Placed atop the Indian isthmus on the Pamban Island, the Rameshwaram Temple is one of the twelve ‘Jyotirlingas’ and a famous Hindu holy pilgrimage in India. Spread across 15 acres, this very shrine is comprised of a main deity in the shape of a ‘linga’ called Sri Ramanatha Swamy, which is a confluence of Vaishnavism and Shiaivism and is a significant hallmark of different architectural styles belonging to different eras of the various kingdoms that have supported it. Another major attraction of this temple is ‘theerthams’ – it is believed that if anybody wants to remove his/ her sins and worldly sufferings, then a dip in this natural holy water is a must.
According to the Indian mythology, Rameshwaram is as old as the epic saga, Ramayana. It is said that in this place Rama made a ‘lingam’ to worship Lord Shiva to defeat Ravana. According to the religious text, the Puranas, Lord Rama was asked by a sage to establish a ‘shivalinga’ to be free from the sins of killing Ravana, the son of a Brahmin. Lord Anjaneya was sent away to bring a lingam from Kailas mountains but did not return on time. So, Sita made the lingam with sand and installed the ‘ramalinga’. On his return from the mountains, Anjaneya was disappointed. Hence, Lord Rama ordered that the ‘visvalingam’ that Anjaneya bought back should also be set up.
According to historians, the outer shell of the temple traces back to the 12th century. The shrine was poorly protected by a hovel first and later, Parakrama Bahu, the King of Sri Lanka attempted in building a sturdier structure around the idol. This was completed by the Setupathy rulers who belong to Ramanathapuram.
Apart from the Rameshwaram Temple, there are 22 other ‘theerthams’ in the vicinity. The gopurams are located in a 4000ft long passage with intricately carved sculptured pillars that are considered the highlight of the place. The embellishments speak of the Pallava, Travancore, Ramanathapuram, Mysore and Pudukkottai Kingdom influences.
Bhrammotsavams, which happens typically in the month of June/ July, is the best time to visit to this temple where the entire shrine is engrossed by religious tourists in an enchanted festive aura.
HOW TO VISIT
By Air: The closest airport is located in Madurai, which is 163 km away from the city. From the airport, it is easy to get any public transport to reach this destination.
By Train: There are innumerable trains connecting to the city. Regular trains commute from Rameshawarm to Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy and Thanjavur.
By Road: The city is broadly connected the southern parts of the sub-continent. Madurai, Kanyakumari, Chennai, Trichy, Pondicherry and Thanjavur are some of the closest cities from where you could reach Rameshwaram.