Nesting in the holy island of Rameswaram, Ramanathaswamy Temple Devasthanam has Lord Shiva as the principal deity. This island sits between peninsular India and Sri Lanka. It’s located in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu and is the main pilgrimage centre of Rameswaram.
Ramanathaswamy Temple is a famous Jyotirlinga temple and also a Paadal Petra Sthalam. Hence, the glory of the temple finds a place in the hymns of the Nayanars, Appar, Sundarar and Tirugnana Sambandar. The city of Rameswaram is a prime holy spot for Shaivites, Vaishnavites, and Smarthas.
The Legend of Ramanathaswamy Temple
Devotees believe that the lingam at the temple was established by Lord Rama. In fact, it was setup to free himself of the sins of the Ramayana War. The war was against Ravana at Sri Lanka. Lord Rama had to request Lord Hanuman to bring a large lingam from the Himalayas. However, due to the delay in return of Hanuman, Sita made a small lingam from the sand that legends believe to be the one in the sanctum.
The temple traces back to the 12th century of the Pandya Dynasty. Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan and Gunaveera Cinkaiariyan of the Jaffna kingdom renovated the sanctum. Hence, Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan transported stone blocks from the Koneswaram temple. However, another legend states that the temple was built during the 17th century. Ramanathaswamy Temple history also states that Pradani Muthirulappa Pillai and Parakrama Bahu from Sri Lanka made generous contributions to the construction.
The Magnificent Architecture
Ramanathaswamy Temple is a stunning piece of architecture. It has one of the longest compound walls amongst all temples in India. This wall measures 865 feet east to west. It also measures 657 feet from north to south. Besides, it also has one of the longest corridors measuring up to 3,850 feet. Head to the outer corridor and let the 1,212 masterfully sculptured pillars stun you. These pillars are 30 feet high. Additionally, the main tower is 53 meters tall.
A corridor features sandstone pillars with beams. You can also find the pattern of a chess board in the third corridor. This route leads devotees from the west gopuram to the Setumadhava shrine.
A Record by any standards
The outer corridors measure a stunning 6.9 meters in height. It also measures 400 feet from east to west. Besides, it measures 640 feet from north to south. Additionally, the pillars feature exceptional carvings.
The temple was a thatched hut during its establishment. However, The current structure is the efforts and the work of several prominent individuals spanning many centuries.
Apart from the main shrines of Ramanathaswamy and his consort, there are separate shrines for other deities, including Vishnu and Ganesha.
Famous Halls in the Temple
Ramanathaswamy Temple Rameswaram also has some well-known halls, namely:
- Anuppu Mandapam
- Sukravara Mandapam
- Setupati Mandapam
- Kalyana Mandapam
- Nandi Mandapam
Rameshwaram has around 64 holy water bodies called tirthas. Among these, 24 tirthas are within this temple alone. Your pilgrimage to this temple is never complete without bathing in these tirthas. Besides, bathing in these tirthas is equivalent to penance.
Among the four Char Dham sites, Ramanathaswamy Temple Devasthanam is one. It’s one of the holiest spots for Hindus in the country. It’s one of the most significant places in the south and is a must visit for Hindus at least once in their lifetime.
This is a pillar of light coming from Shiva while Brahma and Vishnu were fighting over supremacy. After splitting their ways, Brahma found the end of the light defeating Vishnu. A second pillar of light by Shiva cursed Brahma for this. Jyotirlinga is the highest and partless reality forming a a fiery column of light.
The significance is further known through the chatrams built between Mayiladuthurai and Rameswaram. These were built by the Maratha Kings ruling Thanjavur between 1745 and 1837 CE.
Timings and Pooja
Ramanathaswamy Temple timing is from 5:00 AM to 8:45 PM. Devotees can attend the Palliyarai Deepa
You can take a flight to Madurai Airport and catch a bus. You can also rent a taxi from there. Rameswaram is also reachable from major places of the country by road. Additionally, the Rameshwaram railway station directly connects to major cities and towns in the South.
Include this temple in your Rameshwaram itinerary and the experience will leave you in a profound bliss. If there is anything worth experiencing through travel, it should be this temple. The Ramanathaswamy Temple images for sure will remain etched in your memories forever.