Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple in Tamil Nadu is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is part of the 12 Jyotirlinga Temples and 4 Char Dham Temples in India. The temple is located in the Rameshwaram District of Tamil Nadu and is the southernmost Jyotirlinga in India.
Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple History
- The history of the temple dates back to the Ramayana Period. It is believed that Lord Rama made the Linga and installed it here.
- The rulers of Pandya Dynasty expanded the temple in 12th century AD.
- Legend of the Jyotirlinga: Lord Rama and his wife Sita were returning from Lanka After killing Ravana, the demon king. Ravana was a half demon and half Brahmin. Since killing a Brahmin is a sin, Lord Rama wished to worship Lord Shiva and ask his pardon. He had sent Lord Hanuman to Mount Kailash to bring Lord Shiva’s idol.
- Meanwhile, Lord Rama and Sita were living in the island and when they tried to drink the water, a powerful and divine voice spoke to them. The voice chided Lord Rama that he was drinking the water without worshiping. Instead of waiting for Hanuman’s return, Lord Rama instructed Sita to make a Linga with the sand and water from the seashore. He worshipped Lord Shiva in this form and pleaded for mercy. Lord Shiva manifested himself as the Jyotirlinga, blessed Lord Rama and also accepted to stay here and bless mankind forever.
- Since Lord Rama worshipped the Linga, the Jyotirlinga was named as Ramanathaswamy, and the place was called as Rameshwaram. There are 12 Jyotirlingas in India out of which 5 in Maharashtra.
Significance of the Temple
- The Sanctum Sanctorum of the temple has two Lingas – the Ramalingam – made out of sand by Sita, and Vishwalingam – brought by Hanuman
- Since Hanuman had brought the Linga all the way from Kailash, Lord Rama instructed that one should worship Vishwalingam first
- The entire island of Rameshwaram and nearby areas are associated with Lord Rama. Several incidents from the Ramayana are believed to have happened here and therefore, this place is revered by both Saivites and Vaishnavites.
- Since Lord Rama had killed the Brahmin Ravana, he was affected by Brahmahatya Dosha. He therefore worshipped Lord Shiva and performed certain rituals as per Agama custom to absolve of his Dosha.
- Rameshwaram has many as 50 Teerths or holy wells, and 22 of them are inside the temple. The water from these wells is believed to possess medicinal properties
- It is believed that the water from each Teerth tastes different and offers various remedies
- The first of the holy wells – the Agniteertham lies immersed in the sea, 100 metres from the main temple. This is where Lord Rama is believed to have performed the rituals for the Brahmahatya Dosha. Therefore, devotees first take a dip in this well before entering the temple
- The Linga is made of Spatika. The temple arranges for an early morning special darshan called the Mani Darshan, where the devotees can see and worship the Spatika Linga
- It is auspicious to bathe the Linga with the water from the Ganges. Devotees who go to Kashi, make it a point to bring the Ganges water and offer it to the Linga here. It is believed that this offering completes their spiritual journey
- The Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple has the world’s largest temple corridor. They measure around 1220 metres and comprises of nearly 1200 magnificent granite pillars in total
Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple Timings
Morning: 6:00 am – 1:00 pm
Evening: 3:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Poojas and Rituals
Brahmahatya Dosha Pooja – To alleviate Brahmahatya Dosha present in one’s horoscope. Performed in the Agni Teerth or in the nearby Mutts
Pitru Tarpanam / Thila Homam – Tribute to ancestors to seek their blessings, and to help their souls rest in peace. Performed in the nearby Mutts with assistance of purohits
Palliyarai Deepa Arathana: 5:00 am
Spadigalinga Deepa Arathana: 5:10 am
Thiruvananthal Deepa Arathana: 5:45 am
Vila Pooja: 7:00 am
Kalasanthi Pooja: 10:00 am
Uchikala Pooja: 12:00 noon
Sayaratcha Pooja: 6:00 pm
Arthajama Pooja: 8:30 pm
Palliyarai Pooja: 8:45 pm
- Maha Shivarathri festival is the key festival here like any other Saivite temple. In Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple, devotees can participate in the Rishaba Vaahana Darsha, Maha Shivarathri Abishekam and the Silver Chariot procession. This is a 10-day festival that is celebrated in February – March.
- Vasanthotsavam is a 10-day festival celebrated in the month of May – June
- Ramalinga Prathishtai is a 3-day festival celebrating the installation of the Ramalingam. The festival is celebrated during May- June
- Thirukalyanam is the celestial wedding ceremony of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. The festivities are spread over a fortnight and is celebrated in the month of July – August
- Navarathri or Dussera is a 10-day festival celebrated in the month of September – October
- Kandha Sashti is celebrated in honour of Lord Kartikeya or Skanda. This is celebrated after Deepavali during the month of October – November
- Aarudhira Dharshan is an important day in the Saivite calendar when Lord Shiva indulges in a cosmic dance. Lord Shiva’s avatar, Lord Nataraja performs this ecstatic dance on a day that coincides with the longest night of the year. This festival is celebrated during the end of December or in early January.
How to Reach: Road, Rail, and Air
By road: Reaching Rameshwaram by road is not a challenge. This major pilgrim site is connected to all cities and towns in Tamil Nadu. Several state-run and private buses are available.
By rail: Rameshwaram has its own railway station and is connected to all major cities and town. The Railway station is just 1 km away from the Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Tempe.
The famous Annai Indira Gandhi Bridge, also known as Pamban Bridge is a 2 km stretch over the sea and connects the mainland Mandapam to Rameshwaram island. Special trains operate on the parallel-running Pamban collapsible railway bridge and offer spectacular views.
By air: The nearest airport is in Madurai, which is 174 km from Rameshwaram. The airport is well connected to major Indian cities.
Where to Stay
There are several accommodation options available at Rameswaram. The temple also offers accommodation options. One can also find comfortable rooms and dormitories in TTDC Guest House at a nominal tariff.
Where to Eat
Food options are plenty at Rameshwaram. Several restaurants cater to both South Indian and North Indian palate. There are several Marwadi Bhojanalayas near the Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple. These places offer food at reasonable prices. Devotees also partake the free food provided at the Temple.
- Satchi Hanuman Temple: The Satchi Hanuman Temple is a spot of great significance in the Ramayana. It is the place where Hanuman conveyed to Lord Rama, that Sita is in Lanka. Hanuman gave Sita’s jewel as an evidence or ‘Satchi’ and hence, the spot was known as Satchi Hanuman Temple. The temple is 3 km from Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple
- Panchamukha Hanuman Temple: The Panchamukha Hanuman Temple has a majestic idol of Lord Hanuman with five faces covered in vermillion. The temple attracts devotees who come to see the floating rocks that were used by Lord Hanuman’s army to build the Ramsethu bridge between Indian and Sri Lanka. The Panchamukha Hanuman Temple is 2 km from the Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple
- Gandamadana Parvatham: The Gandamadana Parvatham is a small hill and holy site. It is the highest point in Rameshwaram. Devotees visit the place to worship an imprint of Lord Rama’s feet on a sacred chakra. The Gandamadana Parvatham is 3 km from the Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple
- Badrakaliamman Temple: Badrakaliamman Temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. The temple is just 2 km away from the Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple
- Jada Theertham:Lord Rama returned from Lanka after killing Ravana and proceeded to install and worship Ramalinga. Before worshipping, Lord Rama
- Nambu Nayagiamman Temple:– The Nambu Nayagiamman Temple is a 14th-century temple built by the people of Ramnad as a mark of their faith and respect for Lord Rama. The temple is 8 km from the Rameshwaram Ramanathswamy Temple
- Kothandaramaswamy Temple: This temple is associated with Vibishana, the brother of Ravana and Lord Rama. It is believed that Vibishana sought Lord Rama’s refuge in this place. This is also the place where Lord Rama coronated Vibishana after his victory in Lanka. The Kothandaramaswamy Temple is 12 km away from Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple
- Villoondi Theertham: – The Villoondi Theertham is nearly 100 metres into the sea but is a freshwater well with sweet tasting water. It is believed that during his quest for Sita, Lord Rama reached this place. His thirst for water prompted him to flex his bow and arrow into the sea. The arrow created a well with fresh water to quench Lord Rama’s thirst. The Villoondi Theertham is 4 km from the Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple.