(Last Updated on : 14/08/2010)
This major pilgrim centre in South India is closely associated with Ramayana
. It is also the seat of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. The pilgrims generally consider their visit to Kashi incomplete unless they visit Rameswaram also and perform 'abhisheka' for Sri Ramanatha with Ganga
water. The temple, situated on an island in the Gulf of Mannar
, reflects divinity and serenity. It is a massive structure having a majestic gopuram and a 1200 metre long corridor, the longest of such temple corridors in India. This pilgrimage center is accessible from Madurai
The temples here are as follows
Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple
: According to a legend, the Lingam at this temple was installed by Sri Rama. On His return after the battle of Lanka, Rama wanted to install the Lingam to absolve Himself of the sin of vanquishing Ravana. Rama sent Hanuman to Mount Kailash
to fetch the Lingam. Since Hanuman
was late, Sita made a Lingam out of sand. This was installed as Rama Lingam and the worship was over.
Meanwhile, Hanuman rushed in with the Lingam from Kailash. He was disappointed to find another Lingam already in place. To pacify Hanuman, Rama had the Hanumath Lingam (Viswa Lingam) also installed alongside and ordered that the puja be first performed for the Viswa Lingam. That tradition is being followed even today.
The shrine of Parvathavardhini, consort of Sri Ramanatha, is to the right of Rama Lingam. A Sri Chakra can be seen here. There is a separate Vishnu
shrine dedicated to Sethu Madhava. There are shrines for Pallikonda Perumal, Santhana Ganapati, Ashta Lakshmi, Nataraja
The pilgrimage at Rameswaram begins with a holy dip at the Agni Theertham followed by a bath at 22 other Theerthams, mostly wells situated within the precincts of the temple. It concludes at Kodi Theertham Danushkodi.
: It is situated about 2.5 km west of Sri Ramanathaswamy temple. This two-storied Mandapam is on a small hillock. Sri Rama Paadam is enshrined here. From the top of the hill one can have a panoramic view of the entire island.
: It is situated at Dhanushkodi. According to a legend, Vibhishana, brother of Ravana, surrendered to Rama at this spot. The idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman
and Vibhishana are installed here.
: To reach Sethu Theertham at Dhanushkodi, one has to walk 3 km along the shores. A dip in Sethu is considered very holy New Moon days in Adi (Aug-Sept) and Thai (Jan-Feb) are auspicious and many pilgrims perform 'Shraadh' for their ancestors.
Major festivals celebrated at these temples in Rameswaram include Shivaratri
, Vasant Utsav, Ramalinga Pratishta Utsav, the Divine Wedding, Navaratri, Skanda Shashti and Krudra Darshan.