Visiting Rameshwaram Temple: Tips for Pilgrims
Rameshwaram Temple or Ramanathaswamy Temple is located on the Rameshwaram Island in Tamil Nadu. It is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the Jyothirlinga temples of Lord Shiva, where the lord is worshipped in the form of a pillar of light. Rameshwaram temple has the longest corridor among all Hindu temples present in India. It is a place for holy pilgrimage for the devotees of Lord Shiva and also of Lord Vishnu. It is considered as one of the holy Char Dhams, which includes Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka, other than Rameshwaram.
The Origin Story of the Temple
Rameshwaram Island is located at the extreme tip of the Indian peninsula. It is the place from where the holy bridge was constructed by Lord Ram, with the help of the Vanara Sena, to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of Ravana, in Lanka. Rameshwaram temple is built in the same location where, according to Ramayana, Rama, Vishnu’s eighth incarnation, prayed to Shiva to in order to exonerate sin of a Brahmana’s killing. Rama had killed the Brahmana during his battle with the demon king of Lanka, Ravana.
In order to atone for his sin, Rama desired to have the largest Shiva lingam. Rama, therefore, asked Hanuman to bring the lingam from the Himalayas. However, the journey to the Himalayas and back took a long time and therefore Sita, the wife of Rama, built a smaller Shiva lingam with the sand available to her on the seashore. It is believed that the same Shiva lingam is present inside the sanctum of the Rameshwaram temple.
Tips for Pilgrims Visiting Rameshwaram Temple
Don’t Miss the Saptika Linga – The Spatika Linga Darshan is a very important part of the Rameshwaram temple and it shouldn’t be missed. The darshan is only available from 5am to 6am, and devotees usually stand in a queue from 4am. A special ticket of ₨. 50 is required to do the darshan. One can also go to the general queue which charges ₨.10. After the darshan, breakfast can be done from the nearby mess, which serves dosas and idlis.
Performing the Rituals – In order to collect sand from the sea, it is imperative that a purohita is hired, who will perform the rites and rituals required in order to collect sand. After 36 dips in the sea one can collect the sand from the sea. There are 23 theerthams within the temple and one must bathe in each of these theerthams after collecting the sand from the sea. It takes around ₨. 25 to complete this ritual, but it is advisable to carry some extra cash up to ₨.75. After this, one can go for the main worship in the temple. The basic Pooja starts from ₨.111 and the purohitacan take around ₨. 500-600 for his services throughout the four stages.
Other Nearby Attractions – Other places to visit while visiting the Rameshwaram temple include the ‘Ramar Patham’ where autos ply almost throughout the day from the Rameshwaram temple. The Kothandaraswamy Temple, located almost 15 km away from Rameshwaram temple, is believed to be the place where Bibhishan surrendered to Rama, and was made the King of Lanka immediately after. Lakshmana performed the rites using the sacred water from the sea. Therefore, this temple too has a religious significance to the Hindus.