Visit Rameshwaram Temple or the Ramanathaswamy Temple ay Pamban Island (2023)
About the Rameswaram Temple or Ramanathaswamy Temple:
Tamil Nadu is home to many ancient and famous temples. People from all over India visit Tamil Nadu to pay their respects and ask for various boons from the many deities that grace these temples. Perhaps no other temple in Tamil Nadu is as famous and revered as the Rameswaram Temple or Ramanathaswamy Temple. Rameshwaram is a holy town in Tamil Nadu, located on Pamban Island. The Pamban Island is also known as Rameshwaram Island. Rameshwaram is considered to be one of the most sacred places in India for Hindus, and it is also part of the Char Dham pilgrimage.
The Ramanathaswamy Temple, located in the heart of Rameshwaram, is a prominent Hindu pilgrimage spot. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and it is one of the twelve holy Jyotirlinga temples. At the same time, the temple is also one of the 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams, which means this is one of the temples where three of the most revered Shaivite saints have sung their songs.
Why is the Ramanathaswamy Temple Famous?
Ramanathswamy temple is one of the most famous historical landmarks of Rameshwaram and India. The temple is unique in that though the town of Rameshwaram is predominantly dedicated and associated with Lord Rama, the main temple of the town is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is because Lord Ram worshipped Lord Shiva in this very town before setting about for Lanka to kill the demon king Ravan. He also prayed to Lord Shiva in Rameshwaram to be cleared of the sin of killing Ravan.
Is The Ramanathaswamy Temple Really Remarkable?
Yes, the temple is truly a remarkable pilgrimage spot for millions of Hindus all over the world because the temple houses two Shiva lingams.
Who Built The Rameshwaram Temple?
There is no one person credited with building the Ramanathaswamy Temple. The temple has been made by many rulers from the 12th century onwards, and the main expansion of the temple took place in the 12th century under the Pandya Dynasty. The primary shrines of the temple were, at that time, renovated and rebuilt by Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan and his successor Gunaveera Cinkaiariyan of the Jaffna Kingdom.
How Many Pillar Are There In The Rameshwaram Temple?
The most notable feature of this temple is the magnificent hall with 1200 carved sandstone pillars. Ramanathaswamy Temple has the longest corridor in India amongst all Hindu temples. The ceiling of this hallway is covered in contrasting colored lotus art. Due to security concerns, visitors are no longer allowed to take photographs. All types of electronic devices such as cameras and mobile phones have to be deposited at the storage counter before entering the temple.
According to the legend of Ramayana, Lord Rama wanted to build a huge lingam to worship Lord Shiva. For this, he directed the lieutenant of this army, Hanuman, to bring a lingam all the way from the Himalayas. However, as Hanuman got delayed in bringing the lingam, Rama proceeded to build a smaller lingam from the sand of the seashore. Today this lingam made from sand is placed in the sanctum of the temple and is treated as the main deity of the temple and is famously called Ramalingam. The other lingam brought by Hanuman from the Himalayas is known as Vishwalingam. According to tradition, the Vishwalingam is worshipped first since Rama instructed everyone to worship the lingam that was brought by Hanuman first. Even today, the same protocol is followed by the temple priests.
The Ramanathaswamy Temple is known for its strikingly long corridors in its interiors. These corridors have pillars placed on platforms that are above five feet high. The outside corridors are believed to be the longest in the world and measure around 7 meters in height, 400 feet each in the west and east, and 640 feet in the north and south. The total length of the corridors at Ramanathaswamy Temple is 3850 feet, with over 1212 pillars located just in the outer corridor. The height of the pillars is around 30 feet from the floor to the center of the roof. In fact, the raja gopuram or the main tower, is 53 meters tall.
These pillars are a sight to behold as each pillar is carved with different compositions, including scenes from the Ramayana.
What Is The Significance Of The Teerthams In Ramanathaswamy Temple?
There are 23 teerthams or holy water bodies in and around the Ramanathaswamy Temple, and the belief is that taking a dip in these 23 teerthams can help you wash away your sins. All of these holy water bodies are located inside the temple premises, except for the Agniteetham. The Agniteertham is situated at sea, just a couple of 100 meters before the east gate of the temple.
Remember that it is customary to take a bath in all the 23 teerthams before you enter inside the heart of the temple to worship the Shiva lingams. It costs just Rs. 25 to book your teertham darshan online, after which you will be given a time slot for when you can reach the place and bathe. Furthermore, bathing in these holy water bodies also has to be done in a set order, and there are many signs directing devotees about this order. The starting point is at Agniteetham. It is believed that Sita first bathed in the sea at the spot of Agniteertham and also offered prayers to Lord Shiva here. Legend also has it that the fire god, Lord Agni, appeared at this place to convince Lord Rama that Sita was faithful to him during her captivity by Ravan. It is important to note that you will need to change out of your wet clothes after you finish bathing in all the 23 teerthams and before you enter the inner sanctum of the temple. There are many facilities provided here to change.
The Ramanathaswamy shrine is constructed with dark black granite stones, and the rooftop tower, or the Vimana of the temple, is coated with gold. Inside the temple, there are several separate shrines dedicated to other gods and goddesses. These include Ramanthaswamy, Parvathavardhini, Visalakshi, Nataraja, Anjaneya, Santanaganpathi, Mahaganapathi, Sethumadhava, Subrahmanya, and Mahalaxmi.
The Ramanathaswamy Temple is considered to one of the holiest sites out of the four sacred places of Hindu pilgrimage, known as Char Dham. The temple is today an important religious site for followers of Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Hindu pilgrims from all over the world make the journey to seek divine blessings at Rameshwaram. Ramanathaswamy Temple remains a site of great importance for Hindus, and thousands of devotees arrive at the temple every year, particularly during the festival of Maha Shivratri.