The Ramnathswamy Temple is located on the island of Rameshwaram off the Sethu coast of Tamil Nadu. This temple is part of the Char Dham Yatra which every Hindu aspires to complete at least once in his life time. The Char Dham Yatra starts with the Jagganath Temple at Puri (Odisha) and then moving clockwise covers Ramnathswamy Temple in Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu), Dwarakadheesh Temple (Gujarat) and ends in Badrinath (Uttarakhand). It is also a part of the 12 Jyotirlingas and is the southernmost of all the Jyotirlingas.
In the Hindu epic Ramayana, Ram wanted to worship Shiva while returning home from Lanka in order to absolve any sins he might have incurred during the war. He sent Hanuman to get a Shivalinga from Kashi. But when Hanuman took longer than expected to return Sita built a Shivalinga out of sand and Ram is said to have worshipped this Shivalinga which came to be known as Ramalingam. The Shivalinga which Hanuman got from Kashi was also installed there and came to be known as Vishwalingam. Ram instructed that the Vishwalingam should be worshipped first as it was brought by Hanuman – this tradition is continued even today. Another story also suggests that the Ramalingam was built by Ram before building the bridge to Lanka in order to seek the blessings of Shiva.
Like all ancient temples in South India there is a high compound wall on all four sides of the temple premises. The outer set of corridors of the temple is the longest in the world measuring 6.9m in height. The main tower or Rajgopuram is 53m tall. In olden times the temple was a small, simple structure. The current structure is the work of many individuals spread over centuries. Inside the temple there are separate shrines for Ramanathswamy and his consort Goddess Parvathavardhini separated by a corridor. There are separate shrines for Goddess Vishalakshi, the utsav murtis, sayanagriha, Vishnu and Ganesha. There are also 64 water teerthas (holy water bodies) around the island of Rameshwaram, out of which 24 are important according to Skanda Puran. Bathing in these teerthas is a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameshwaram and is considered equivalent to a penance. It is said that every devotee must bath in these teertha before going for darshan inside the temple. In Rameshwaram, Mahashivratri is a major festival which is celebrated for 10 days with rituals and processions. Rathas of Shiva and Parvati are pulled along the streets of Rameshwaram where they are worshipped by their devotees.
The nearest airport to Rameshwaram is at Madurai (174kms) and flights from most major Indian cities halt here. The Rameshwaram railway station is a major railhead and the city is also well connected by roadways. Rameshwaram can be visited in a week-long trip along with Madurai, Ooty, Kodaikanal. If you have more days you can also add a visit to Kerala to your Rameshwaram itinerary. It is also closest to India’s neighbour Sri Lanka.
For bookings call or contact us!