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.
Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga represents the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlingams of India and has been a time honored pilgrimage center held on par with Banaras. Rameshwaram Temple Jyotirlinga is associated closely with the Ramayana and Rama's victorious return from Sri Lanka.
The devout considers a pilgrimage to Kashi incomplete unless he or she visits Rameswaram also and performs abhisheka for Sri Ramanatha with Ganga water.
The temple, situated on an island in the Gulf of Mannar, reflects divinity in serenity. It is a massive structure having a majestic gopuram and a 1200- metre-long corridor, the longest of such temple corridors in India.
Rameswaram temple is considered to be one of the holiest temples in India and it was built in the 17th century although construction had begun in the 12th century AD. One of the finest specimens of Dravidian architecture, the temple has gigantic dimensions.Covering an area of 15 acres, it is 264 meters to the west and 200 metres north to south consisting of three prakaras. It has the largest temple
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.
Rameswaram Temple towers from top view:-
corridor in India running 1219 m in length and with over 4000 pillars. Each of these pillars stand at 3.6m of height and is constructed of granite with rich carvings worked on it. The gate tower or the ‘gopuram’ has an altitude of 54 m. There are innumerable shrines of other deities like Vishnu,
Hanuman, Krishna, Ganesha and Subramanya as well as 22 sacred wells/bathing ghats or ‘tirthas’ within the temple and each well apparently gives a different taste of water. Devotees offer prayers after first bathing at one of these tanks.On the right side of the main shrine, Shiva’s consort Parvati has her own temple.
According to legends this is the place where Lord Rama offered prayers to Lord Shiva to atone for killing Ravana. Rameswaram temple has great religious significance and draws ardent devotees in large numbers throughout the year.
There are 2 Sivalingams in the temple. One Sivalingam, made out of sand by Seetha of Ramayana fame is the Moolavar and is known as Ramalingaswamy. According to the legend, Lord Rama returned to India after killing Ravana in Srilanka. Lord Rama wanted to worship Lord Shiva at Rameswaram to free himself from the sin of killing Ravana. Hence he directed Hanuman to bring a sivalingam from Kailash/Banares. Hanuman was delayed on his return with the lingam. In the meantime, the stipulated auspicious time has arrived for performing the worship to Lord Shiva. Hence Lord Rama performed the worship to the lingam made out of sand by Seetha so as to finish the worship within the stipulated auspicious time. Hanuman got depressed with this and tried his best to remove the lingam
made out of sand by Seetha but failed in his attempts. Lord Rama pacified Hanuman and assured him that the lingam brought by Hanuman will also be installed at the place and that worship will first be offered to the lingam (known as Kasi Viswanathar) brought by Hauman. Even today the first worship is offered to the lingam brought by Hanuman and then only the worship is offered to the principal sanctum Lord Ramalinganaswamy.
History behind Rameshwara lingam:-
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.
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.
The main sannidhi was so crowded that we could just glimpse the Siva Lingam. – Ramanatha Swamy and Ambal Parvathavardhini sannidhi was very calm and less crowded and we could have a leisurely darshan there. We also prayed at the Kalyana Sundareswarar sannidhi and came out to see the Anjaneyar. This Anjaneyar always fascinates me by the fact that the lower half of his body is always immersed in sea and only the upper half is visible for our darshan.
The temple, which has over the centuries grown into its present gigantic dimensions, stands on the eastern shore of an island, which is shaped like a conch, which Lord Vishnu bears in one of His bands. No field is ploughed or oil pressed anywhere in the island. A magnificent railway bridge, over a kilometre long and constructed at the beginning of the twentieth century, connected it with the mainland.
In Rameswaram Temple, a spiritual “Mani Darisanam” (Mani Darshan) happens in early morning everyday. This “Mani” is made of “spatikam”[a precious stone] and in form of “Holy shivling”. According to some accounts, this is “Mani” of “sheshnag” (Bhagwaan Vishnu’s bed).
The devote considers a pilgrimage to Kashi incomplete unless he or she visits Rameswaram also and performs abhisheka for Sri Ramanatha with Ganga water.
The shrine of Parvathavardhini, consort of Sri Ramanatha, is to the right of Rama Lingam. A Sri Chakra can be seen here. There is a separate Vishnu shrine dedicated to Sethu Madhava. There are shrines for Pallikonda Perumal, Santhana Ganapathi, AshtaLakshmi, Nataraja and Hanuman.
Sethu Karai is a place 22 km before the island of Rameswaram from where Bhagwaan Ram is said to have built a Floating Stone Bridge Rama sethu from Rameswaram that further continued to Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram till Talaimannar in Sri Lanka as mentioned in the great epic Ramayana.
Pamban Bridge :-
The Pamban Bridge is a cantilever bridge on the Palk Strait connects Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India. It refers to both the road bridge and the cantilever railway bridge, though primarily it means the latter. It was India’s first sea bridge. It is the second longest sea bridge in India (after Bandra-Worli Sea Link) at a length of about 2.3 km. The railway bridge is 6,776 ft (2,065 m) and
was opened for traffic in 1914. The railroad bridge is a still-functioning double-leaf bascule bridge section that can be raised to let ships pass under the bridge. Next post I will take you to Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple and some places in Madurai ………………………
Rameswaram Pamban island has beautiful beaches. Olaikuda beach is famous for coral reefs and is ata distance of one km from the temple.Scuba diving is permitted here.
There are sixty-four Tīrthas or Theerthams (holy water bodies) in and around Rameswaram. According to the Skanda Purana, twenty-four of them are important. Of the 24, 14 are in the form of tanks and wells within the precincts of the temple. Bathing in these tanks is a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameswaram and is considered equivalent to penance. Twenty-two of the tanks are within the Ramanathaswamy Temple. The foremost one is called Agni Theertham, the sea (Bay of Bengal). Jatayu, King of the Birds, who fought in vain with the demon-king Ravana to save Sita, is said to have fallen down at Jadayu Theertham as his wings were severed. Villoondi Theertham literally translates to ‘buried bow’, is located around 7 kilometres from the main temple on the way to Pamban. It is believed to be the place where Rama quenched the thirst of Sita by dipping the bow into the sea water.Other major holy bodies are Hanuman Theertham, Sugreeva Theertham and Lakshmana Theertham.
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.
1. Mahalakshmi Theertham: Yudhistra took bath here and became rich and famous.
2. Savithri Theertham: Kashyapa got rid of his curse after holy dip in this theertham. Whoever takes holy dip in this theertham would get rid of all the curses. King Kasibar got rid of his curse.
3. Gayathri Theertham: King Kasibar got rid of his curse.
4. Saraswathi Theertham:
5. Sethu Madhava Theertham: Whoever takes holy dip in this water would be blessed by Mahalakshmi, their purified of impure thoughts.
6. Gandhamadana Theertham: One will get rid of their penury
7. Kavatcha Theertham: One protected from torture at hell.
8. Gavaya Theertham: One will be blessed to be under Kalpa Vriksha tree.
9. Nala Theertham: One will be able to take blessing of Lord Surya and reach heaven.
10. Neela Theertham: Equivalent to having performed various yagnas.
11. Sanku Theertham: The Glory of Sankhatirtha: Vatsanabha Freed from the Sin of
12. Chakkara Theertham :
13. Brahmahathi Vimochana Theertham: Will be absolved of may sins like killing a Brahmin, consumption of intoxicated drinks etc
14. Sooriya Theertham: Attain the ability to receive knowledge of the past present and the future.
15. Chandra Theertham:
16. Ganga Theertham: Gananasuruthi Rajah attained wisdom.
17. Yamuna Theertham:
18. Gaya Theertham:
19. Siva Theertham: absolving of Brahmahathi sins
20. Sadyamirtha Theertham: Anointment to many curses incurred unknowingly.
21. Sarva Theertham: Sutharishna got rid of his blindness(from birth), illness and old age and then he prospered.
22. Kodi Theertham: Lord Krishna got rid of his sin of killing his uncle, Kamsa.
Agnitheertham is a pilgrim place where in people believes that taking bath in the place washes away their sins. The temple is constructed facing the eastern direction and there is a large lake in the temple whose water is considered to be holy enough. There are about 22 wells in this place and it is one amongst the 12 jyotirlings of India. The water of all the 22
wells has different taste and one can taste the waters of all of them so as to have all flavors of life in it.
It is believed that the water has several medicinal properties too and several different life threatening diseases can be cured by taking water from the different wells from this place.
Rama Teertham is constructed on the Gandamadhana Parvata hence forth it is also called Gandamadana. It is constructed on the island and is considered to be the most sacred pilgim place in southern India. In this temple there is a charka on which the imprints of Lord Rama
have been encarved. It is little away from Dhanushkodi, which is a place where Rama met Vibhishana and that place too has its own historical importance.
There is hilly region all around which is a good tourist place. So while one is on the pilgrimage, one can enjoy the beauty of life as well in the nearby places.
Lakshmana Teertham has been constructed in memory of Lord Lakshman, brother of Lord Rama. In order to offer sacred prayers to lord Lakshmana, temple has been constructed in Rameshwaram itself which indicates that Lord Lakshman had been given a valuable place in the dynasty of Lord Rama. Several wonderful sculptures of Lord Lakshmana have been carved out from marble and the temple has the statues of lord Rama and Goddess Sita too, as they are never supposed to be separated as they stayed united all their lives. This shows the trustworthiness of Lakshman towards his family and especially his elder brother Rama and Goddess Sita.
This Theertham is situated 7 kms from the main temple on the way to Pamban.
It is situated on the way to Gandamadana Parvatham near the Doordarshan Kendra.
Kaveri tirtham is the holy tirtham in southern India where god Kapardishvara is worshipped. Jada tirtham is another small temple within Kaveri Tirtham and it too has its own mythological
importance. The temple is constructed in near the trunk of a large peepal tree and all the deities are supposed to have rested there while they had been in banvas.
The temple is small in construction but is a great master piece of lattice work and the artmanship is wonderful. It is famous for its beauty and uniqueness. Though small, its beauty lies in it being small enough and it too is among the famous pilgrim places in southern India.
Jatayu Teertham :-
Jatayu Teertham is the holy temple created in the memory of Jatayu, which was the most loyal eagle of Rama and who helped lord Rama at several instances in getting herbs from the mountains. It lost its life in order to save the life of lord Rama and hence its sacrifice is always appreciated and it is worshiped as a deity even today. It was buried in the soil when it died and Jatayu temple has been created at the place of its burial. The whole of its pit was filled with vibhuti, which is the holy ash that is obtained after the yagnas.
To reach Sethu Threetham at Dhanushkodi, one has to walk three km along the shores. A dip in Sethu is considered very holy. New Moon days in Adi (Aug-Sept) and Thai (Jan-Feb) are auspicious and many pilgrims perform shraadha for their ancestors.
Nambu Nayagiamman Temple:-
this temple is greatly venerated by the people of Ramnad District. It is situated 8 kms from the main temple in Rameswaram on the way to Dhanushkodi.
Other Temples in Rameswaram:-
The idol of Parvathavardhini, who is the consort of Lord Ramanatha, is enshrined separately to His right. A Sri Chakra is installed inside. The significance of the shrine is that the idol of the Goddess is situated to the right of the Lord’s shrine. The idol is beautifully decorated on Fridays and taken around the temple corridor in a golden palanquin.
Vishwanatha and Visalakshi:-
Lord Vishwanatha or Vishwalinga shrine is located to the north of Ramalinga shrine. This is said to be one of the two Lingas brought by Hanuman from Mount Kailash. Custom is that Pujas are first performed to Vishwalinga and then to Ramalinga. Visalakshi, the consort of Vishwanatha, is enshrined in the first inner corridor.
Close to the Visalakshi shrine, in the north-eastern corner of the corridor, is the Sayanagruha. From the main shrine, the golden image of the Lord is brought here every night and placed in the Oonjal (swing) next to the Devi’s golden idol. Sayana puja and the early morning puja are performed here.
There are also shrines dedicated to SethuMadhava and Goddess Lakshmi. Sethu Madhava is also called as Sweta Madhava. The term Sweta means white stone with which the image is made.
Badrakali Amman Temple:-
A kilometer away from the main sanctum sanctorum is the Badrakali Amman Temple with Devi Durga as its chief deity. It is very popular among Devi Durga’s worshippers hailing mainly from West Bengal & Kolkatta. This temple is en-route the Gandhamathana Parvatham.
A hillock situated 3 KMs to the north of the temple is the highest point in the island. There is a two storeyed Mandapam, where Rama's feet (Padam) is found as an imprint on a chakra. Pilgrims throng in thousands to worship Gandhamathana Parvatham. Sukreevar Temple and Theertham are situated on the way to Gandhamadana Parvatham.
A coastal village is also known as Navashabashanam.It is believed that Lord Rama worshipped Navagraha here. The temple near by here, is dedicated to Devi, who is said to have killed the demon Mahishasura at this spot. Hindus perform religious rites for their forefathers here.
Also called Dharbasayanam, the Vishnu Temple here, is dedicated to Lord Adi Jaganathaperumal. It is 64 KMs from Rameswaram.
Satchi Hanuma Temple:-
This is where Hanuman said to have delivered the good news of sita's well being to Rama
with an evidance choodamanai(Jewel) of Sita.
Five faced Hanuman Temple:-
Hanuman is adorned with senthooram here. The stone said to have used to construct the floating bridge Sethu Bandanam could be seen here.floating stones which was used to construct Rama seetu by rama could be seen here.
The Patham Priya Koil is situated in Thiruvetriyur in R.S. Mangalam Block of the district. The temple is spread over a vast area and has a large Tank and pilgrims flock here in hundreds every day for blessings and to pay obeisance.
Around 85 kilometers from Rameswaram is the Veyulugantha Vinayagar Alayam ( Temple ). It is believed that Lord Ram worshipped Lord Vinayagar (Elephant God) in this very temple on his journey to Sri Lanka .
A place of Puranic importance, Sethu karai (meaning the Sethu Coast ) is an important pilgrim centre having religious significance owing to the belief that Lord Ram is said to have constructed a bridge from here over the sea waters to reach Sri Lanka . It is a hallowed place for Hindus as they conduct their religious rites in this place and is situated around 68 kilometers from Rameswaram and is near Erwadi Dharga.
Kothandaramaswamy Temple is situated on the southern most tip of India and is situated on the island near Bay of Bengal. Indian Ocean covers it from all its sides. There had been several instances of cyclone in the area but the temple stayed to be intact even in most critical times.
It too has the history and story of Ramayan in its footings. Here, Vibhishana, Ravan's brother joined hands with Rama and hence Vibhishana too is worshiped at this place. The temple has several wonderful paintings all around the walls of it which flows with the flow of Ramayana and one can enjoy being in the temple with the guide who keeps narrating the story at every instance of time.
Festivals & Timings of Rameswaram Temple:-
Major festivals include Sivaratri, Vasantotsav, Ramalinga Pratishta Utsav, the divine Wedding, Navaratri, Skanda shashti and Arudra Darshan.
The temple is opened from 5.00 AM to 1.00 PM and from 3.00 PM to 9.00 PM.
|5.00 am||Palliyarai (Sayanagruha) Deeparadhana|
|5.10 am||Saptika linga Deeparadhana|
|5.45 am||Thiruvananthal Deeparadhana|
|7.00 am||Vila Puja|
|10.00 am||Kaalasanthi Puja|
|12.00 noon||Uchikala Puja|
|6.00 pm||Saayaraksha Puja|
|8.30 pm||Ardhajaama Puja|
|8.45 pm||Palliyarai Puja|
» Air link : Nearest airport Madurai (167 kms) is connected by Indian Airlines flights with Bombay, Calicut and Madras.
» Rail link : Rameshwaram is connected by rail directly to Madras, Madurai, Trichy and Coimbatore where Madras is connected with all the main places in India.
» Road link : Rameshwaram is connected by regular bus services with Kanyakumari 320 kms, Karaikudi 149 kms, Madras 666 kms, Madurai 167 kms, Ramanathapuram 55 kms, Sivaganga 136 kms, Pudukottai 188 kms, Tanjore 248 kms, Tuticorin 180 kms, Tiruchendur 209 kms etc.