Rameshwaram Temple

By Sanjeev Nayyar Sanjeev@esamskriti.com | 2016

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We reached Rameshwaram at about 7 pm, checked into a good hotel (Rs 800/ per day for non a/c). This trip was in 2016, last went there in 1980. Many more shops, people and hotels. Temple has 4 gopurams in 4 directions, u see 3 in pic. Rising sun rays on main gopuram. This is the Sri RAMANATHASWAMI MANDIR. According to tradition, "the Lingam here was installed by Shri Ram, since he wanted to absolve himself of the sin of vanquishing Ravana."

We present 3 pics of gopuram. 1st rising sun, this about 9 am and in dark. "Ram sent Hanuman to Mount Kailash to fetch the Lingam. Since Hanuman was late, Sita made a lingam out of sand. This was installed as Ramalingam and worship over. Meanwhile Hanuman rushed with Lingam and was disappointed to find another lingam in place. To pacify Hanuman, Ram had the Hanumath Lingam (Viswa Lingam) installed alongside and ordered that pujas be first performed for the Viswa Lingam). Special Pooja is performed to the Spatikalingam (crystal lingam) installed by Adi Sankara."

Shiva Parvati image in the form of lights on gopuram. The temple has 22 theerthas (Holy springs) that are believed to have medicinal properties. When I went in 1980 u could take a dip in the theerthas but now it is fenced, a person puts a tumbler into the water and then throws it on all present. " 22 Holy theertham [wells] are in the temple, It is believed that number of wells denotes 22 arrows in Rama''s quiver."

Enroute to Rameshwaram, saw villagers dancing celebrating Pongal so stopped by. Devotees used lights to create this super form of Ganesha. Saw this style in many places in Tamil Nadu.

Village girls dancing. Wearing skirts, ghungroos, brass bowl on head etc. Enjoying themselves and villagers too, to some hummable music.

Met this 95 year old from Nagaur district Rajasthan. He could barely walk yet saw the determination in his eyes. Young boy with him is caretaker. A whole train of devotees had come from Rajasthan. There is a Maheshwari Dharamshala where get typical Rajasthani food. I had and loved it.

Gopuram north side. Rameshwaram is one of the 12 Jyotirlings. "It is said that Shri Ram worshipped Shivji on his return from Lanka after killing Ravana. So this island is sacred to both Saivites and Vaishnavites.". Rameshwaram is 162 kms from Madurai and 570 kms from Chennai. Lots of good hotels to stay at various price points.

This road takes you to the sea i.e. just 2 minutes away, in front is main gopuram. "The temple has striking long corridors in its interior, running between huge colonnades on platforms above five feet high."

This is AGNI Theertham where piligrims bath before going to temple for darshan. The water of this place is considered sacred and known as Agnitheertham.

It is a long beach. Lady drying sari after taking holy dip. "The three most revered nayanmars [saivite saints] Thirunavukkarasar, Sundarar and Gnanasambandar have glorified Ramanathasamy with their songs."

Family from Nepal. Saw many Nepalis in Rameshwaram. They invited me to Pashupatinath Mandir Kathmandu. I walked into temple from west side, had water from some theerthams and then stood in line for darshan. For a nominal fee there is a special line. However, those who stand in the normal line get darshan of the lingam for longer time. After darshan sat in the corridor and chanted for a while. Felt really nice and blessed.

A close up of the main gopuram. "The Ramanathaswamy temple is renowned for its magnificent corridors and massive sculptured pillars. The third corridor of the temple is the longest one in the world."

Close up of gopuram at night with Shiva Parvati light design clearly visible. Right of pic is north side gopuram.

From a bldg terrace took this pic. 3 gopurams east, south and north. "ALAR family of Devakottai completed the imposing nine tier, 126 feet Eastern tower in the year 1904."

South side facing gopuram with main gopuram on right of pic.

Close up of south side gopuram. Note Kirti Mukha (animal face) on top of gopuram on both sides. It is meant to ward away evil and found in temples all over India.

Japanese tourists enjoying chai - tea. There are many places in and around Rameshwaram that are connected with Ramayana. We present that album separately.

Images of Ganesha and I think Murugan (because of peacock) being taken in procession just outside temple.

Entrance to temple - no cameras allowed not even cell phone. To see pics of temple clicked years ago Click here

Shop selling products made of SHELL, located outside western temple entrance. Name Baskaran number 91 9965960874. Loved items on sale, very good person too.

Side view of main gopuram and street opposite it. Lots of devotees, shops serving idli-dosa-coffee. Loved South Indian Filter coffee. In many road side places they serve Bru Coffee and not filter coffee.

Gopuram western side.

Entrance western side. "Internationally famous Third Corridor/ Court is almost 23 ft high, running East-West 690 feet; North-South 435 feet and the inner wing - running East-West 649 feet and North –South -395 feet. There are 1212 Pillars in these corridors."

Early morning front view. Images in front centre Shiva Parvati, left Ganesha right Murugan.

Same pic at 9 am. This gopuram is majestic, could not get my eyes off it.

Guru Nanak went from Rameshwaram to Sri Lanka from here so Gurudwara made here. Since it was Pongal weekend had lots of devotees. Langar food on Pongal day was wow.

Many places saw devotees being served free prasad like what you see.

Large group from Maharashtra. All around temple is a paved road like what u see - clean.

Board at beach that gives list of important places. Also see Ghanthamathana Parvatham 2kms way - Ramas Padam (feet) placed on a chakra for worship. Kothandaramarswami Temple 7kms away. According to tradition Vibhishana surrendered to Sri Ram at this place. Dhanushkodi island 18 kms away, we present pics separately.

Puja being conducted at Agni Theertham ie near sea. 16kms before Rameshwaram is Devipatnam where Sri Rama installed 9 stones in the sea to worship Navagraha (9 planets). 33 kms before is a ancient temple called Veyil Ugantha Vinayaka where Sri Ram first worshipped Vinayaka before his journey to Lanka. 18 kms is Uthirakosamangai is a Shiva mandir. 14 kms before is Thirupullani a Vishnu temple. Sri Ram is said to have worshipped the deity and secured bow to fight with Ravana.

This old building is a dharamshala by Rai Bahadur Bansilal Abirchand of Bikaner Rajasthan. Obviously Rameshwaram attracts lots of devotees from Rajasthan hence this dharamshala. At Vishnu temple it is believed that "Sri Ram lay on Dharba (grass) bed for 7 days in order to invoke the sea god for safe passage to Lanka".

Opposite west side gopuram is this shop selling pani puris. U see a young pandit local boy enjoying - he told me has very often, loves it. I too had and enjoyed. Found North Indian food easily available here. In places like Kumbakonam and Madurai restaurants had North Indian dishes in the menu.

North gopuram lit with Ganesha. To know all about the temple Click here

This bhojnalaya serves good Rajasthani food.

Near Agni Theertham is where pilgrims shave off their head.

Form of Mata - near north side gopuram. Felt very much at peace and a surge of happiness from within after visiting Rameshwaram. Saw many middle aged men and women with their aged parents, got them for darshan. Wish I had brought my Mother here as well.

This shop sells rudraksh etc. Hope to visit Rameshwaram again.

Ceiling inside Maratha Durbar. To see pics of Durbar Click here

Train on Pamban bridge that brings devotees to Rameshwaram. Click here

On possibily day 4 of yatra met this young man from Durgapur, Rahul Ghosh. He had come to Chennai for exams and was then travelling around when I met. I asked him to join me for rest of the yatra, it was a pleasure having him although dealing with a 22 year old did get difficult at times. He bought a tamil style dhoti which u see him in. Overall we had a great trip.

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