Rameswaram Temple | Rameswaram Temple History | History | Aarti Timings | Entry Timings | Rameswaram Temple Travel Guide
Rameswaram / Ramanathapuram
Rameswaram Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and is an important part of Chardham Yatra, considered the most important religious pilgrimage of our country. This temple is located in a town named Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu. But the fame of this temple is so much that almost everyone knows Ramanathapuram as Rameswaram.
The religious belief of the Rameswaram temple, located in the city of Ramanathapuram, is so much that every year crores of devotees from all over India come to this temple to see Lord Shiva. Before talking about the Rameswaram temple, let us talk a little bit about Ramanathapuram.
Ramanathapuram is an ancient city located at a distance of about 560 km from the capital city of Tamil Nadu, Chennai. Mainly this city is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal, is a very beautiful conch shaped island, also known as Pamban Island and Rameswaram Island.
The city was well connected to India by land a century or so ago or so before Ramanathapuram became an island. But due to some natural reasons, the sea level increased here and the city was surrounded by sea from all sides and direct contact of Ramanathapuram with India by land was cut off.
At present, the island on which Ramanathapuram is connected to the mainland, at present, there is a bay of about 2 kilometres long. Initially, when the pilgrims used to take darshan to the Rameswaram temple located in Ramanathapuram, they used to use boats to cross this bay.
After some time, the then ruler of this place, Krishnappanayakan, had also built a huge bridge made of stones for the pilgrims. However, the stone bridge built by King Krishnappanayaka did not last long. Later, when the British had occupied India, they got the idea of connecting Ramanathapuram by rail after some time so that they could get economic benefits from this place.
To connect Ramanathapuram by rail, the British officials appointed a German engineer to build the bridge. In the year 1911, the construction of about 2.5 km long rail bridge started and on 24 February 1914, this rail bridge was fully completed. After the completion of the construction, this rail bridge came to be known as Pamban Railway Bridge.
When the Pamban railway bridge was being constructed, special care was taken that small ships could cross this railway bridge. Therefore, the middle part of this bridge rises so that small ships can easily cross it.
After this, in the year 1988, the then Indian government also built a road bridge parallel to the Pamban railway bridge, which was connected to National Highway 87. The construction work of the new Pamban railway bridge will also be completed by the end of 2021.
Rameswaram Temple History
The original name of the Rameswaram temple is Ramanathaswamy Temple, although the history of the Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva established in the temple is associated with Tretayuga. But the construction of the main temple is only 800 years old, whereas, in contrast, many temples of South India are from 1000 years to 1500 years old.
But despite this, its temple architecture is completely different from many temples of South India. 09 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva are established near the sanctum sanctorum of Vishalakshi Ji located in the temple premises, for which it is said that they were established by Lankapati Vibhishana.
By reading a copper plate kept in Ramanathaswamy, it becomes clear that in 1173 AD, the then King Parakram Bahu of Sri Lanka had built the sanctum sanctorum containing the original Shivalinga of Lord Shiva. In the sanctum sanctorum built by King Parakram Bahu, only the Shivling of Lord Shiva is seated, apart from this, you will not get to see the idols of any other deities in the sanctum.
For this reason, the sanctum sanctorum built by King Parakram Bahu was called the Nisangeshwar temple at that time. And this Nisangeshwar is presently known by all of us as Rameswaram Temple or Ramanathaswamy Temple. Later in the 15th century, the then king Udaiyan Sethupathi and the nearby Vaishyas of Nagur together built a 78 feet high gopuram in the Nisangeshwar temple in 1450 AD.
Later a Devi-devotee from Madurai also did the renovation work in the temple. Had it been done? In the 16th century, the second wall located in the southern part of the temple was built by the then king Tirumalaya Sethupathi. The idols made at the entrance of the wall of the southern part are of the son and daughter of King Tirumalaya Sethupati.
In the 16th century itself, King Vishwanatha Nayaka of Madurai and his subordinate ruler Udaiyan Sethupathi got the Nandi Mandapa and some other construction works done in the Rameswaram temple at Kattatswara. The Nandi Mandap situated in the temple is 22 feet long, 12 feet wide and 17 feet high.
Situated near the Ramanathaswamy temple, the Setumadhava temple was built 500 years ago by the then Raja of Ramanathapuram and a wealthy Vaishya. By the 17th century, a king named Dalvai Sethupati started the construction of the Gopuram in the eastern part.
Apart from this, in the 18th century, Ravivijay Sethupathi built a dormitory and a pavilion for other deities in the temple. And after some time, Muttu Ramalinga Sethupathi built the outer wall of the temple. In the period between 1897 AD to 1904 AD, the affluent family of Devkottai got the 126 feet high Eastern Gopuram constructed with nine gates.
Later on, the members of the same family also got the work of repairing the main sanctum sanctorum of the temple done in the middle part of 1907 AD to 1925 AD. Apart from this, members of the same family of Devkottai also got Mahakumbhbhishek done in the year 1947 at Ramanathaswamy temple.
Thus the construction work of Ramanathaswamy temple or Rameswaram temple, which started from the 10th century, was completed in the 20th century with the cooperation of many kings and many Vaishya families.
Rameswaram Temple Architecture
Rameswaram temple built in the Dravidian style of South India is built in about 06 hectares, and what separates this temple from other temples of South India is the huge corridors of this temple whose total length is about 1220 meters. The corridor of the Rameswaram temple is the longest in the world.
The length of the corridor from north to south is 197 meters and the length of the corridor from east to west is 133 meters. Apart from this, the width of the temple wall is 06 meters and the height is 09 meters. The main entrance gopuram of the temple is 38.4 meters.
Despite being a huge temple, the Rameswaram temple is considered to be the best example of South Indian architecture. Hundreds of huge pillars are built in the boundary wall of the temple and in the temple premises, which seem to be very similar in view.
But when you look closely at these pillars, you will come to know that each pillar has different fine workmanship. Rameswaram temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is called Ramanathaswamy here. Two Shivlings of Lord Shiva have been installed in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
One of the two Shivalingam was constructed by Lord Rama from sand which is called Ramalingam, and the other Shivalingam was brought from Mount Kailash by Hanuman and is called Vishwalingam. In the Shivalinga established in the sanctum sanctorum, the Shivalinga which is known as Vishwalingam brought by Hanuman Ji is worshipped first.
Like other temples of South India, the Rameswaram temple has a high boundary wall around it. In which there are huge gopurams to enter, apart from this the main building of the temple, also called Rajagopuram, whose height is about 53 meters. Most of the pillars built in the temple are engraved on the idols of deities.
The present structure of the temple has taken a very long time to be built which has been completed with the cooperation of many persons. The maximum credit for the establishment of the temple goes to Sethupati of Ramanathapuram. In the 17th century, a part of the main eastern gopuram was built by Dalvai Sethupathi.
Later in the 18th century, the most famous third corridor of the temple was constructed by Muthuramalinga Sethupathi. The third corridor is called “Chokkatan Mandapam”, at the western entrance of the corridor the statues of two of Sethupathi’s ministers have been installed.
There are separate temples for Ramanathaswamy and his wife Parvathvardhini in the temple premises. Apart from this, there are separate temples for Goddess Vishalakshi Devi, Lord Vishnu and Ganesh Ji. Various types of halls are also built in the temple complex which are known as Sethupati Mandapam, Nandi Mandapam, Sukarvar Mandapam, Kalyana Mandapam and Anuppu Mandapam.
There are a total of 64 pools in Ramanathapuram Island, which are also called pilgrimages here. According to Skanda Purana, out of 64 kunds located on the island, 24 kunds are more important. Out of the 24 kunds, 22 kunds are located in the Rameswaram temple complex in which bathing is considered very important.
The 22 kunds located in the temple premises point towards the 22 arrows of Lord Rama. Rameswaram Temple is one of the few temples in India that has the distinction of being a major pilgrimage site. According to a legend related to the temple, before having the darshan of Lord Shiva in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, one should bathe in the 22 kunds located in the temple premises.
Apart from this, there is also a belief that the mark of Hanuman Ji’s tail is also visible on the Shivling of Lord Shiva installed in the temple.
Mythology of Rameswaram Temple
Rameswaram temple and Ramanathapuram are directly related to Treta Yuga. Two incidents related to Rameswaram Jyotirlinga are very much heard:-
01 – In Treta Yuga, when Ravana kidnapped Sita and went to Lanka, then Lord Shri Ram, searching for Mata Sita, reached this place located near Gandhamadan mountain, which later came to be known as Ramanathapuram (Rameswaram).
Now the further development is like this when Lord Shri Ram reaches this place looking for Ravana, then he comes to know that after crossing the ocean from this place, Ravana kidnapped Mother Sita to a place named Lanka. That’s why Lord Shri Ram gets the bridge built to reach Lanka so that he can reach Lanka and free Mother Sita from Ravana.
After the construction of the bridge, when Lord Shri Ram was leaving to fight with Ravana, he constructed a natural Shivling at this place and worshipped Lord Shiva so that he would get victory in the battle with Ravana and that mother To free Sita from the captivity of Ravana.
When Lord Sri Rama was starting the worship of Lord Shiva here, Lord Shiva himself appeared here and established himself in the form of a Jyotirlinga and gave the analogy of Rameswaram at this place. After that when Lord Shri Ram asks Hanuman to bring Shivling after victory in the war and to atone for the sin of killing Brahma.
According to the orders of Lord Shri Ram, Hanuman Ji brings Shivling from Kailash and installs it in Rameswaram. After this, Lord Shri Ram along with Mata Sita worships the Shivling made of clay of Lord Shiva and the Shivling brought by Hanuman Ji together. Even today in the Rameswaram temple, both the Shivling established by Lord Sri Rama and Mother Sita and the Shivalinga brought by Hanuman Ji are worshipped.
02 – After this, Lord Shri Ram is after reaching Lanka and defeating Ravana in the war and comes back to Rameswaram after liberating Mother Sita. In the war with Ravana in Lanka, his entire lineage with Ravana was ended. Lord Shri Ram knew that Ravana was not an ordinary demon but a descendant of Maharishi Pulastya and the son of Rishi Vishwashrava.
Apart from being a sage’s son, Ravana was also a very knowledgeable person and was also a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Being a sage’s son and a devotee of Lord Shiva, Lord Shri Ram was deeply saddened by the death of Ravana, as well as he had to atone for the killing of Brahma.
Therefore, after reaching Rameswaram, Lord Sri Rama along with Mother Sita worshipped Lord Shiva to atone for the sin of killing Brahma. This time to worship Lord Shiva, Lord Shri Ram asked Hanuman to bring the Shivling of Lord Shiva. As per the orders of Lord Shri Ram, Hanuman Ji went to Kailash to bring the Shivling of Lord Shiva.
But there was a slight delay in bringing the Shivalinga to Hanuman Ji and there was a delay in worshipping Lord Shiva in Rameswaram, due to which Mother Sita built the Shivling with her own hands from clay in Rameswaram. After that Lord Shri Ram and Mother Sita started worshipping Shivling according to the auspicious time, shortly after that Hanuman Ji also brought Shivling from Kailash.
But Hanuman Ji is very sad to see the earthen Shivling being worshipped here beforehand. Seeing Hanuman Ji sad, Lord Shri Ram also establishes the Shivling brought by Hanuman Ji near the earthen Shivling and gives it the name of Vishwalinga. Even today, the Shivalinga brought by Hanuman Ji is first worshipped in the Rameswaram temple and after that, the Shivling established by Lord Rama and Mother Sita is worshipped.
Interesting Facts of Rameswaram Temple
01 Rameswaram temple is 1000 feet in length and 650 feet in width.
02 The temple has been constructed by using two 40 feet high stones and one stone of equal height.
03 It is believed that stones were brought from Sri Lanka by boats for the construction of the temple.
04 The Rameswaram temple corridor is the longest corridor of any temple in the world. The total length of the corridor of the temple is about 4000 feet.
05 It is believed that the pond built in the temple premises was constructed with the arrows of Lord Shri Ram.
06 It is believed that by offering Gangajal on the Shivling in the temple, salvation is attained.
07 Worshiping Rameswaram Jyotirlinga with full rituals are believed to lead to salvation.
Rameswaram Temple Entry Timing
Rameswaram temple is open for devotees from 05:00 am to 12:00 noon and from 06:00 pm to 08:45 pm.
Note: – Change in the time of entry in the temple is possible, so whenever you go to visit the temple, then you must know about the time of entry in the temple.
Rameswaram Temple Aarti Timing
|Name of Aarti||Aarti Timings|
|Palliaraya Deepa Aradhana||05:00 AM|
|Spadigaling Deepa Aradhana||05:10 AM|
|Thiruvanantal Deepa Worship||05:45 AM|
|Villa Pooja||07:00 AM|
|Kalasanthi Puja||10:00 AM|
|Uchikala Puja||12:00 Afternoon|
|Sairatcha Puja||06:00 PM|
|Arthajama Puja||08:30 PM|
|Palliyaray Pooja||08:45 PM|
Rameswaram Temple Festival
One of the biggest pilgrimage sites of our country, the Rameswaram temple can be seen thronging of devotees throughout the year. But apart from this, there are some festivals which are celebrated with great enthusiasm in this temple.
And devotees from all over the country and the world come to Rameswaram to be a part of the festivals organized here. The festival which is celebrated most prominently here is Mahashivratri.
Since the Rameswaram temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Shivaratri is considered to be the biggest festival of Lord Shiva in Hinduism, the festival of Shivaratri is celebrated for 10 days in this temple.
Apart from Shivaratri, a festival named Vasantotsavam is also celebrated in the Rameswaram temple in May and June, this festival is also celebrated for a full 10 days.
Apart from these two festivals, a festival named Thirukkalyanam is also celebrated with pomp here. The festival named Thirukkalyanam lasts for a full 17 days in the Rameswaram temple, to see which a huge crowd gathers in the temple premises.
Places To Visit Near Rameswaram
Ram Sethu, Dhanushkoti, Indira Gandhi Setu, Adams Bridge, Pamban Bridge, Agneetheertham, Ariyaman Beach
Hotels in Rameswaram
Being a famous religious pilgrimage site, Rameswaram offers both Dharamsala and hotel facilities for the devotees to stay. Apart from this, many online hotel booking websites also provide the facility to book hotels in Rameswaram.
You will find the phone numbers of many Dharamshalas built-in Ramanathapuram available on Google, you can call there and book a room for yourself in Dharamshala.
How To Reach Rameswaram
How To Reach Rameswaram By Air
Being located on an island, Rameswaram does not have an airport of its own. The nearest airport to Rameswaram is Madurai airport. The distance from Madurai Airport to Rameswaram is only 173 km. Madurai Airport is well connected to major airports in India. You can easily reach Rameswaram from Madurai by taxi, cab, bus and rail.
How To Reach Rameswaram By Train
The name of the railway station of Rameswaram is Rameswaram Railway Station, and this railway is very well connected to almost all the cities of South India. Apart from this, you will get regular train service from many major railway stations of India to Rameswaram.
How To Reach Rameswaram By Road
Rameswaram is very well connected to many major cities of South India by National Highway No. 87. There are regular bus services to Rameswaram from cities like Chennai, Madurai and Trichy. Apart from this, you will also get bus and taxi services from many other cities of Tamil Nadu to Rameswaram.
Apart from Tamil Nadu, there are regular bus services to Rameswaram from major cities of many other states of South India. Apart from this, you can also reach Rameswaram very easily with the help of a taxi, cab and you’re own person there.
Chennai to Rameswaram Distance – 559 KM
Madurai to Rameswaram Distance – 173 KM
Trichy to Rameswaram Distance – 235 KM
Visakhapatnam to Rameswaram Distance – 1346 KM
Bhubaneswar to Rameswaram Distance – 1775 KM
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