Presiding Deity: Ramanathar
Deity made by: Sita Devi
Worshipped by: Sri Rama
Speciality: Sand Lingam
Holy tree : Vilwa
Holy water: Koti theertham
Devotees from all parts of the country here throng Rameswaram Ramanathswamy temple to discharge their duties for the departed ancestors, pray for their salvation and redeeming themselves from the sins of the previous births. People also come here for relief from the inflictions of the bad effects of the planets. People worshipping the Lord attain mental peace and salvation. Also devotees praying and bathing in Sethu theertham are blessed with children.
The ashes of the dead are immersed here.
Bathing in the sea and the various theerthams in the temple relieve the devotees from sins. Devotees offer abishek to the Lord in conch water, milk, Ganga water, rose water etc. They also offer dhoti and sari for the Lord and the Goddess. They do Annadhanam (feeding the poor). These are the prayers people offer to the God.
Speciality of the temple
The Sivalinga in the Sanctum Sanatorium here is made by Sitadevi and sanctified by Sri Rama. This is in the Ramanathaswami Sannidhi.
Lord Viswanatha, Viswalingam was brought here by Hanuman. The Pujas begin from here only. So from the Sannidhi of Goddess Visalakshi. The first puja is performed along with the Goddess.
The Nandikeswara here has two hands holding a deer and an axe, sword in the hip bearing the best sculptural beauty and is one that the visitor to the temple should not miss.
Parvadhavardini is the consort of Lord Ramanatha. As in Madurai, Her sannidhi is in the right side of the Lord; hence special significance is attached to this aspect. The devotee should not miss the Sri Chakara for worship.
There are 22 holy springs within the temple and 31 outside the temple. Saints Thirugnanasambandar and Appar-Thirunavukkarasar had sung in praise of the Lord in their Thevaram Hymns. Arunagiriar and Sekkizhar in their Thirupugazh and Periapuranam respectively had praised the Lord. Besides these, Rameswaram-Ramanathaswamy glories are elaborately mentioned in the Rig Veda, Dhanu Smruti, Marichi Smruti, Devala Smruti, Padmapuranam, Koorma Puranam, Matchapuranam, Thayumanavar hyms, Arunachalakavirayar kirtanas, Thiruvilayadal Puranam of Paranjothi Munivar and in various scriptures. Other names of Rameswaram are Thiruvirameswaram and Sethu Bandham.
Of the 12 Jyothir Linga holy centers of India, Rameswaram is the only one in South. The Linga here was made Mother Sitadevi. Any pilgrimage taken to Kashi (Varanasi) in the north will be deemed completed only after visiting the Rameswaram Ramanathaswami temple. The Jyothir Linga near Visalakshi Sannidhi is said to have been installed by Vibishana. This is the holy soil where Lord Vishnu Himself worshipped Lord Shiva.
The temple is linked with the Ramayana story. During the 12th century, the temple was under the care of an ascetic in a roofed shed. In the years that followed, many to the present shape improved it.
In the year 1897, Swami Vivekananda visited this holy place and delivered a lecture. People of Rameswaram do not plough their lands with bulls as in other places and there are no oil grinders (chekku) in Rameswaram. The third round of the temple (prakaram) is very famous. Rameswaram is widely referred to in our ancient scriptures – Ithihasa and Puranas.
The Santurm Sanatorium of the temple was built with stones brought from Sri Lanka by the Sinhala King.
Rameswaram is 155 Kms from Madurai, 55 from Ramanathapuram. Lodgings are available. Damani Rest House Rs. 100/=, Vivekananda Illam Rs. 100. Narmadhabai Rest House, Rs. 250/=, Birla Rs. 225, AC rooms Rs. 225, Jalan Lodge Rs. 250 to 500.
Conveyance: Rameswaram is well linked from almost all district head quarters. Bus facilities are also comfortably available. Rail links also are comfortably available for the convenience of pilgrims from various parts of India. Nearest railway station Rameswaram, airport Madurai. The temple Executive Officer can be contacted on telephone No. 623 526. Hote Tamilnadu can be contacted on phone 04573-221223, 221202, 221277.
During the month of Masi (March-April) Mahasivarathri is celebrated for 15 days. Also Adi Amavasya festival July Aug. 15 days – Ramalinga installation ceremony during Vaikasi-Ani – Taipoosam in Lakshmana theertham, Arudra Darisanam 10 days, Special Sankranti (pongal festival), Chithirai Thiruvizha (April-May), Maha Krithikai, a festival for Sri Rama on Vaikunta Ekadasi, Adi Amavasya, Kothandarama appearing on Garuda is very attractive festival. Also Ardoyam and Mahodayam festival is celebrated once in some years.
On his way back from Lanka after killing Ravana and rescuing Mother Sita, Sri Rama stayed in Gandamanam in Rameswaram. He wanted to worship Lord Shiva as advised by the Rishis and asked Anjaneya to get him a Sivalinga. As Hanauman ‘s arrival was delayed, Sita prepared a Linga herself, Rama installed it in the ceremonial manner and worshipped, according to the scriptures.
Since Rama worshipped in the place, the Linga was named Ramamanatha , the place Rameswaram. As the Saying goes, Go on the Mount and bathe in the sea, any pilgrimage beginning from Kedaram, Kashi would be deemed completed only if a pilgrimage is taken to Rameswaram. The pilgrims should bring Ganga water and perform Abishek to Lord Ramanatha. There is also a tradition of taking sand and Water from Rameswaram and immerse in Kashi, a noblest tradition that nurtures the principle of emotional integration of the country.