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Rameshwaram Temple in TamilNadu

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.

The temple and the island of Rameswaram have acquired this name because, Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva, the God of Gods here on return from Sri Lanka. According to legend, after killing Ravana Lord Rama returned with his consort Goddess Seetha to India first stepping on the shores of Rameswaram. To expiate the "dosha" of killing a brahmin, Lord Rama wanted to offer worship to Lord Shiva. Since there was no shrine in the island had despatched Sri Hauman to Kailash to bring an idol of Lord Shiva. Between 1897 and 1904, the ALAR family of Devakottai completed the imposing eastern tower of nine tiers 126 feet in height from Thiruppani funds. Between 1907 and 1925 they renovated the Sanctum Sanctorum and the prakaram(inner most corridor) by replacing the lime stones by black granite with adequate provision for light and ventilation and also arranged for the performance of Ashtabandana Kumbabishekam in 1925; then on 22-2-1947 and the third Ashtabandana Maha Kumbabishegam was performed on 5-2-1975.

Legend Behind Rameshwaram Temple

According to a popular legend, it was Lord Rama who installed this Linga here. Story goes that when Lord Ram was on his way to attack Ravana, he reached this place where he made a linga of sand and worshipped it. It is said that when Lord Rama was drinking water on the seashore there was a celestial proclamation - "You are drinking water without worshipping me". 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 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 also quite impressive though not as tall as the Eastern one. 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.

Significance Of Rameshwaram Temple

Those who go to Rameshwar and seeks my blessings, shall always reside in Shivloka.