Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Sunday, September 22, 2019

Rameswaram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rameswaram, is a town and a second grade municipality in the Ramanathapuram district in the South Indian state of 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.

 

 

Together with Varanasi, it is considered to be one of the holiest places in India to Hindus, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimage.

 

 

It is said that this is the place from where the Hindu god Rama built a bridge across the sea to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from her abductor Ravana. The Ramanathaswamy Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, is located at the centre of the town and is closely associated with Rama. The temple, along with the town, is considered a holy pilgrimage site for both Shaivas and Vaishnavas.. It is also one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples and one of the 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams. 

 

 

 

Rameswara means "Lord of Rama" in Sanskrit, an epithet of Shiva, the presiding deity of the Ramanathaswamy Temple. According to Hindu epic Ramayana, Rama, the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, prayed to Shiva here to absolve any sins that he might have committed during his war against the demon-king Ravana in Sri Lanka. According to the Puranas (Hindu scriptures), upon the advice of sages, Rama along with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana, installed and worshipped the lingam (an iconic symbol of Shiva) here to expiate the sin of Brahmahatya incurred while killing of the Brahmin Ravana. To worship Shiva, Rama wanted to have a lingam and directed Hanuman to bring it from Himalayas. Since it took longer to bring the lingam, Sita built a lingam, made of just sands of the shores, which is also believed to be the one in the sanctum of the temple. The one brought by Hanuman from Kailash is called Vishwalingam. Rama instructed that the Vishwalingam should be worshipped first since it was brought by Hanuman - the tradition continues even today.

 

 

 

There are sixty-four Tīrthas (holy water bodies) in and around the island of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India. According to Skānda Purāṇa, twenty-four of them are important. Bathing in these tīrthas is a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameswaram and is considered equivalent to penance. Twenty-two of the Tīrthas are within the Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple. The number 22 indicates the 22 arrows in Rama's quiver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

The first and major one is called Agni Theertham, the sea (Bay of Bengal). The foremost one is called Agni Theertham, the sea (Bay of Bengal). Jatayu, King of the Birds, who fought in vain with the demon-king Ravana to save Sita, is said to have fallen down at Jadayu Theertham as his wings were severed. Villoondi Theertham literally translates to 'buried bow', is located around 7 kilometres from the main temple on the way to Pamban. It is believed to be the place where Rama quenched the thirst of Sita by dipping the bow into the sea water. Other major holy bodies are Hanuman Theertham, Sugreeva Theertham and Lakshmana Theertham.

 

 

 

Bhrammotsavams, which happens typically in the month of June/ July, is the best time to visit to this temple where the entire shrine is engrossed by religious tourists in an enchanted festive aura.

 

 

 

 

Gandhamathana Parvatham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gandhamathan Parvatham, a hillock situated 3 km to the north of the temple is the highest point in the island. There is a two storied hall, where Rama's feet are found as an imprint on a chakra (wheel). The Ramarpatham Temple is located on the hillock.

 

 

 

 

Dhanushkodi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dhanushkodi is the southernmost tip of the island and houses the Kothandaramaswamy Temple dedicated to Rama.  Though Dhanushkodi was washed away during the 1964 cyclone, the temple alone remained intact. A popular belief is that, Dhanushkodi is where Vibishana, a brother of Ravana surrendered before Rama in the epic Ramayana.

 

 

 

 

 

Erwadi 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At a distance of 24 km from Rameshwaram, Erwadi is an important place of Muslim pilgrimage. The tomb of Ibrahim Sahid Auliya is located at Erwadi. Muslims from across the globe visit Erwadi, especially during the month of December to participate in the annual festival held to pay tribute to the saint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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