Overview of Ramanathaswamy Temple
Ramanathaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located on Rameswaram Island in Ramanathapuram district. The temple has been built in Dravidian style of architecture.
Ramanathaswamy Temple forms a prominent pilgrimage centre for followers of Hinduism.
The presiding deity of the temple, Lord Shiva venerated as Ramanathaswamy in Lingam form, is believed to have installed and worshipped by Lord Rama.
According to the Indian epic Ramayana, Lord Rama (the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu) prayed to Lord Shiva for absolution of his sins committed during his war against the demon king Ravana of Sri Lanka. Lord Rama directed his devotee Hanuman to bring a lingam from Himalayas. When Hanuman delayed in bringing the lingam , a small lingam was made out of sand by Sita, the consort of Lord Rama on the shores of Rameswaram. This is believed to be the lingam in the sanctum.
The establishment of the temple from a thatched shed to the present structure is mainly attributed to the Setupatis of Ramanathapuram.
The sanctum of the temple has two lingams – Ramalingam that was built by Sita from sand, resides as the main deity and Vishwalingam brought by Hanuman from Kailash.
The temple has high compound walls on all four sides with huge towers to the east and west and finished gate towers to the north and south. The temple interior has striking long corridors. The outer set of corridors is regarded to be the longest in the world having 1212 pillars. The Rajagopuram (temple tower) is 53 metres tall. The temple consists of various halls namely Anuppu Mandapam, Sukravara Mandapam, Setupati Mandapam, Kalyana Mandapam and Nandi Mandapam.
The temple houses separate shrines for Ramanathaswamy and his consort Goddess Parvathavardhini separated by a corridor. Shrines of Goddess Vishalakshi, Parvathavardhini, Subramanya, Nataraja, Hanuman, Lord Vishnu and Lord Ganesha can also be found inside the temple.
Interesting Facts about the Temple
- Ramanathaswamy Temple is one of the twelve Jyothirlinga temples and one of the 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams . · Three of the most revered Nayanars (Saivite saints) – Appar, Sundarar and Tirugnana Sambandar have glorified the temple with their songs. · The temple is one of the holy Char Dham (four divine sites), the other three being Badrinath, Puri and Dwaraka.
- The temple boasts of its corridor with a 197-metre span from East to West and a 133-metre span from South to North, making it the longest one in Asia.
- As was instructed by Lord Rama, Vishwalingam (brought by Hanuman from Kailash) is worshipped first even today.
- The Maratha kings who had ruled Thanjavur established rest houses throughout Rameswaram and Mayiladuthurai and donated them to the temple.
- It is believed that no Hindu devotee’s journey is complete without a pilgrimage to Varanasi and Rameswaram as a step towards attainment of salvation.
There are sixty-four Theerthams (holy water bodies) in and around Rameswaram; Agni Theertham considered to be the primary seashore associated with the temple. Twenty-two of the Teerthams are within the Ramanathaswamy Temple. Bathing in these Teerthams is considered equivalent to penance and forms a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameswaram. Each of the Theerthams has its own significance. Temple Timings The temple is open in the morning from 5:00 AM to 1:00 PM and in the evening from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
|Palliyarai Deepa Aradhana||5:00 AM|
|Spadigalinga Deepa Aradhana||5:10 AM|
|Thiruvananthal Deepa Aradhana||5:45 AM|
|Vila Pooja||7:00 AM|
|Kalasanthi Pooja||10:00 AM|
|Uchikala Pooja||12 Noon|
|Sayaratchai Pooja||6:00 PM|
|Arthajama Pooja||8:30 PM|
|Pilliyarai Pooja||8:45 PM|
The prominent festivals observed in the temple are:
- Maha Sivarathri – 10 days festival during the Tamil month of Maasi (February-March)
- Vasanthotsavam – 10 days festival during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May-June)
- Ramalinga Prathishtai – 3 days festival during the Tamil month of Aani (June-July)
- Thirukalyanam – 17 days festival during the Tamil month of Aadi (July-August)
- Navarathri – 10 days festival during the Tamil month of Purattasi (September-October)
- Kantha Sashti – 6 days festival during the Tamil month of Aippasi (October-November)
- Aarudhra Darshanam – 10 days festival during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December-January)
How to reach
Rameswaram is well connected by road and rail with Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy and other important cities. The 2.3 kilometres long Indira Gandhi Road Bridge (popularly called Pamban Bridge) connects Mandapam (a place on Indian mainland) with Pamban (fisherman town in Rameswaram). The city bus stand is at a distance of around 2 kilometres from Ramanathapuram Temple. Rameswaram has a railway station, about 1.3 kilometres from the temple. The nearest airport is at Madurai, 163 kilometres from Rameswaram.
Ramanathaswamy Temple is a holy paradise for devotees and an ideal delight for tourists. With its architectural grandeur, imposing temple tower, magnificent long corridors, aesthetically carved pillars and holy water bodies purifying mind and soul, the temple attracts millions of pilgrims every year.