridor).

Chandra Theertham :
Location : Near Sethumadhava Temple. (Between third and second corridor).

Satyamirtha Theertham :
Location : In the second corridor of the Temple.

Siva Theertham :
Location : In the second corridor of the Temple.

Sarva Theertham :
Location : In the second corridor of the Temple.

Sanku Theertham :
Location : In the second corridor of the Temple.

Gaya Theertham :
Location : In the second corridor of the Temple.

Ganga Theertham :
Location : In the second corridor of the Temple.

Yamuna Theertham :
Location : In the second corridor of the Temple.

Kodi Theertham :
Location : In the first corridor of the Temple. (Bath passage provided in second corridor).

Mandapams in the Ramanathaswamy Temple
Sethupathi mandapamdhi Mandapam
Sukkiravara Mandapam
Kalyana Mandapam
chokkattan Mandapam
Sethupathy Mandapam

Legend


A king ruling this region then, prayed to Lord Shiva for child boon and performed a yajna. Through His voice, Lord assured the king that Ambica would be his daughter. When the king set out on hunting, he found four female children, brought up them as his own daughters. They were Shiva devotees by their very nature. When they attained age, king begged Lord to marry them. Lord was happy to grant king’s wish. They are the Ambicas in four places – Sarivar Kuzhali in this temple, Vaaitha Tirukuzshal Nayaki in Tiruchengattangudi, Karundhar Kuzhali in Tirupugalur and Vandar Kuzhali in Tirumarugal. They also bear the common name Shoolikambal as they helped a poor pregnant woman deliver her child during absence of her mother who was stuck at the other bank of the river due to heavy floods. Shool or Karu in Tamil means pregnancy.

Karu Katha Ambica is other name of the Mother in the temple.

As Ambicas returned late, they could not enter the temple. Mother shrines are outside temples in these four places. During the Arthajama pujas (final night pujas) samba rice with pepper, seeragam, salt and ghee is offered as nivedhana, a diet prescribed for mothers after delivery. According to a popular legend, it was Lord Rama who installed this Linga here. Story goes that when Lord Ram was on his way to attack Ravana, he reached this place where he made a linga of sand and worshipped it. It is said that when Lord Rama was drinking water on the seashore there was a celestial proclamation - """"You are drinking water without worshipping me"""". Listening to this Lord Rama made a linga of sand and worshipped it and asked to be blessed so that he could vanquish Ravana. Lord Shiva blessed him accordingly. He also requested Lord Shiva to reside eternally here so that entire mankind should benefit from it. Shiva then manifested himself as the Linga and got installed there for eternity.

According to yet another legend, while returning to Ayodhya, Ram worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of a Shiva Lingam made of earth by Sita. It is said that Hanuman was entrusted with the task of bringing an image of Viswanathar from Banaras. Anticipating delay in Hanuman′s return from Benares, Rama offered worship to a Shivalingam at a pre-chosen auspicious moment. This lingam is referred to as Ramalingam and the town is known as Rameswaram.

There is yet another Shivalingam here - Viswanathar said to have been brought by Hanuman from Banares. This Shivalingam is referred to as Kasilingam and Hanumalingam. Prayers are offered to Viswanathar before they are offered to Ramanathaswamy. Legend has it that Rama worshipped Shiva in the form of a Shiva Lingam made of earth by Sita, while returning to Ayodhya. Legend has it that Hanuman was entrusted with the task of bringing an image of Viswanathar from Benares. Anticipating delay in Hanuman's return from Benares, Rama is said to have offered worship at a pre-chosen auspicious moment to a Shivalingam fashioned out of earth by Sita. This lingam is referred to as Ramalingam and the town is known as Rameswaram.

There is yet another Shivalingam here - Viswanathar said to have been brought by Hanuman from Banares. This Shivalingam is referred to as Kasilingam and Hanumalingam. Prayers are offered to Viswanathar before they are offered to Ramanathaswamy.

Legend has it that Rama worshipped Tilakeswarar at Devipatnam nearby enroute to Sri Lanka.

There is also a shrine to SethuMadhava and Lakshmi in Rameswaram. Sethu Madhava is also referred to as Sweta Madhava, the term Sweta referring to the white stone with which the image is made.

After Sita’s abduction, Ram wandered in the jungles looking for her. While doing so, he met Sugriva and made friends with him. Later with the help of special messenger Sri Hanuman, he found out where Sita was taken. Then Rama prepared an army to invade Ravana’s empire and reached the southern seashore. He did not have any means of crossing the sea. Lakshman and Sugriva saw Rama, who is a Shiva devotee in great anguish and could do nothing. But Ravana received some special boons from Lord Shiva. Rama was aware of this and therefore, his fears could not be set at rest. In the mean time, Rama was full thirsty. Just as he was about to drink water, he remembered that he was yet to perform Shiva pooja. He immediately made a Prathiv Linga and worshipped it with sixteen methods, i.e., Shodasopachar Vidhis.

Ram prayed to Lord Shiva ardently and soulfully, and sang songs of Lord Shiva’s praise in a loud voice. He danced and made the sounds of “Aagad bam bam”. This pleased Lord Shiva immediately and instantly appeared before Rama and told him that could ask for any boons and that he would grant them. Ram showed a lot of care, affection and love to Lord Shiva and prayed and paid obeisance. Rama said “If You want to grant me my wishes, please stay on this earth for the sake of all make it holy” Shiva granted the same by saying “Evamastu” meaning “so be it”. He thus stayed there and came to be known as Rameshwara, in the form of a Shiva Linga and became popular.

With the blessings of Lord Shiva, Rama killed all the demons including Ravana and became victorious. Anyone who takes a Darshan of the JyotirLinga at Rameshwar and sprinkles the holy water of Ganga, attains salvation, Kaivalya Moksha or Nirvana.

According to a popular legend, it was Lord Rama who installed this Linga here. Story holds that when Lord Ram was on his way to attack Ravana, he reached this place where he made a linga of sand and worshipped it. It is said that when Lord Rama was drinking water on the seashore there was celestial proclamation “You are drinking water without worshipping me “. Listening to this Lord Rama made a linga of sand and worshipped it and asked to be blessed so that he could vanquish Ravana. Lord Shiva blessed him accordingly. He also requested Lord Shiva to reside eternally here so that entire mankind should benefit from it. Shiva then manifested himself as the Linga and was installed there for eternity.

According to yet another legend, while returning to Ayodhya, Ram worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of a Shiva Lingam made of earth by Sita. It is said that Hanuman was entrusted with the task of bringing an image of Viswanathar from Benaras. Anticipating delay in Hanuman’s return from Benaras, Rama offered worship to a Shivalingam at a pre-chosen auspicious moment. It is said that the names Ramalingam and the town Rameshwaram were thus got.

There is yet another Shivalingam here Viswanathar is said to have been brought by Hanuman from Benaras. This Shivalingam is referred to as Kasilingam and Hanumalingam. Prayers are offered to Viswanathar before they are offered to Ramanathaswamy.

Ramanathaswamy Temple is closely linked with the great epic Ramayana. As per the legend, it is believed that Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva here, on his victorious return from Sri Lanka. As the legend goes, Sages (Rishis) counseled Lord Rama (along with Sita and Lakshmana) to install and worship the 'Shivalingam' at this place, to compensate the sin of Brahmahatya (killing of a Brahmin). Lord Rama approved the idea and fixed a favorable time for the installation of Shivalingam.

He sent Lord Hanuman (Anjaneya) to bring a 'lingam' from Mount Kailash. Lord Hanuman could not return in time and it was getting late. Apprehending the situation, Sita herself made a 'linga' of sand and Lord Rama installed the same. When Hanuman came back with the 'linga', the formal procedures of installation were over. Lord Rama consoled the disappointed Hanuman and installed his lingam (Visvalingam) next to Ramalinga. He enhanced the sanctity of lingam by ordaining that the rites would be made first to the Visvalingam.

The legend says that Rama was advised to worship a lingam to clear off the Brahmaharthi dosham due to the killing of Ravana. So Hanuman was sent to bring a Lingam from Kasi to worship at an appointed auspicious hour. As Human’s arrival was delayed, Sita moulded a lingam with sand, the main deity being worshiped as Ramanatha swamy, for Rama’s timely worship. Later Hanuman’s lingam was installed a little north of Ramanatha Swamy as (Kasi) Vishwalingam, and decreed that the Hunuman’s lingam should have precedence over the Ramanatha in all honours.

As it believed by Hindus Lord Ram came to rameswaram with his crew to worship Lord Shiva for vanishing his sin of killing Ravana.

To perform the worship and rituals they need Shiva lingam. As per the order Hanuman flew to Kailash to bring 2 Shivalinga for performing poojas (worship and rituals), Hanuman did it delay due to some reasons, By the mean time Sita playfully built a Shiva linga by sand, as the auspicious time for rituals ran off the saints told ram to perform pooja to the shivling made by Sita in the sea sand.

Pooja’s and rituals were performed to Shivlingam built by Sita devi. Hanuman reaches the Rameswaram shore with the shiva lingas after all the rituals were finished.

He asks Rama to perform pooja to the Shivalinga that he brought and try to remove the Shiva lingam already prayed (The one built out of sand). But he failed in his attempt of removing the Shivalinga . Ram compromise hanuman and told that “It is announced by me , the first pooja should be done here after to the Shiva linga that you brought and after that only the poojas and sacraments done for the Shivalinga worshiped by me”.

It is believed as per words of lord Rama the first pooja starts from Vishwanathar lingam till date (the Shiva linga brought by Hanuman is named as Vishwanathar)

According to the Hindu mythology i.e. the story of Ramayana Lord Rama performed thanksgiving rituals to Lord Rama after the battle at Sri Lanka and his triumph over the demon king Ravana. Owing to this Rameshwaram attracts Vaishnavites (worshippers of Lord Vishnu) and Saivites (worshippers of Lord Shiva) alike. Sri Lanka is at a distance of 24 kilometers from Rameshwaram. In fact the entire area of Rameshwaram is associated with various incidents from the Ramayana. Rameshwaram happens to one of the most visited pilgrim sites in India.

Holiest Char Dham

The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine sites) sites comprising Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka. Though the origins are not clearly known, the Advaita school of Hinduism established by Sankaracharya, who created Hindu monastic institutions across India, attributes the origin of Char Dham to the seer. The four monasteries lie across the four corners of India and their attendant temples are Badrinath Temple at Badrinath in the North, Jagannath Temple at Puri in the East, Dwarakadheesh Temple at Dwarka in the West and Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram in the South. Though ideologically the temples are divided between the sects of Hinduism, namely Saivism and Vaishnavism, the Char Dham pilgrimage is an all Hindu affair. There are four abodes in Himalayas called Chota Char Dham (Chota meaning small): Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri - all of these lie at the foot hills of Himalayas. The name Chota was added during the mid of 20th century to differentiate the original Char Dhams. The journey across the four cardinal points in India is considered sacred by Hindus who aspire to visit these temples once in their lifetime. Traditionally the trip starts at the eastern end from Puri, proceeding in clockwise direction in a manner typically followed for circuambulation in Hindu temples.

Jyotirlinga

As per Shiv Mahapuran, once Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of saving) had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either directions. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity. The jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The jyothirlinga shrines, thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. Originally there were believed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve jyothirlinga sites takes the name of the presiding deity - each considered different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva. The twelve jyothirlinga are Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharashtra, Viswanath at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in Maharashtra, Vaidyanath at Deoghar in Jharkhand, Nageswar at Dwarka in Gujarat, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Grishneshwar at Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

Historical pilgrimage

The temple is one of the famous pilgrimage sites and there are historical references about it. The Maratha kings who ruled Thanjavur established chatrams or rest houses all through Mayiladuthurai and Rameswaram between 1745 and 1837 CE and donated it to the temple

Rameswaram Temple is spread over an area of 15 acres and has lofty gopurams, massive walls and a colossal Nandi. Rameswaram Jyotirlinga also boasts of a 4000 feet long pillared corridor with over 4000 pillars, supposedly the longest in the world. The carved granite pillars are mounted on a raised platform. Worth noticing fact about this corridor is that the rock is not indigenous to the island and is said to have been brought in from elsewhere in Tamil Nadu across the sea.

The eastern Rajagopuram towers to a height of 126 feet and has nine levels. The Western Rajagopuram is also quite impressive though not as tall as the Eastern one. The temple also has several mandapams with mini shrines to other deities. There is a huge Nandi measuring 12 feet in length and 9 feet in height with the idols of Viswanatha Naicker and Krishnama Naicker. The lingams are housed in the inner section of the Ramalingeshwara. High walls enclose the temple, forming a rectangle with huge pyramidal gopura entrances on each side.

In classics like the Skandha Purana, Shivapurana etc., Rameshwar is shown as a very important place.

The place where the JyotirLinga is located, a large and expansive temple has been built. It is famous in the world as a typical architectural example. In the Ramnad district of Tamilnadu, this temple is situated on a big island of sand. It is worth seeing and is a wonderful experience. The main entrance of the temple tower has many storeys and stands tall. Its structure carvings, statutes and the peaks make people dumb founded. The grandeur of the Lord is really felt here. The human weakness for being narrow-minded is automatically removed and they feel their horizons broadened.

On the tall stone pillars of temple, beautiful carvings can be seen. Elephants with their trunks raised are seen. The four sides of the temple are enclosed by strong stone walls. They are 650 ft. and 12ft. wide and tall respectively. This wonderful temple built on the sand island, is a work of great art and very impressive.

Near to a gold plated pillar, a river is carved on a monolithic stone of 13 feet high and a foot wide. This indeed is a typical example of beautiful sculpting.

Near the main temple of Rameshwar, there is a separate temple for Parvati known as Parvatavardhini temple. Besides this, there are temples of Santana Ganapati, Veerabhadra Hanuman, navagrahas, etc., At a distance of about nearly 2 kilometers from the main temple, there is Gandhamaadhan mountain. In spite of being a sandy area, it is very green with a variety of flora. This is the Nandanavan of Rameshwar.

This island shrine consists of 24 odd holy water sources like Rama teerth, Sita Kund, Jata Teerth, Lakshman Teerth, Kapi Teerthas, Brahmakund, Galawa teerth, Mangala teerth, Kodandaram teerth, Pandav teerth etc., The waters at all these places is sweet and has a taste of its own. Every teerth has a typical story attached to it. Devotees take Darshan and feel purged by doing so.

Everyday, right from 4am till 10pm devotees keep coming to the temple and prayers go on. After the Harati at night, the Lord is made to sleep in a Golden swing i.e., the Bhoga statutes of Shankara and Parvati put to bed.

During Mahashivaratri and on the 15th day in the month of Ashadha (Rainy season) a Badatra mela/fete takes place, with great festivity. Devotees flock here on these days and at all times right from Nepal and entire India. People in a variety of dresses, attired differently come here.

Sambandhar, and Appar have sung padhikam (1) on the Lord of Rameshwaram.

It is considered that no Hindu’s quest for salvation in this world/birth is complete without a pilgrimage to both Varanasi and Rameswaram.

It is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine sites) comprising Badrinath (North), Puri (East) and Dwarka (West) at four corners of India.

It is one of the 12 jyotirlings of India and it is only one of the 2 in Southern India (the other being Srisailam).

Every inch of Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi island is connected with Ramayana in some way and has the footmarks of Sri Ramar and other Ramayana characters.

Lord Rama is believed to have worshipped Lord Shiva here and hence marks the confluence of Shaivism and Vaishnavism and is thus revered by both Shaivites and Vaishnavites alike.


Timing:


The temple remains open for visits on the following open days of the week - Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun and the entrance timings and opening hours on these days are from 05:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 06:00 PM - 08:45 PM and then from . Apart from the closing days mentioned above, most places are closed on national holidays and important local holidays, so it is best to check with locals or at the point of interest to confirm whether it is open on such days. Also the timings in winter and timings in summer for the Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple may differ, so it is best to keep visiting this page again to find out the most latest and accurate Sri Ramanathaswamy temple visit opening hours. It is a part of mostly all Rameswaram tour packages and is a great place to visit in Rameswaram to witness the evolution of Sri Ramanathaswamy temple over the decades.


Pooja Timing:


Palliarai Deepa Arathana
5.00AM
Spadigalinga Deepa Arathana
5.10AM
Thiruvanathal Deepa Arathana
5.45AM
Vila Pooja
7.00AM
Kalasanthi Pooja
10.00AM
Uchikala Pooja
12.00Noon
Sayaratcha Pooja
6.00PM
Arthajama Pooja
8.30PM
Palliarai Pooja
8.45PM

Best Time To Visit


The best time to visit Rameshwaram will be from October to April, when the weather is pleasant enough with temperature ranging from 17°C to 32°C. During the summer months, from March to June, you can experience moderately hot temperature with temperature varying a minimum of 25°C to a maximum of 38°C. Rameshwaram experiences an average temperature of 35°C. However, avoid visiting in the rainy season between July and September, as it tends to get humid thus making it difficult to enjoy sightseeing or outdoor activities.


Festivals


Festivals are celebrated in the Ramanathaswamy temple during the Thai Amavasai in January, Maasi Sivarathri in February-March, Adi Thirukalyanam in July-August, Ramalingam Prathastai in May, Mahalaya Amavasai in September, and the Navarathri Festival in September-October. Pongal and Pilgrimage Tour Festival in January is organised by the Tourism Department, Government of Tamil Nadu. Most Indian festivals are celebrated in this little town including Dassehra, Pongal and Diwali that are some of the festivals celebrated by the townspeople.

Arudhra Darshanam is perhaps the most important of all festivals held at Uthirakosamangai every December draws in thousands of devotees who come to see the unveiling of the emerald Nataraj statue that is covered in sandalwood for the whole year. The unveiling ceremony happens only on one day in the year.

Rama's worship is commemorated in the month of Aani (June 15-July 15); two annual Bhrammotsavams are celebrated in Aadi and in Maasi.

Theertham (Water springs): There are 36 Theerthams in Rameswaram of which 22 are in the temple and these waters are said to possess medicinal properties. Bathing in these is considered to be of great significance. The Agni theertham refers to the ocean while the Koti theertham is located within the temple itself.


Accessibility

Air

The nearest airport to the temple is in Madurai, which is about 163 kilometres away from the holy town, welcomes the domestic pilgrims whereas Chennai the international ones. From where, hired taxis could be taken to the temple.

Rail

Mandapam station is just 2 Km away from the temple and brings travelers from Chennai, Coimbatore, Trichy and Thanjavur.

Road

Regular Bus services make travelling to the temple town easier and for many, convenient. Places like Nagpur, Hyderabad, Madurai, etc can act as 'via-points' for those coming from northern part of India- buses, cars or taxis. Rameshwaram is well connected by road to all main towns. The island-town is connected to the mainland by the Pamban Bridge. Rameshwaram is 527 km from Chennai, 173 km from Madurai, 315 km from Kanyakumari and 273 km from Tiruchirapalli.


Significance

Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-

  • To cleanse all their sins
  • For general well-being of people born under Shatabisha/Sadayam/Chatayam star
Shlokas

Kailaasarana Shiva Chandramouli Phaneendra Maathaa Mukutee Zalaalee Kaarunya Sindhu Bhava Dukha Haaree Thujaveena Shambho Maja Kona Taaree

Meaning -Oh Lord Shiva who is seated on Mount Kailash, where the moon decorates his forehead and the king of serpents crown his head, who is merciful and removes delusion, You alone can protect me. I surrender to thee.

Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat

Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.

Timings

** Opens between 5:00 AM – 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM During Normal Days.
* During The month of Margali (margashrisha) Temple opens so early.
* Temple Closes During Eclipse days (Between eclipse Timings)

Weather in Rameswaram
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