Rameshwaram temple Jyotirlinga, Is located on Rameswaram Island in Tamil Nadu,. This pristine island temple is famous for its unique architectural marvels and the “Setu” bridge associated with Lord Rama. It is believed that Lord Rama after building the setu along with the mighty Vanaras, made a Shiva Linga in the sand on the banks of the Indian Ocean to take his blessings to come out victorious in the fight against Ravana. According to Valmiki Ramayana, after the victory over Lanka, Lord Rama ordered hanuman to bring the Shiva Linga from Varanasi, Since Bharata would walk in the fire if it would be late, Sita built the Shiva Linga with sand and clay.
Rameshwaram means “Lord of Lord Rama”
रामस्य ईश्वरः इति रामेश्वरः means जो राम का इश्वर है वही रमेश्वर है |
Where is Rameshwaram Temple located
Ramanathaswamy temple or the Rameshwaram temple Jyotirlinga is located on Rameshwaram Island in Tamil Nadu, which is at the southern tip of India. Rameswaram Island is known for its serene beaches and the famous Pamban Bridge, a marvel of engineering. The island is perfect for those who love both natural beauty and history. Rameshwar Temple exhibits Dravidian architecture with ornate pillars and a grand gopuram. The temple is known for its unique corridor. The temple’s history is linked to the mythological tale of Lord Rama, with various dynasties contributing to its construction.
Rameshwaram Temple story and Legend
One variation of the legend of Rameshwaram temple Jyotirlinga states that when Samudra dev advised Lord Rama to construct a bridge from the southern coast of India to the island of Lanka for the entire army of Vanaras to reach Lanka and fight the Rakshasa Ravana and free Devi Sita. Lord Rama created a form of Shiva linga with sand and mud from the banks of the ocean to pray to Lord Shiva before fighting Ravana, who was not only a revered Brahmin but also a supreme devotee of Lord Shiva.
However, another variation of the story states that after Lord Rama and the Vanara army defeated Ravana, they started to return to Ayodhya along with Devi Sita. However, Lord Rama and his army decided to worship Lord Shiva to atone for the sin of Killing Ravana, a revered Brahmana and supreme devotee of Lord Shiva. Hence, Lord Rama sent Lord Hanuman to Kailasha to bring a Shiva Linga so that he could worship it.
However, Hanumana was taking time to get the Shiva Linga. And everybody was in an extreme hurry as the 14 years of exile were about to end. And if Lord Rama could take longer than 14 years to reach Ayodhya, his brother Bharata would walk to fire.
A restless Devi Sita then creates a Shiva linga with the sand and clay from the banks of the ocean to start the worship. Soon, Lord Hanuman came with the Shivlinga only to see Lord Rama had already begun the prayers on the Shiva Linga made of clay. However, to make sure the Hanuman wouldn’t feel bad, Lord Rama also installed the Shivlinga brought by Hanuman.
The Shiva Linga that Devi Sita had made out of sand and clay was called Ramalinga or Ramanathaswamy. The Shiva Linga that Hanuman brought was named the Vishwa Linga. And till today, Vishwa Linga is always worshipped before worshipping Rama Linga in the Rameshwaram temple jyotirlinga.
Lord Rama then constructed the temple around that region in the southern tip of India, today called the Rameshwaram Temple Jyotirlinga.
History of Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga
- The Rameshwaram temple Jyotirlinga has its current form dates back to the 17th century, with a small vimana in the west corridor believed to be from the 11th or 12th century.
- King Kizhavan Sethupathi or Raghunatha Kilavan sanctioned the construction.
- The Jaffna kings of the Pandya Dynasty made significant contributions to the temple’s development.
- King Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan (1380–1410 CE) transported stone blocks from Koneswaram temple in Trincomalee to renovate the sanctum sanctorum.
- Gunaveera Cinkaiariyan (Pararacacekaran V), a trustee at Rameswaram, oversaw structural development and promoted Saivite beliefs, donating part of his revenue to Koneswaram.
- Pradani Muthirulappa Pillai spent substantial sums to restore the Pagodas and complete the Chockattan Mantapam.
- Sri Lankan rulers like Parakrama Bahu and Nissanka Malla contributed to the temple’s construction and development.
- Pappakudi village was granted to Rameshwaram Temple in 1667 CE by Perumal Servaikaran, a local chieftain under Tirumalai Regunatha Sethupathy Thevar.
- Anandur and Urasur villages were also donated to the temple, falling under the Melaimakani Seermai province of the Radhanallur Division.
- Maratha kings ruling Thanjavur established rest houses in Mayiladuthurai and Rameswaram between 1745 and 1837 CE, which they donated to the Rameshwaram temple jyotirlinga as chatrams.
How to reach the Rameshwaram temple Jyotirlinga
Reaching Rameshwaram Temple Jyotirlinga involves travelling to Rameswaram, a town located on an island in the southern part of India. Here are the common ways to reach Rameshwaram Temple:
- By Air:
- The nearest airport is the Madurai Airport (Madurai being the closest major city), which is approximately 163 kilometers (about 101 miles) away from Rameswaram.
- From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Rameswaram.
- By Train:
- Rameswaram has its own railway station, Rameswaram Railway Station (Station Code: RMM). It is well-connected to various cities in South India, including Chennai, Madurai, and Coimbatore.
- You can check the train schedule and book tickets in advance.
- By Ferry (from nearby locations):
- If you are visiting from places like Dhanushkodi, there are ferry services available. The journey is short and offers a unique experience.
Some Interesting facts about Rameshwaram temple Jyotirlinga
- Longest Corridor: The temple boasts the longest temple corridor in the world. The stunning corridor stretches for about 197 meters with a total of 1212 intricately carved pillars.
- Floating Stones: The temple’s architecture includes a set of 22 underwater wells in a structure known as “Theertham.” The water in these wells is said to be extremely pure, and some of the stones placed in them are believed to be naturally floating, defying the laws of buoyancy.
- Ramar Patham: There’s a place near the temple called “Ramar Patham,” which is believed to have the footprints of Lord Rama imprinted on a chakra-shaped stone.
- Ablution Ceremony: The temple’s Agni Theertham tank is considered sacred, and devotees believe that taking a dip in its waters washes away their sins. It is customary for pilgrims to perform ablution (ritual bathing) here before entering the temple.
- Official website: Tamil Nadu govt. tourism portal