One of the twelve Jyotirlinga Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple of Ramanathaswamy is an architectural excellence built in the 17th century. A must visit pilgrimage for both the Vaishnavite as well as the Shaiva sect of Hinduism, the temple constitutes a major part of the popular spiritual tourism destinations in India.
The actual temple is believed to have been built by Lord Rama himself and thus it has gained an esteemed position in Indian mythological reference. Today’s Ramanathaswamy Temple houses the longest temple corridor in the world, which is 197 meters long and 133 meters broad and stands with 1200 massive granite columns.
At a distance of 3 km from Rameshwaram Railway Station, Gandhamathana Parvatham is the highest point in the island. There is a two storeyed Mandapam, where Rama’s feet (padam) is found as an imprint on a chakra. Pilgrims visit in thousands to worship Gandhamathana Parvatham. Sukreevar Temple and Theertham are situated on the way to Gandhamadana Parvatham.
At a distance of 3 Kms from Rameshwaram Railway Station (around two kilometer from Ramanathaswamy Temple / Rameshwaram Temple), Five faced Hanuman Temple has mythological evidence where Hanuman showed his profile with five faces. The idols of Lord Ram, Sita and Hanuman, which are brought from Dhanushkodi during the cyclone of 1964, are kept here. The ‘floating stones’, which were used to build the Sethu Bandhanam (bridge) in Ramayana, are also kept in the temple. There is floating stone outside the temple which was used to create the bridge on the sea as prescribed by our Purana.
At a distance of 2 km from Rameshwaram Railway Station (just 100 meters away from east entrance of Rameshwaram Temple), Agnitheertham is said to be the place where Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to wash off his sins of killing Ravana. It is one of the important places to visit in Rameshwaram. It is a sacred place and piligrims believe that taking a bath in Bay of Bengal at Agniteertham will washout one’s sins of life time. It is visited by the followers of Lord Shiva as well as Vishnu, whose incarnation was lord Rama. The sea here is very calm and ideal for bathing.
Kothanda Ramaswamy Temple
It is 12 km from the main city. The temple complex was damaged during the cyclone of 1964, but the temple structure remained intact. The walls of the temple have beautiful paintings inscribed on them, depicting the story of Ramayana. Kothandaramaswamy Temple has several images of Lord Rama, wife Sita, brother Lakshmana, Hanuman and Vibishana. It is believed that Rama did the last rites of Pattabhishekam of Vibhishan in this place. The temple walls are scribled with the paintings depicting the same story.
At a distance of 18 km from Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi, situated at the eastern end of the island is named after Rama’s bow. It is one of the major Rameshwaram tourist places to visit among prime place to visit on a South India tour. The boulders around the sea between Srilanka and this place known as Adam’s bridge, are believed to be used by Hanuman to reach across Srilanka. Dhanushkodi was completely destroyed by the cyclones of 1964. Kodandaramaswamy temple is the only salvage of the cyclone. The Government declared the town as Ghost town and unfit for living after the storm. Four wheelers or fish carts are the only mode to reach this plae. It is advisable to go during day time to the village and return to Rameshwaram before Sun set.
Located at a distance of around 12km from Ramanathapuram, Thiruppullani is a small village known for the Adi Jagannatha Temple. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple has a five-tiered Thirupullani
rajagopuram that stands facing east. The temple enshrines the idol of Lord Vishnu along with Sri Devi and Bhudevi. There is a separate shrine close to this temple, where the consort of (Adi Jagannath) Lord Vishnu, Padmasini Devi is worshipped. Another temple enshrined the statue of Lord Dharbasayana Ramar in a reclining posture.
At a distance of 70 km from Rameshwaram and 15 km from Ramanathapuram. Uthirakosamangai is famous for an ancient Siva temple considered to be 3000 years old. This is the place where Siva transferred the secrets of Vedas to Parvati. Uthiram means (updesham) kosam (secrets) Parvati (Mangai) hence this place is known as Uthira Kosa Mangai.
The main deity here is Mangalanathar (Siva) and his consort is Mangleshwari. The main attraction of this temple is a statue of Natarajar made of emerlad which is about 51/2 feet tall. This idol is known as Margatha Natarajar and the deity is always covered with sandal paste. Only in the Tamil month of Margazhi on Tiruvathira nakshtram the sandal paste gets removed and there is abhishekam for the idol and this special darshan is known as Arudhra darishanam.There is a Nandi just outside the sanctum and a bigger Nandi in the outer prakaram known here as Pradosha Nandi. Special poojas are conducted here on Pradosham days in the evenings as it is believed that Siva dances between the horns of Nandi during that time.
At a distance of 65 km from Rameshwaram & 15 km from Ramanathapuram, Devipattinam (also known as Navabashanam) is a beautiful coastal village.
This small village has a temple dedicated to Devi. It is said to be the place where Mahishasura was slayed by Goddess Durga Devi. It is said that Sri Ram had prayed to the Nava grahas here by placing nine stones prior to going to war with Ravana. It is increasingly getting popular among devotees who visit the nearby temples of Rameswaram and Thirupullani. The nine stones representing the Nava grahas or nine planets can be seen few metres into the sea. However depending on the water levels one may get to see all or few of them.
There are two other temples here, one dedicated to Thilakesava and the other to Jagannatha. The Thilakeshwar Temple is dedicated to Shiva and Parvathi (Durga). Shiva here is known as Thilakeswarar and the Goddess is known as Soundaryanayaki. Devotees at the temple offer nine varieties of grains to the Gods and Goddesses.The beach is full of multicoloured shells and corals of varied forms.