Rameshwaram, being one of the most important pilgrimage centers in India, is also well known for the various Hindu festivals which are celebrated with enthusiasm. Almost all the festivals which are celebrated in Tamil Nadu are also celebrated in Rameshwaram. All the important festivals of Rameshwaram are celebrated with utmost religious fervour at The Ramanathaswamy Temple. Most of the tourists visit Rameshwaram for temple darshan during one of these important festivals and special occasions.
Given below is a brief overview of some of the most important festivals of Rameshwaram
Mahashivaratri is the most important festival of all Jyotirlingas in India and Ramanathaswamy Temple is no different. Mahashivaratri is dedicated to lord Shiva, It is the day when he is believed to have married Goddess Parvati and saved the universe from darkness and ignorance. Mahashivaratri (or the Great Night of Shiva) signified the union of Shiva and Shakti. In Rameshwaram Mahashivaratri is celebrated for ten days with rituals and processions (also known as car festivals). Cars of Shiva, Parvati and their consorts are pulled along the streets of Rameshwaram where devotees offer their worship.
This is the spring festival during which is celebrated for ten days when the temple deity is worshipped with an abhishekha of sandal paste, flowers, incense and rose water.
Ramalinga Pratishtha (May/June)
This is the day when the Shivalingam created by Sita was installed and worshipped by Lord Rama. Idols of Lord Ramanathaswamy and Lord Rama are taken out in the street processions.
Thirukalyanam is celebrated during seventeen days and is one of the longest festivals celebrated in the Ramanathaswamy Temple. This festival is celebrated for the marriage of the Lord ramanatha with Goddess Parvatavardhini. Cultural programmes and processions are held every day along with the recitation of Vedas.
Navratri & Dussehra (September/October)
Navraatri (or the Nine Nights) is the festival celebrating the nine forms of Devi or Goddess Durga. The tenth day is celebrated as Dussehra.
Arudhra Darshanam (December/January)
The festivities are held at Uthirakosamangai where devotees experience and visualize the breath-taking and astounding sight of the unveiling of ‘Nataraj’ statue which is covered with sandalwood throughout the year
The renowned artist, filmmaker, writer and poet Siddharth Katragadda once said that“the greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals”. Indian culture can be understood fully only through its festivals. This is true for Tamil Nadu and Rameshwaram also. It is said that in ancient times, in Indian culture each and every day of the year was considered as a festival thereby manifesting enthusiasm and amusement in the lives of the individuals. And even though, today, we don’t have much time for festivities in our fast paces lives, devotees in Rameshwaram still celebrate most of the festivals with devotion and enthusiasm.