Rameshwaram is an island situated in the gulf of manner at the tip of Indian peninsula and is a very important pilgrim center of the Hindus and also one of the most sacred place of India. It is also the seat of one of the 12 Jothirlingas. It is said that Lord Rama worshiped Lord Shiva, on his return from Lanka after killing king Ravana. So this island is sacred to both the Saivites and Vaishnavites.
Sri Ramanathaswami temple
According to legend, the Lingam at this temple was installed by Sri Rama. On his return after the battle of Lanka, Rama wanted to install the Lingam to absolve himself of the sin of Vanquishing Ravana.
Rama sent Hanuman to Mount Kailas to fetch the Lingam. Since Hanuman was late, Sita make a Lingam out of sand. This was installed rushed in with the Lingam from Kailas. He was disappointed to find another Lingam already in place. To pacify Hanuman, Rama had the Hanumath Lingam (Viswa Lingam) also installed alongside and ordered that pujas be first performed for the Viswa Lingam.
The temple has 22 theerthas (Holy springs), which are believed to have medicinal properties.
The Ramanathaswami temple faces east. The sea here, about 100 meters from the main entrance of the temple is very calm and therefore ideal for bathing. The water of this place is considered sacred and known as Agnitheertham.
The Ganthamathana Parvatham is a hillock to the north of the temple. From here one can get a fine view of the island. There is a pretty two storeyed mandapam here and Ramas Padam (feet) placed on chakra for worship attracks pilgrims.
This beautiful temple is situated 7km from Ramanathaswami temple. Legend has it that Vibhishana surrendered to Rama at this place and Lakshamana performed the Preliminary Patabhishekam for him. Here we can see the idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman and Vibhishana.
The southern most tip of the island Dhanushkodi was completely washed away by the 1964 cyclone, to reach Sethu Theertham at Dhanuskodi one has to walk 3 km along the shores.
Sethu is a Sanskrit work to denote a bridge or cause way. It has now acquired special significance to mean the bridge across the ocean constructed and used by Rama to reach Srilanka. It is said that, at the request of Vibhishana and Ally of Rama, Rama broke the Sethu with one end of his bow and hence the name Dhanuskodi (Dhanus Bow, Kodi – end) has come. Sethu Theertha is a 3km from Dhanuskodi bus stand. There is also available local van. A dip in Sethu is considered very holy.
Devipatnam or Navapashana
This beautiful coastal village is 16km from Ramanathapuram. Here Sri Rama had installed nine stones in the sea to worshiped Navagraha (Nine Planets). Devotees offer worship to the nine planets here.
16km southwest of Ramanathapuram stands the renowned Shiva temple of Uttarakosamangai. Manikkavachagar has sung of it. The Lord is Mangaleshvara and the Goddess Mangalesvari. The temple has inspired many Tamil works of devotion. So ofcourse, has the Ramanatha temple in Rameswaram. Here Lord Nataraj made of Emerald stones.
This place is 14km from Ramanathapuram. There is a Vishnu temple, here dedicated to Lord Adi Jaganathaperumal. Sri Rama is said to have worshipped the deity and secured to bow to fight with Ravana. It also said that Rama lay on Dharba (grass) bed for 7days in order to invoke the sea god for safe passage to Sri Lanka.
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