Sunday, 5 June 2011

Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu

Rameswaram is a town in Ramanathapuram district in the  Tamil Nadu. It is located on Pamban Island separated from mainland India by the Pamban channel and is about 50 kilometres from Mannar Island,Sri Lanka. Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, is connected to mainland India by the Pamban Bridge. Rameswaram is the terminus of the railway line from Chennai and Madurai. Together with Kashi, it is considered to be one of the holiest places in India to Hindus, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimages. Hence, it is a bustling pilgrim centre.

It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar at the very tip of the Indian peninsula. According to legend, this is the place from where Lord Rama built a bridge Ram Setu (also known as Adam's Bridge) across the sea to Lanka to rescue his consort Sita from her abductor Ravana. Both the Vaishnavites and Shaivites visit this pilgrimage centre which is known as the Varanasi of the south.

Rameswaram is significant for the Hindus as a pilgrimage to Benaras is incomplete without a pilgrimage to Rameswaram. The presiding deity here is in the form of a Linga with the name Sri Ramanatha Swamy, it also happens to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas.

The masterpiece of South Indian architecture boasts of the biggest temple corridor in India. Different rulers built the Ramanathaswamy Temple over a period of time starting from the twelfth century. The temple comprises twenty two wells where the taste of the water of each well is different from the other. The grandest part of the temple is the 1219 m pillared corridor consisting of 3.6 m high granite pillars, richly carved and well proportioned. The perspective presented by these pillars run uninterruptedly to a length of nearly 230 m.

According to the Puranas, upon the advice of Rishis (sages), Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana, installed and worshipped the Sivalingahere to expiate the sin of Brahmahatya (killing of a Brahmin). (Ravana, the son of Vishrava and the great grandson of Brahma). Rama fixed an auspicious time for the installation and sent Anjaneya to Mount Kailas to bring a lingam. As Anjaneya could not return in time, Sita herself made a linga of sand. When Anjaneya returned with a linga from Mount Kailas the rituals had been over. To comfort the disappointed Anjaneya, Rama had Anjaneya’s lingam (Visvalingam) also installed by the side of Ramalinga, and ordained that rituals be performed first to the Visvalingam.

In Rameswaram Temple, a spiritual "Mani Darisanam" (Mani Darshan) happens in early morning everyday. This "Mani" is made of "spatikam"[a precious stone] and in form of "Holy shivling". According to veda, this is "Mani" of "sheshnag".

Sethu Karai is a place 22 km before the island of Rameswaram from where Lord Ram is claimed to have built a Floating Stone Bridge Ramasethu from Rameswaram that further continued to Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram till Talaimannar in Sri Lanka as mentioned in the great Hindu epic Ramayana.

Ramarpadm - Footsteps of Lord Rama

Ramarpaadham Temple, Rameshwaram

Naga Idols at Ram Temple, Rameshwaram

Lakshman Theertham, Rameshwaram.

Sita Kund - Pond named after Sita

Floating stones (Hanuman Temple)

Sugreevar theertham, Lotus pond on the way to Ramar Padham

Corridor of 1000 pillars


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