A pilgrimage to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is incomplete unless it is combined with a visit to Rameshwaram, which is known as the Varanasi of the South. Welcome to the allure that believers identify with a God’s house, regardless of where it is located.
Shri Ram (said with all reverence and humilityholy )’s home is a virtual heaven for the religious. No Hindu’s journey is complete without a pilgrimage to both Varanasi and Rameswaram, where the epic ‘Ramayana’ honors the completion of his quest for salvation. After a 14-year banishment, folklore claims that God Ram returned to this area.
Advaita Vedanta was used by Adi Shankaracharya to spread Hinduism, and the town of Rameshwaram is a testament to his religion. It is one of India’s four pilgrimage sites, and it gently encourages followers of Lord Shiva from all over the world to pay a visit to the Jyotirlinga erected at the Ramanathaswamy Temple at least once in their lives. Vaishnavites are also not left in their dedication to visit this site, which is said to be related to Lord Rama, a Vishnu incarnation.
location of Rameshwaram Temple
The temple comes across the town of Ramanathapuram is located in Tamil Nadu’s Ramanathapuram district and is a portion of Pamban Island, also known as Rameshwaram Island, which is famous for its legendary temple built in the Dravidian style. The Pamban Bridge on the Pamban Channel in the Gulf of Mannar connects the island to the Indian mainland, which is located at the very tip of the Indian peninsula.
It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where Appar, Sundarar, and Tirugnana Sambandar, three of the most respected Nayanars (Saivite saints), have honored the temple with their songs. The temple was expanded by the Pandya Dynasty in the 12th century, and its main shrine’s sanctum was repaired by Jaffna kingdom monarchs Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan and his successor Gunaveera Cinkaiariyan. Among all Hindu temples in India, the temple has the longest corridor. Muthuramalinga Sethupathiy, King Rebel, erected it.
The Rameswaram temple is regarded as a holy pilgrimage site for Shaivites, Vaishnavites, and Smarthas. Rama erected and worshipped the presiding god, the Lingam of Ramanathaswamy (Shiva), before crossing his bridge to the present-day island of Sri Lanka, according to mythological tales.
Structure and Architecture of Rameshwaram Temple
The Rameswaram temple, also known as the Ramanathaswamy temple, is dedicated to Shiva, the Hindu god. The temple, which stands within a structure enclosed by a high compound wall or ThiruMathil on all four sides, is stretched across an area of 15 acres and was erected in the Dravidian style of architecture. Inside the shrine, there are remarkable lengthy hallways that are 5 feet high.
The Rameshwaram temple is primarily dedicated to Ramanathaswamy or Shiva, and the deity is represented by a lingam. The temple’s sanctum contains two Lingams: one made with sand by Sita and known as Ramalingam, and another known as Vishwalingam, which Hanuman brought from Kailash.
Sandstone was used to construct the second corridor’s beams, pillars, and ceiling. With 1212 pillars, the third corridor, also known as ChokkatanMandapam, is the world’s largest temple hallway, with each column measuring 30 feet. It looks like a massive chessboard. The deities known as Utsava can be found here. There are two gopurams, one on the east side and the other on the west side. The one on the east side stands 78 feet tall and has five layers. The one in the west, known as Rajagopuram, is 126 feet tall and has nine layers. The majority of the material used in the temple’s renovation was granite. According to ancient documents dating back to 1414 CE, granite stones were delivered to this island.
The massive Nandi Statue, also known as the Nandi Mandapam, stands 17 feet tall and 12 feet broad and is made of limestone, bricks, and sea shells. Each of the temple’s pillars has elaborate sculptures. These pillars are exceedingly sturdy and serve as the temple’s foundation. On a raised platform, the pillars are erected. The Nayak style of architecture was used to build the pillars. The corridors have a total length of 3850 feet and are divided into three sections.
There is a platform on which the carved granite walls are built. If one tries to look at the pillars from one end to the other it converges into one single dot. This feature exemplifies the advanced architectural designs of the Tamil Kings. There are four fortifications that encompass the temple giving it a rectangular shape. There are four entries to the temple from each doorway or gopura which is pyramidal in shape. In the mandaps of the temple premises, there are other minor shrines for different deities. There are 22 wells that are supposed to offer therapeutic properties, each with its own temperature, salinity, and flavor. The temple may be seen from the GandhamadhanaParvatam (hill). Several kingdoms have supported this temple, including Travancore, Ramanathapuram, Mysore, and Pudukkottai.
Ramanathaswamy and his wife goddess Parvathavardhini have two shrines separated by a passageway. The goddess Vishalakshi, the Utsava pictures, Sayanagriha, Vishnu, and Ganesha each have their own shrine. Anuppu Mandapam, Sukravara Mandapam, Setupati Mandapam, Kalyana Mandapam, and Nandi Mandapam are among the temple’s halls.
Tales of Legends
According to the tamasic puranas, Rama, who is All-pervading Vishnu, glorified Lord Shiva to forgive him for murdering a Brahmin during the war against the Rakshasa king Ravana (who was a brahmin, son of a vedic rishi) in Sri Lanka. Sriman Narayana has stated in the Mahabharata that he frequently celebrates hus devotees. As a result, in Rameshwaram, Sriman Narayana as Shri Ram honored Lord Shiva in order for people to receive boons for worshipping Shiva. According to the Bhagavat Maha Purana (:), Lord Shiva is known as the biggest devotee and the greatest vaishnava. So Sriman Narayana built a shiva lingam so that Lord Shiva may be blessed, because where Rama built the shiva linga was a perfect site for Lord Shiva to contemplate Prabhu Rama, and the place was blessed by the lotus feet of Prabhu Rama. However, according to the Valmiki Ramayana, Prabhu Rama did not install Shiva Lingam in Rameshwaram. So Rameshwaram is the spot where Rama’s lotus feet blessed the place, and Lord Shiva holds it dear so that he might concentrate on his controller and inner self Rama.