Call it fate, the hand of a higher being, God or even destiny, but there is something quite fascinating about the Kothandaramaswamy Temple, not because it is a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Rama, but because it is the only historical structure in Dhanushkodi that survived the cyclone of 1964 that washed away almost everything.
Location of Kothandaramaswamy Temple
Situated at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, the Kothandaramaswamy Temple is at a short distance of 12 km from the main city. Surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Mannar, this temple forms the southernmost region of the island. It is smack in the middle of nature’s lap and its natural beauty and serenity is what makes it an important tourist attraction for people visiting South India.
The History Behind the Temple
There is a beautiful series of paintings on the walls of the temple depicting the entire mythological tale and history behind the building of this temple. According to myth and the Holy Scriptures, this is the place where Ravana, the demon and Lord Rama’s adversary’ younger brother Vibhishana, asked Lord Rama and his army of apes or Vanars for refuge. When Ravana, the many headed demon had kidnapped Sita, lord Rama’s wife while they were in exile, he took her to his kingdom in Lanka. According to the legends, it was Vibhishana who had first advised Ravana to give Sita back to Lord Rama. Ravana turned a deaf ear to this and Vibhishanawas branded a traitor. Fearing the wrath of his brother Ravana, he left the kingdom of Lanka and went to seek refuge under Lord Rama. However, his brothers in arm first cautioned Lord Rama against accepting Vibhishana’s surrendering because they suspected him of being a spy. Then it was Lord Hanuman, Lord Rama’s devotee and friend who insisted that Lord Rama provide asylum to Vibhishana because it was his sacred duty to help anyone who surrendered to him. Later when Ravana was defeated and beheaded by Lord Rama and Sita was rescued, Vibhishana ascended the throne of Lanka.
This temple is dedicated to one of the most important holy figures in Hindu religion and Indian mythology – Lord Rama. In fact, if you visit the temple you can see deities of the important figures from the Ramayana – Lord Rama, his brother Laksman, his wife Sita, the general of the ape army Lord Hanuman and Vibhishana.
Since it is a tourist spot, the Kothandaramaswamy Temple tends to get crowded during the weekends and on public holidays. The best time to visit the temple is during the morning because not only will you be able to avoid excessive crowds of people, but you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the temple in its natural surroundings of stillness and natural beauty.
The Kothandaramaswamy Temple is open seven days a week from six a.m. in the morning to seven p.m. in the evening. If you are visiting Tamil Nadu for the first time, then after a long and hectic day of sightseeing, take the evening off and drive to the temple and relax for a few hours in the backdrop of a beautiful golden setting sun.