Rameshwaram (Chennai to Rameswaram 572 km / Madurai to Rameshwaram 160 km) is an island situated on the tip of the Indian peninsula, is a major pilgrim centre. The city is also an important south India pilgrimage center of the Indians. Rameswaram is a holy place because Sri Rama, on his return from Sri Lanka, offered his thanks to Lord Shiva and performed pooja to wash away his sin in killing the Demon King, Ravana. Both the Vaishnavites and Shaivites visit this pilgrimage city. It is connected to the mainland by road and railway bridges.
Rameshwaram Temple is situated in the island of Rameswaram, off the Sethu coast of Tamil Nadu and is reached via the Pamban Bridge across the sea. The huge temple is known for its long ornate corridors, towers and 36 theerthams. Rameshwaram is significant for the Hindus. The presiding deity is the Linga Of Sri Ranganatha, which happens to be one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India. Rameshwaram is popularly referred as the "Benaras of the South". In order to attain Moksha it is believed that a visit to Rameshwaram is mandatory. In fact the entire area of Rameshwaram is associated with various incidents from the Ramayana. The city of Rameshwaram happens to be one of the most visited pilgrim sites in India.
Ramanathaswamy Temple Rameshwaram
The Ramanathaswamy Temple, which was built in the 17th century and is situated close to the sea on the eastern side of the island; this temple is famous for its 1200 gigantic granite columns. At a distance of about 100 meters comes the Agnitheertham, where Rama worshipped Lord Shiva, to absolve himself from the killing Ravana.
The famous Ramanathaswamy Temple is regarded as one of the most sacred shrines of Hindus in India. It is an honored pilgrimage destination, which represents the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlingams of India. It is considered as holy as Banaras. This famous Hindu temple situated on the Rameshwaram island is located off the Sethu coast of Tamil Nadu. This huge temple on the island of Rameswaram can be reached via the Pamban bridge across the sea, it is famous for its long ornate corridors, towers and remarkable 36 Theerthams.
Another shrine called Gandamadana Parvatham is worth visiting. This shrine is found at 2kms away from Rameshwaram. A place called Dhanushkodi named after Rama's bow is at the eastern end of the island at a distance of 8 kms from Rameshwaram.
As per Ramayana, Lord Rama himself installed the Siva-lingam at this place thus lending added importance to it and this holy place is thus held in high esteem by both Vaishnavites and Saivites.
It is said that the ancient shrine was placed in a thatched hut until the 12th century. Parakrama Bahu of Sri Lanka built the first ever masonry structure here. The Setupathy rulers of Ramanathapuram completed the rest of the temple. Some of the temple vimaanams are similar to the Vimaanams of the Pallava period. Much more was added to the temple between the 12th and the 16th centuries. The long corridor (3rd prakaram) dates back only to the 18th century. The Gandhamadhana Parvatam (hill) offers a panoramic view of the temple. Travancore, Ramanathapuram, Mysore and Pudukkottai kingdoms provided royal patronage to this famous Hindu temple.
Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple Architecture
The temple is sprawled over an area of 15 acres. It has huge gopurams, monolithic walls and a stupendous Nandi. There is a 4000 feet long pillar corridor with over 4000 pillars, considered the longest in the world. A unique feature about this corridor is that the rock used here is not found on the native island, it was brought in from elsewhere in Tamilnadu across the sea. The eastern Rajagopuram has a height of 126 feet and has nine levels whereas the western Rajagopuram is not as tall as the eastern one. The huge image of Nandi is about 18 feet tall and 22 feet in length.
Ramanathaswamy Temple Corridors
The Ramanathaswamy temple is renowned for its magnificent corridors and massive sculptured pillars. The other striking feature of this temple is that the corridors are said to be the longest in the world. The outer wing of the corridor measures 690 ft in the east-west direction and 435 ft in the north-south direction.
There are a total number of 1212 pillars or columns each sculptured to a similar profile and these frame the corridor on either side. The height of this corridor is 22 ft and when viewed from the corner where the north or south side corridors meet the west or east side corridors, the sight is breathtaking.
Theertham (Water Springs)
There almost 36 Theerthams here out of which 22 are in the temple. The water of these Theerthams are said to be therapeutic. A bath in these is regarded significant. The Agni Theertham refers to the ocean while the Koti theertham is located within the temple itself.
Other Interesting Places to Visit in Rameshwaram
Besides pilgrimage, Rameswaram Island has several places, which are ideal picnic spots. There are beautiful beaches at Olaikuda, Dhanushkodi and Pamban. The Olaikuda beach is 1 km from the main temple and s engulfed by coral reefs, which makes bathing in the sea safe and enjoyable.
Rameshwaram Pamban Bridge
The Pamban Bridge is a cantilever bridge on the Palk Strait connects Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India. It refers to both the road bridge and the cantilever railway bridge, though primarily it means the latter. It was India's first sea bridge. It is the second longest sea bridge in India (after Bandra-Worli Sea Link) at a length of about 2.3 km.
Dhanushkodi is the easternmost tip of the island. Legend has it that Lord Rama struck the bridge that he had built to Lanka at this place with the tip of His bow. Most of this spot is occupied by the sea during tropical cyclones. Thus the bridge was broken.
How to Reach Rameshwaram?
Rameshwaram by Train : Rameshwaram (Mandapam station just 2 km away) is well connected by rail with many south Indian cities including Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Thanjavur and Trichy.
Rameshwaram by Air : The nearest airport is at Madurai (167 km), which is linked to major cities in the country by domestic airlines.
Rameshwaram by Bus : Tamil Nadu Transport Corporation buses connect Rameshwaram with all cities in Tamil Nadu, including Kanyakumari, Madurai, Trichy and Thanjavur. Overnight deluxe buses connect Chennai and Bangalore with Rameshwaram
Rameshwaram Photo Gallery
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