Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva and located on Rameshwaram island in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. “Char Dham” refers to the Rameshwaram, Puri, Badrinath and Dwaraka are the four divine sites in India. Millions of people around the world gather to Rameshwaram every year to visit the holy Sri Ramanathaswamy temple. It is considered the holiest and also the most visited pilgrimage center in all of South India.
Legend of Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple
The legend behind the Ramanathaswamy temple is related to the most famous Indian epic of the Ramayana in which Lord Rama kills King Asura Ravana, who ruled the kingdom of Lanka which is now Sri Lanka. After winning the epic battle in Lanka, Lord Rama, while returning to his kingdom in Ayodhya, wanted to worship Lord Shiva to free himself from his Karma while killing a Brahmana during the War. He asks Hanuman to bring the image of Viswanathar, the Kashi Lingam of Kashi. While Hanuman delayed his search, Goddess Sita, Lord Rama’s consort, made a Shivalinga using sand with her bare hands and did pooja (worship) using it. This Shiv Linga is the Ramanathaswamy Lingam or Rama Lingam worshiped in the Rameswaram Temple. There is another Shiv Linga, the Kashi Lingam brought by Lord Hanuman known as Vishwa Lingam. According to Lord Rama’s instructions, the Vishwa Lingam should be worshiped before the Ramanathaswamy Lingam. This is still practiced in the temple. Inside the temple there is also a shrine for Sethu Madhava and Lakshmi Devi (Goddess). The shrine of the goddess Vishalakshi (Parvathy) is located next to the shrine of Lord Ramanathaswamy.
History and Architecture of Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple
Speaking of its architecture, it is another gateway to the architectural wonders of the Tamil Nadu temples. It hosts the southernmost Jyotirlinga, which is among the 12 holiest Shiva Jyotirlingas in India. However, these 12 Jyotirlingas are considered the most sacred of all and are believed to be the actual representation of Lord Shiva himself.
It is famous for its 4000 pillar corridor, which is believed to be the longest of its kind in the entire world. There are 64 holy temple tanks inside the temple and also around Rameshwaram Island. It is considered a ritual to bath in these “Thirthas” before entering the temple. 22 of these sacred tanks are located within the Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple premises.
The temple is open from 05:00 AM to 01:00 PM and evening 03:00 PM to 09:00 PM.
Pooja timings are as follows:
|POOJA DETAILS||TIMINGS||POOJA DETAILS||TIMINGS||POOJA DETAILS||TIMINGS|
|Palliyarai Deepa Aradhana||5.00 AM||Spadigalinga Deepa Aradhana||5.10 AM||Thiruvananthal Deepa Aradhana||5.45 AM|
|Villa 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 Shivaratri ( February- March)
Maha Shivaratri is the most celebrated festival at Rameswaram Temple. It lasts 10 days and the temple is filled with millions of Shiva devotees all these days.
Thirukalyanam or the divine marriage (July- August)
Thirukalyanam another most auspicious occasion when devotees celebrate as the day when Lord Ramanathaswamy (Shiva) married Goddess Vishalakshi (Parvathy).
The other major festivals celebrated are
Navaratri Festival (September- October)
Vasantholsavam (May- June)
How to reach the temple?
The nearest airport is Madurai International Airport is approximately 150 km away from Rameshwaram. From the airport, one has to hire a taxi or board a Tamil Nadu Government bus to reach the temple.
Frequent trains are available from all major cities to Rameshwaram. The temple is within walking distance from the train station.
There are frequent bus services to Rameshwaram available from all major cities. A 3 km walk from the station will take you to the Ramanathaswamy Temple or take an Auto-Rickshaw.