(Last Updated on : 16/09/2010)
Lord Rama installed the Lingam in this place. The other pilgrimage point in this island of Rameswaram is Dhanuskodi that is also called 'Sethu'. It is considered meritorious to take a dip in the sea off the coast of Dhanushkodi.
The temple was originally a thatched hut looked after by a 'sadhu'. Over the centuries many have added to the structure. King Parakramabahu, King of Sri Lanka, constructed the sanctum around Sri Ramanathaswamy, Sri Viswanathar and Sri Visalakshi in the 12th century. The temple has three prakarams. The outer prakaram is flanked by a continuous platform with number of pillars, each adorned with sculptures. The longest corridors are the north and south corridors, which present a vista of the receding columns. The western tower is 78ft high and the eastern tower is 126ft and has nine tiers. The nandi is imposing and lies to the front of the 'moolasthanam'. The sanctum contains a lingam installed by Lord Rama himself. While on the north is the sanctum of Lord Visvanathar brought by Hanuman from Mount Kailash. There are other shrines and 22 'theerthams' (source of sacred water) within the precinct of the temple.
Sita was released from Ravana's prison. Rama and Sita returned to the island of Rameswaram, on their way back to Ayodya. The sages and 'rishis' assembled in Remeswaram to receive Rama and his consort. They advised him that he had killed Ravana, a brahmin, and should atone for his sin of 'brahmahastya' by performing a purificatory rite in front of a Lingam. Rama asked Hanuman to obtain one from Lord Shiva himself. Hanuman went to Mount Kailash and sat in prayer to Lord Shiva requesting a Sivalingam. Days passed and Hanuman had not returned. As the auspicious time was approaching Sita moulded a Sivalingam out of sand and Rama performed his purificatory rite in front of this Lingam. Later Hanuman arrived with his Lingam lord Rama seeing his dejection told him to throw away the lingam made out of sand and to install the one given to him by Shiva. Hanuman then tried to lift the Sivalingam already installed but could not move it. So Rama advised him to install his near the one already there and asked his followers to worship the hanuman lingam first before the one installed by him.