Rameshwaram Temple in Tamil Nadu
Rameshwaram Temple is situated in the island of Rameswaram, off the Sethu coast of Tamil Nadu and is reached via the Pamban Bridge across the sea. The huge temple is known for its long ornate corridors, towers and 36 theerthams.
Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga represents the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlingams of India and has been a time honored pilgrimage center held on par with Banaras. Rameshwaram Temple Jyotirlinga is associated closely with the Ramayana and Rama’s victorious return from Sri Lanka.
Legend behind Rameshwaram Temple
According to a popular legend, it was Lord Rama who reached this place and made a linga of sand and worshipped here. Story goes that when Lord Rama was on his way to attack Ravana, he reached this place. when Lord Rama was drinking water on the seashore there was a celestial proclamation – “You are drinking water without worshipping me”.while Listening to this Lord Rama made a linga of sand and worshipped it and asked to be blessed so that he could vanquish Ravana. Lord Shiva blessed him accordingly. He also requested Lord Shiva to reside eternally here so that entire mankind should benefit from it. Shiva then manifested himself as the Linga and got installed there for eternity.
According to yet another legend, while returning to Ayodhya, Ram worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of a Shiva Lingam made of earth by Sita. It is said that Hanuman was entrusted with the task of bringing an image of Viswanathar from Banaras. Anticipating delay in Hanuman’s return from Benares, Rama offered worship to a Shivalingam at a pre-chosen auspicious moment. This lingam is referred to as Ramalingam and the town is known as Rameswaram.
There is yet another Shivalingam here – Viswanathar said to have been brought by Hanuman from Banares. This Shivalingam is referred to as Kasilingam and Hanumalingam. Prayers are offered to Viswanathar before they are offered to Ramanathaswamy.
Structure and architecture of Rameshwaram Temple
Rameswaram Temple is spread over an area of 15 acres and has lofty gopurams, massive walls and a colossal Nandi. Rameswaram Jyotirlinga also boasts of a 4000 feet long pillared corridor with over 4000 pillars, supposedly the longest in the world. The carved granite pillars are mounted on a raised platform. Worth noticing fact about this corridor is that the rock is not indigenous to the island and is said to have been brought in from elsewhere in Tamil Nadu across the sea.
The eastern Rajagopuram towers to a height of 126 feet and has nine levels. The Western Rajagopuram is not as tall as the Eastern one but impressive. The temple also has several mandapams with mini shrines to other deities. There is a huge Nandi measuring 12 feet in length and 9 feet in height with the idols of Viswanatha Naicker and Krishnama Naicker. The lingams are housed in the inner section of the Ramalingeshwara. High walls enclose the temple, forming a rectangle with huge pyramidal gopura entrances on each side.
The temple of Rameswaram is as old as the Ramayana. At the beginning, the temple was originally a thatched shed incharge of a hermit. The present structure was the work of number of persons spread over a number of centuries.The pride of places goes to the Sethupathis of Ramnad.The existing records show that in the 12th century, Prakrama Bahu, King of Ceylon constructed the Sanctum Sanctorum around the Moolalinga Sri Viswanath and the Ambal shrine. In the 15th century, Udayan Sethupathi of Ramnad and a Vaisya of Nagoor built the western stone tower which is about 78 ft. high and the compound wall.In the 16th century, Tirumalai Sethupathi built a portion of the southern second corridor. His statue and that of his son RagunathaSethupathi are found by the side of the southern entrance to the Ambal temple.In the 17th century, Dalavai Sethupathi built a portion of the main eastern Gopuram.Early in the 18th century, Ravi Vijaya Regunatha Sethupathi built the Palliyarai and the Mandapam in front of the Ambal temple. Later in the same century, the world famous Third Corridor was constructed by Muthuramalinga Sethupathi. His statue and those of his two ministers are found in the western entrance to the Third Corridor.
Outer wing :
East-West – 690 fts.
North-South – 435 fts.
Inner wing :
East-West – 649 fts.
North-South – 395 fts.
Total number of Pillars – 1212
Height of Corridor – 22 ft.7.5 inch
Significance of Rameshwaram Temple Jyotirlinga
Significance of Rameshwaram Temple Jyotirlinga has been described through a shloka in Manas:
Je rameshwar darshan kari hahi |
Te tanu taji mam loka sidaari hahi ||
Meaning: Those who go to Rameshwar and seeks my blessings, shall always reside in Shivloka.
The temple will be kept open for the devotees from 5 Am to 9 PM ( except between 1PM and 3 PM ). The poojas are performed six times a day in this temple.
Details of Pooja Timings Pooja Name Timing
Palliarai Deepa Arathana 5.00AM
Spadigalinga Deepa Arathana 5.10AM
Thiruvanathal Deepa Arathana 5.45AM
Vila Pooja 7.00AM
Kalasanthi Pooja 10.00AM
Uchikala Pooja 12.00Noon
Sayaratcha Pooja 6.00PM
Arthajama Pooja 8.30PM
Palliarai Pooja 8.45PM
It is said that there is greatness associated with the ceremonial bath given to the linga by water of the Ganga.