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Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu

Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameswaram Island in Tamil Nadu, India is dedicated to god Shiva. It is also one of the twelve Jyothirlinga temples, where Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlingam (Pillar of Light).

The temple displays magnificent Dravidian architecture. The temple has the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India. The presiding deity is the lingam of Ramanathaswamy (Siva). The sanctum of the temple houses two lingams – Ramalingam built by Sita – Rama’s wife, and Vishwalingam brought by Lord Hanuman from Kailash. The belief is that Rama instructed that Vishwalingam should be worshipped first. The tradition continues till date.

“The temple was expanded during the 12th century by Pandya Dynasty, and its principal shrines sanctum were renovated by Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan and his successor Gunaveera Cinkaiariyan of the Jaffna kingdom.”
Source .The temple complex features 22 teerthams (holy water bodies). These teerthams symbolize the 22 arrows in Rama’s quiver.

Legend Behind Ramanathaswamy Temple

As per the temple website, the temple and the island of Rameswaram have acquired this name because Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva here. According to legend, Lord Rama, after killing Ravana, returned with his consort Seetha to India first stepping on the shores of Rameswaram. He wanted to expiate the sin of killing a brahmana. He committed this crime during his war against the demon king Ravana in Sri Lanka. Ravana was a half Brahman and a great devotee of Shiva. Rama wanted to seek forgiveness for his misdeeds before returning to Ayodhya.

Since Rama could not locate any Siva shrines in the island, he sent Sri Hanuman to Kailash to bring the largest lingam to worship Shiva. As Hanuman could not return with a lingam on time, Sita created a small lingam out of the sand available in the sea shore. This sand lingam is believed to be the lingam in the sanctum. Later Hanuman brought a bigger lingam from Kailash which is believed to be the Vishwalingam in the sanctum.

Official Website of Ramanathaswamy Temple

www.rameswaramtemple.tnhrce.in

Contacting the Temple

Phone No: 04573 – 221223
Fax and Computer Section No: 04573 – 223230
E-Mail ID: rameshwaramtemple@tnhrce.org

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