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Rameshwaram Temple

The Ramanathaswamy Temple

The famous Ramanathaswamy Temple is regarded as one of the most sacred shrines of Hindus in India. It is an honoured pilgrimage destination, which represents the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlingams of India. It is considered as holy as Banaras. This famous Hindu temple situated on the Rameshwaram island is located off the Sethu coast of Tamil Nadu. The temple is noted for its close association with Ramayana and the legendary victory of Rama over the demon king Ravana.

This temple is a pious temple, keeping in mind its association with Lord Rama, a great Hindu legend and its grand structure. This huge temple on the island of Rameswaram can be reached via the Pamban bridge across the sea, it is famous for its long ornate corridors, towers and remarkable 36 Theerthams.

Rameshwaram Temple - Legend Related To The Temple

According to a legend, Rama worshiped Shiva in the form of a Shiva Lingam, while returning to Ayodhya. This lingam was made of earth by Rama's consort, Sita. It is also said that Hanuman was sent to bring an image of Viswanathar from Banares. Rama thought that Hanuman will be late in returning. Therefore, Rama is said to have offered worship at a pre-chosen auspicious moment to the Shivalingam. This lingam is referred to as Ramalingam.

The other Shivlingam brought here by Hanuman from Banaras is known as Viswanathar . This Shivalingam is also called Kasilingam and Hanumalingam. The Viswanathar Shivalingam is worshiped before offering prayers to Ramanathaswamy. It is also believed that Rama worshiped Tilakeswarar at Devipatnam on the route to Sri Lanka.

The History of The Temple

It is said that the ancient shrine was placed in a thatched hut until the 12th century. Parakrama Bahu of Sri Lanka built the first ever masonry structure here. The Setupathy rulers of Ramanathapuram completed the rest of the temple. Some of the temple vimaanams are similar to the Vimaanams of the Pallava period. Much more was added to the temple between the 12th and the 16th centuries. The long corridor (3rd prakaram) dates back only to the 18th century. The Gandhamadhana Parvatam (hill) offers a panoramic view of the temple. Travancore, Ramanathapuram, Mysore and Pudukkottai kingdoms provided royal patronage to this famous Hindu temple.

The Temple Architecture

The temple is sprawled over an area of 15 acres. It has huge gopurams, monolithic walls and a stupendous Nandi. There is a 4000 feet long pillar corridor with over 4000 pillars, considered the longest in the world. A unique feature about this corridor is that the rock used here is not found on the native island, it was brought in from elsewhere in Tamilnadu across the sea. The eastern Rajagopuram has a height of 126 feet and has nine levels whereas the western Rajagopuram is not as tall as the eastern one. The huge image of Nandi is about 18 feet tall and 22 feet in length.

The Gandamadana Parvatham

This hill on the Rameshwaram island, has a small shrine, consisting of imprints of Lord Rama's feet, which is worshiped here.

Theertham(Water Springs)

There almost 36 Theerthams here out of which 22 are in the temple. The water of these Theerthams are said to be therapeutic. A bath in these is regarded significant. The Agni Theertham refers to the ocean while the Koti theertham is located within the temple itself.

Nine Unknown Men

Nine Unknown Men are a two millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka.