Posts

Kumari Amman Temple Kanyakumari

Kumari Amman Temple Kanyakumari

Devi Kanyakumari in Kumari Amman Temple is worshipped as Shree Bhagavathy in the form of an adolescent girl child. She is known as “Devi” or as mentioned earlier, “Bhagavathy” that refers to “Durga” or “Parvati”. The Devi is also worshipped as Bhadrakali.  The Goddess is known to be the one who removes the rigidity of our mind. Devotees actually feel the emotions in their mind when they pray to the goddess in devotion and contemplation.

The Kumari Amman temple is 3000 years old and is dedicated to Devi Kanyakumari. She is the virgin goddess who stands strong protecting her devotees. The temple is located on the seashore of Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. It is a renowned temple that speaks of ardent worship and devotion.

Kumari Amman Temple Kanyakumari

History of Kumari Amman Temple

I am Manifest Divinity, Unmanifest Divinity, and Transcendent Divinity. I am Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, as well as Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati. I am the Sun and I am the Stars, and I am also the Moon. I am all animals and birds, and I am the outcaste as well, and the thief. I am the low person of dreadful deeds, and the great person of excellent deeds. I am Female, I am Male”.

The worship of Devi goes back to the Vedic times. And the monotheism worship goes back to Advaita times. Devi Kanyakumari has been mentioned in Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Sangam works Manimekalai.

Devi Kanyakumari has a mysterious story that once Banusura, the demon king got power over Devas and gave cruel punishment to them. The Devas performed a Yagna seaking to punishand remove the evils.  So Devi Parasakthi came to Kumari in the form of a virgin girl and began her penance. Meanwhile Lord Shiva fell in love with her and arrangements for the marriage were made in the midnight a particular day. Now the Narada realised that their marriage would destroy the chances of castrating Banusura because he could be killed only by a virgin. When Lord Shiva was on his way to Kanyakumari, Sage Narada assumed the form of a cock and crowed falsely heralding the break of dawn. Thinking that the auspicious time for the marriage was past, Lord Shiva returned disappointed. The Goddess too decided to remain virgin after that. Then, when Banusura attempted to win the Goddess by force, she killed him with her Chakragudha, and relieved the sufferings of Devas. Then she resumed her penance and remained virgin.

Significance of Kumari Amman Temple

  • Kumari Amman Temple is one of the 51 Shaktipeethams – or divine abode of Goddess Shakti.
  • One of the hundred and eight “Durga Alayas”, this Temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga.
  • The nose ring of Devi Kanyakumari is designed with rubies. They are so bright that it could be seen even from the far at night.
  • It is said that some ships sailing in the sea, mistook the brightness of the rubies as the light from the Lighthouse and got wrecked, hitting against the rocks nearby. Due to this reason, the eastern side gate of the Kumari Amman Temple is kept closed.
  • The eastern door of the Temple is opened on new moon days in the months of Edavam, Karkkidakam (Capricorn and Cancer), during Navaratri and in the month of Vrischikam.
  • Walking around the outer corridor and crossing the Navaratri Mandapam, the pathway leads to the second corridor encircling the shrine. At the entrance here, is the Kala Bhairava Shrine and the well known as “Patal Ganga Teerth” which provides water for the Devi’s Abhisegham. After this is the Dhwajastambha (flag mast).
  • Swami Vivekananda, the great reformist visited this Temple to get the blessings of Devi on December 1892, as told by his Guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

Timings of Kumari Amman Temple – Rituals and Poojas

  • The rituals are performed here in the Keralite way. The mantra is “Amme Narayanaa! Devi Narayanaa! Lakshmi Narayanaa! Bhadre Narayanaa!”
  • Darshan starts in the early morning from 6:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m in the afternoon.
  • Later again the Darshan starts from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • The devotees offer red sarees and ghee wick lamps.

Festivals celebrated at Kumari Amman Temple

  • The Chaitry Purnima Festival is celebrated on the Full moon day in May.
  • The Navarathri festival is celebrated in the month of September–October. On the 10th day of the Navarathri, called as the Vijaya Dasami, the destruction of Banasura is celebrated.
  • The Vaisakha festival which is a 10 day festival is celebrated in the Tamil Month of Vaikasi (May–June). The image of the Devi is taken around the town in procession, both in the morning and evening.
  • The Kalabham festival is celebrated in the Tamil month of Aadi (Karkkidakam) that is in July – August. The idol is covered with Sandal paste on the last Friday of the Tamil month (Aadi).

How to reach Kumari Amman Temple

  • By road: visitors can reach the temple by taking taxis and auto-rickshaws that are easily available. City buses also are regularly accessible. The temple is 1km away from Kanyakumari bus stop.
  • By rail: the temple is 1km away from the rail station where regular based trains are available.
  • By air: the temple is well connected to major cities like Chennai, Madurai, and Thiruvanathapuram. Domestic flights are regularly available.

Hotels nearby Kumari Amman Temple

  • Hotel Sangam is located at Beach road, provides guests with a peaceful retreat that feels like a home away from home.
  • Hotel Singaar International located at Main road, Kanyakumari is well known for it’s multi cuisine restaurant and well suited rooms.
  • Hotel Shivas Residency located 1 km away from the Kanyakumari Rail station is a good place to relax and enjoy the locale around.

Places nearby Kumari Amman Temple

  • You should definitely visit the Olakaruvi Falls once you have visited the temple. It has magnificent beauty and its surroundings are splendid to look at.
  • The Lord Subhramanya Temple is located 34 km away from Kanyakumari and is dedicated to Lord Murugan who is the God of warfare and victory.
  • The Thanumaayan Temple known for its architectural splendour is a 17th century Hindu shrine in the Suchindrum town of Kanyakumari. It is also known as the Suchindrum Temple and Sthanumalayan Temple by locals.

Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

The first thing that comes to the mind of any devotee when they hear the name of the historic city Madurai is the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple located on the banks of the legendary River Vaigai. The presiding deity of the Temple is Goddess Meenakshi (Goddess Parvati) and her consort Lord Sundareshwara (Lord Shiva). As per historical research, initially, Lord Sundareshwara was worshiped as the primary deity. However, in due course of time, the importance shifted to worshiping Meenakshi as the primary deity. Such is the love and devotion of people towards the Goddess that no one who visits the city even thinks about leaving it without seeking her blessings. Meenakshi Temple is one of the epitomes of the Dravidian style of architecture. As one enters the Meenakshi Temple premises, one can feel the spiritual pull towards the shrines and a feeling of peace of mind.

Meenakshi Temple is considered as the city center of the 2500-year-old ancient city. Ancient records show that the Meenakshi Temple was the center of the city from which the streets arose and spread in all directions.  The Meenakshi Temple has been mentioned innumerable times in Tamil literature such as the Sangam literature. The Meenakshi Temple has been glorified in the revered Tevaram, a 7th-century work by the three Saivite Nayanars, Appar, Sundarar, and Thirugnanasambandar.

Meenakshi Temple Temple has four main entrances, one in each cardinal direction. The four Gopurams of each of the main entrances are intricately carved depiction sculptures of several Gods and Goddesses, holy animals and even demons. The tallest Gopuram among them is the South Tower (built in 1559)at a height of 170 feet (52 m). The oldest among them is the East tower built in 1238. The shrines of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwara are covered on top by a golden vimanam or a shikhara. The ceilings of the inner corridors are colorfully painted and provide a beautiful visual experience. It is estimated that around 33,000 exquisite sculptures are found in the Temple complex.

Goddess Meenakshi can be distinctly identified because she is always represented as a graceful lady wearing a green saree holding a Parrot in her right hand. The name Meenakshi can be split into “Meen” meaning Fish and “Akshi” meaning Eyes, thus giving the meaning as the “Lady with the Eyes of a Fish”.

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple

Madurai Meenakshi Temple History

  • The present structure of Meenakshi Temple Complex was built by the Nayakars of Madurai, especially during the reign of King Thirumalai Nayakar in the 15th century. However, the original Temple is believed to date back to as old as the 7th century. This is evident by the works of the Tamil Saint Thirugnanasambandar who has sung praises of the deity and the Temple in his work that dates back to the seventh century. The original temple is believed to have been constructed sometime during the late 6th to an early 7th century by the Pandya King Kulashekhara.
  • In the 14th century, there arose an internal disharmony over the succession to the throne after the downfall of the Pandyas dynasty. Taking advantage of the dispute, Ala-ud-din Khilji of the Delhi Sultanate sent his general Malik Kafur in 1310 to invade Madurai. He marched south and ransacked all the cities and small kingdoms that fell on the way. When he reached Madurai, he pulled down the Temple towers and destroyed several sculptures and historical records. However, the main shrine of Meenakshi Amman and Sundareshwara were left intact. This incident led to the beginning of the spread of Islam in southern India, especially in Tamil Nadu.
  • The renovation and rebuilding of the Meenakshi Temple started under King Viswanatha Nayak. The Meenakshi Temple was then expanded into its current state under the reign of Thirumalai Nayak during 1623 – 1655. He was responsible for the construction of several mandapams inside the Meenakshi Temple complex, especially the Vasantha Mandapam and the Kilikoondu Mandapam (Corridor of Parrots).
  • The corridors of the pristine temple tank, as well as the Meenakshi Nayakar Mandapam, were built by the famous and brave Rani Mangammal, one of the very few Women rulers of Ancient India.
  • According to the legends, the Pandyan King Malayadhwaja, and his queen Kanchanamala were childless and performed “Putra Kameshti Yagna” for a child. Lord Shiva was appeased and requested Goddess Parvati to be born to them. She obliged and arose from the sacrificial fire as a little girl with three breasts. The king was worried but was assured by the Lord that the third breast will disappear once she meets her match. The girl was named Taadanthagai and was brought up as a princess.
  • At the time of her coronation, she waged war against the three holy kingdoms of Sathyaloka (Brahma’s abode), Vaikunta (Vishnu’s abode) and Amravati (Devas’s abode). After defeating them all, when she reached Kailash to defeat Lord Shiva, she stopped as she realized that Lord Shiva was her divine companion. Her third breast disaapeared at the spot. She realized that she was the avatar of Goddess Parvati. It was decided that they will marry and rule the city of Madurai together.
  • On the day of the marriage, Lord Shiva came to the wedding ceremony without anyone accompanying him except a dwarf named Gundodara. Meenakshi was surprised and haughtily remarked that all the wedding arrangements will be wasted as there were not many attendees on behalf of the bridegroom. Lord Shiva challenged them to fulfill the needs of the dwarf. The king fed the dwarf everything from the wedding kitchen as well as every dish prepared in the city that day, but the dwarf could not be satisfied. When there was nothing else left to eat, he demanded water to quench his thirst. The city’s water supply was exhausted. Goddess Annapoorneshwari recommended that only Ganga would satisfy his thirst. Lord Shiva summoned River Ganga to flow and directed the river to flow through the city. The river was eventually named as Vaigai.
  • The marriage was a divine occurrence and was attended by all the Gods and the Goddesses. Lord Vishnu was supposed to attend the event but was delayed by Indra. Angered, he left to Alagar Kovil but was eventually convinced by Lord Shiva. The event is described as Alagar Thiruvila and is still celebrated. The marriage was presided over by a local deity known as Pavalaakanivai.
  • After the marriage, both Lord Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi ruled Madurai for a period of time before returning to Kailash.
  • As per ancient history, a Lotus-shaped city was built by the Pandyan King Kulasekhara around the Shiva Linga (Sundareshwara) worshiped by Lord Indra. It is believed that Lord Shiva was impressed by his devotion and blessed him. During the blessing, nectar dripped from his locks of hair and fell on the Earth. As a result, the city came to be known as Madhurapuri, Madhu meaning Honey. With the passage of time, the name became Madurai.

Significance of the Meenakshi Temple

  • The idol of Shri Meenakshi Amman is made of greenish black stone. The Linga of Lord Sundareshwara is believed to be one of the 68 Swayambhu Lingas worshiped in India. The Swayambhu Lingas are believed to be the representations of Lord Shiva that have risen from the ground by themselves. They have not been manmade and are naturally occurring. The Linga is supported by 64 Bhootaganas, 32 Lions, and 8 Elephants.
  • The Meenakshi Amman Temple is one of the Pancha Sabhai Sthalangal of Lord Nataraja, a form of Lord Shiva. Pancha means Five, Sabhai means hall and Sthala mean place. Lord Nataraja is referred to the form of Lord Shiva when he performs the different forms of Cosmic Dance. These five Sthalas or places represent the different forms of cosmic dance performed by Lord Nataraja. They are symbolized in sculptures depicting the respective postures and made out of precious elements. The sculpture of Lord Nataraja worshiped at the Meenakshi Amman Temple is called “Velli Ambalam Natarajar” and it is made of “Velli” meaning “Silver”. The uniqueness of this representation is that Lord Nataraja is shown with his right leg raised instead of the usually left leg as represented in the other depictions. The other four Temples with such unique sculptures are located in Chidambaram (Gold), Thiruvalangadu (Emerald), Tirunelveli (Copper) and Coutrallam (Art).
  • The Porthamarai Kulam, meaning the “Pond with the Golden Lotus” is the name given to the sacred Temple Tank. It is also called as Adi Theertham, Shiva Ganga, Utthama Theertham, Gnana Theertham and Mukthi Theertham. It is believed that the tank was initially created by Lord Shiva himself when he thrust his Trishul into the Earth on request from Nandi.
  • It was believed in ancient times that the worthiness of any new literature can be judged by placing the book on the surface of the tank. The poor quality literature would sink while the scholastic ones would remain afloat. It is believed that taking a bath with the water from the Theertham will provide Mukti or Moksha in life. It will also lead to the fulfillment of desires.
  • Meenakshi Temple is an architectural wonder. The imposing 14 Gopurams of the Temple Complex are awe inspiring and intricately carved. The numerous Mandapas of the Temple like the Thousand Pillars Mandapam, Ashta Shakthi Mandapam, Kambatadi Mandapam, Puthu Mandapam, Viravasantharaya Mandapam, Kalyana Mandapam, Mudali Pillai Mandapam and the Mangayarkarasi Mandapam tell us stories about Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati sculpted out of rock. There are several legends of Lord Shiva depicted in statues like the Thiruvilayadal (Games of Lord Shiva), Mahabharatha, Bikshadanar, and Ramayana.
  • A unique fact that can be observed about the placement of shrines is that the shrine of Lord Sundareshwara is exactly one-fourth of the total area of the temple. The shrine of Goddess Meenakshi is exactly one-fourth of the area of Lord Sundareshwara’s shrine. This might indicate that in the earlier times, Lord Shiva was given ritualistic importance over Goddess Meenakshi.
  • Meenakshi Temple forms a part of the new top 30 wonders of the World and was a nominee for the “New Seven Wonders of the World”.
  • A huge Ganapathi idol is worshiped just outside the sanctum out of Goddess Meenakshi. This idol is supposed to be at least 1500 years ago. It was discovered by the King Thirumalai Nayak during the digging of the Temple area for its renovation.
  • As one comes out of the sanctum of Goddess Meenakshi, one must look up to the ceiling to see a recently painted 3-Dimensional image of Lord Shiva’s Linga. The Linga gives us an illusion of following us as we circle around it below.

Madurai Meenakshi Temple Timings

  • Madurai Meenakshi Temple opens at 5am and closes at 9:30pm. It remains closed in the afternoon from 12:30pm to 4pm.
  • The devotees can choose to have a free darshan or a paid darshan depending on the crowd. Special darshan tickets are available at Rupees Fifty and Rupees Hundred.
  • Persons with disabilities and their one companion will be allowed to have darshan through a special entrance.

Dress Code

Men and women with exposed shoulders and legs are not allowed to enter the Temple premises. The main sanctums of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwara are open to only Hindus. However, visitors can view the Mandapams and the other architectural features of the Temple.

Festivals celebrated at Meenakshi Temple

  • Chitthirai Brahmotsavam – Arulmigu Thirukalyanam – The grand festival of the wedding between Lord Sundareshwara and Goddess Meenakshi is celebrated for a period of 12 days in the month of Chitthirai (April). The festival begins with the flag hoisting on the Dhwajasthamba as an invitation to all the Gods and Goddesses to attend the celebrations. The Pattabhishekam (Coronation) of Goddess Meenakshi takes place on the 8th day of the festival. The Dikvijayam procession begins on the 9th day signifying the victories of the Goddess until she reached Kailash. The tenth day is celebrated as the Meenakshi Thirukalyanam. Thousands of pilgrims gather at the temple premises to witness the divine moment. The Ther or the Rath Yatra of the deities begins on the next day. The gigantic and decorated chariots are pulled by thousands of ardent devotees and taken around the streets of the temple. Lord Alagar is also worshiped on the banks of the Vaigai river where he halted to bestow gifts to the deities.
  • Aavani festival – The important festival is celebrated for 18 days during the month of Aavani (August). This marks the event of the coronation of Lord Sundareshwara as the King of Madurai.The first six days of the festival are dedicated to Lord Chandrashekhar. the coronation takes place on the seventh day. The ritual of Tirupparakundram Subramanya and Thiruvadhavur Manickavasaka Perumal bidding farewell takes place on a ninth day.
  • Navarathri – The festival dedicated to Goddess Amman is celebrated in a grand manner for ten days. The idol of the Amman deity is decorated in a different manner on all the nine days and her blessings are sought by thousands of pilgrims. The “Kolu” is arranged in the “Kolu Mandapam”. Kolu is the unique way of celebrating Navarathri, especially in Tamil Nadu in which several idols of the Gods, Goddesses, and their creations are kept in several steps and worshiped. Kalpa Pooja and Laksharchana is performed for the Goddess every day. The Temple premises are lit with lamps throughout. Several cultural festivals are held in the temple premises.
  • Teppotsavam – The float festival is annually held in the city during the Tamil month of “Thai” which happens in January. The idols of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwara are taken around in a grand procession in the waters of the famous Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam. The festival attracts thousands of devotees who come to have a spiritual darshan of their favorite deities on this joyous occasion. The festival was started in the 17th century by the King Thirumalai Nayak. On this special day, the idols are taken to the banks of the Teppakulam and kept on the Mandap near its banks. The devotees queue in miles to have a darshan. The idols are then kept on a raft and pulled by hundreds of men and women, who pull the raft amidst cheers to the deities. The Gopurams of the temples are lit up in the evening followed by the fireworks display which marks the end of the day’s proceedings. The idols of the deities are then taken back to the Meenakshi Amman Temple with great enthusiasm.

Some of the other major festivals celebrated at the Temple are Maasi Mandala festival in February, Kanda Shashti in November, Deepavali, Oonjal festival, Aadi Moolaikottu festival, Vasanthotsavam, Arudhra darshanam, Thiruvenbavai and Thiruppavai festival.

Poojas and Rituals of Meenakshi Temple

  • The daily ritual of worship includes Pooja at six times of a day. Each Pooja consists of Abhishekam of the deities, Alangaram (decoration with ornaments), Naivedyam (offering of food) and Deepa Aradanai (Aarti with lamps).
  • Thiruvanandal Pooja – This is the first Pooja of the day and begins at 5 AM. The deities are bathed as per ritual and then dressed up in decorative ornaments. The morning Aarti is performed.
  • Vilaa Pooja and the Kalasandhi Pooja – These Poojas comprising of Abhishekam and Aarti takes place between 6:30 AM to 7:15 AM.
  • Thrikalasandhi Pooja and the Uchikkala Pooja – These Poojas begin at 10:30 AM and continue till 11:15 AM.
  • Maalai Pooja (Evening Aarti) – This ritual can be observed between 4:30 PM till 5:15 PM.
  • Ardhajama Pooja – The night Aarti takes place at 7:30 PM and the Naivedyam ends at 8:15 PM.
  • Palliarai Pooja – The last Pooja of the day starts at 9:15 PM. This is a special Pooja where the idol of Lord Shiva is taken around in a palanquin to the sanctum of Goddess Meenakshi and both are put to rest for the day.
  • Annadanam – The temple authorities allow Annadanam to be conducted on request of the devotees at the rate of Rupees Four Thousand per two hundred persons.

How to reach Madurai

  • By Air – The nearest airport is the Madurai International Airport. The city is well serviced by flights connecting major cities like Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore, and Bengaluru. The airport also connects flights internationally to cities like Dubai, Singapore, and Colombo.
  • By Train – The Madurai Junction is well connected to several important cities in India like Chennai, Trivandrum, Cochin, New Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Kolkata, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Goa and many more. Several trains connect Madurai internally to other major towns like Tiruchi, Kanyakumari, Nagercoil, Tuticorin, Karaikudi, Rameswaram, Tirunelveli, Tanjore and Coimbatore.
  • By Road – The city is well connected to all major cities in Tamil Nadu as well as the neighboring states. Several private bus operators also operate regular buses to the holy city until late midnight. The roads are clean and well-constructed.

Where to stay

The city provides a large number of options for stay ranging from five-star accommodation to low cost lodges and hotels. The Germanus Hotel, Supreme Hotel, and the Meenakshi Inn are some of the hotels preferred by the visiting tourists.

Where to eat

The city of Madurai is called “Thoonganagaram” meaning “the City that never sleeps”. It is a fact that the city offers unparalleled culinary delights to everyone who visits the city throughout the day and the night. Some of the must-tries among the food items are the roadside Kotthu Parathas, Jigarthanda drink, Badam Halwa, Curry Dosa, Idly, and Biryani. Some of the popular hotels that one must visit according to the locals are Amma Mess, Muniyandi Vilas, Simmakal Konar Kadai and Murugan Idly Kadai.

Nearby Temples

  • Thirupparakunram MuruganTemple – The holy temple is located just 7 km away from the city of Madurai. It is considered as the first among the six abodes of Lord Murugan, also known as Lord Karthikeya. The Temple Complex consists of several rock cut caves that house the deities, Lord Karthikeya, Lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva, Goddess Durga, and Lord Vinayaka. The Temple is ancient and as per records, dates back to the Pandyan era. It is believed to have been built even before the 7th century.  As per the legends, this is the place where Lord Karthikeya wed Devaiyani, daughter of God Indra.
  • Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple – The sacred shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan is located 25 km away from Madurai city. This Temple is one of the holy six abodes of Lord Murugan. The main shrine is located beside a stream called “Nupura Gangai”.Several popular local legends are associated with the Temple. One of the most popular legend being of the famous Tamil Poet Avvaiyar being given darshan by the Lord himself.
  • Alagar Kovil – The sacred temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is located just 20 km away from the Madurai city. The temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu mentioned in the Divya Prabandha, a work by the Azhwar Saints in the 6th to 9th century. Hence, the temple is believed to exist even before the periods of the Alwars. The Lord is worshiped here as Kallazhagar, a local form of the deity. The main shrine of the majestic Temple houses Lord Vishnu a reclining posture (Uragamellayan posture), accompanied by Sridevi and Bhudevi.
  • Vandiyur Mariamman Temple – This unique but mesmerizing temple is situated about 3 km away from the Meenakshi Amman Temple. The Temple is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman and Goddess Durga who merge together into a single form and worshiped here as Goddess Ambika – Durga or popularly as Durga-Mariamman. She is seen in a sitting posture with a smile, holding a rope and a stick, with her left leg pressing the demon Mahishasura onto the floor. The people of Madurai consider her as an Aadhi-Deivam. They seek permission and approval of the Goddess before planning and proceeding to any event in their lives.
  • Yoga Narasimha Perumal Temple – The Temple is located 8 km from the city of Madurai in Otthakadai. The village of Narasingam is home to the ancient temple situated at the foot of the Yanaimalai hills. The Temple is more that 1300 years old as the date of construction around the main deity is believed to be 770 AD during the reign of the Pandyas. The Temple is mentioned in the Sthala Purana, Brahmanda Purana, and the Thiruvalaiyadal Purana. The deity worshiped is Lord Vishnu in a fierce Narasimha form. According to several legends, the temple is the site where Lord Shiva worshiped Lord Narasimha and took a bath in the holy Chakratheertha to be relieved from the Brahma Hatthi Dosha.
  • Thirumohoor Chakrathalvar Temple – This legendary temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is 12 km away from Madurai city towards Melur. This Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams that are glorified in the Divya Prabandha composed by the Tamil Saints Alwars from the 6th to the 8th century. The deity is worshiped as Neelamegha Perumal and Lakshmi as Tirukannapura Nayaki. The region is also called as Mohanapuram and Mohanakshetram. This temple is believed to the site where Lord Vishnu appeared as the celestial beauty Mohini to annihilate the demon Basmasura. This is also supposed to be the place where Mohini lures all the demons during the churning of the oceans episode and gives them an empty pot. The Temple and the surrounding regions have been mentioned in Brahmanda Purana and Matsya Purana. The Chakrathalvar is unique in the feature that the idol represents 16 hands with 16 weapons. This type of representation can be found nowhere in India.
Madurai Rameshwaram Kanyakumari Tour

Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple

Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple

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
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.

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:     5:00 am – 1:00 pm
Evening:      3:00 pm – 9:00 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

Festivals

  • 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.

Nearby Temples

  • 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.