Ramanathaswamy is an ancient temple of Lord Shiva situated on Rameshwaran island in Tamil Nadu. It got the distinction of the place, where the most revered saints like Appar,Sundarar and Tirugana Sambandar have mesmerize the temple with their songs. Pandya dynasty was credited for expansion of the temple from its original structure. It is spread over an area of 15 miles and has substantial gopurams , large surfaces and a enormous Nandi. Rameswaram Jyotirlinga also features of a 4000 feet long pillared corridor with over 4000 support pillars, apparently the lengthiest on the globe. Temple is known for realizing the wishes and aspiration of devotees with divine intervention of Lord Shiva.
Rulers such as, Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan and Gunaveera Cinkaiariyan of the Jaffna kingdom were responsible for renovation of the principle shrine. The temple is amongst the twelve jyotirilingas of shiva. It is considered as one of the Holy pilgrimage centre for Shaivites, Vaishnavites and Smarthas. According to the ancient Indian scripture 'Ramayana', Lord Rama was responsible for killing Ravana. In order to absolve sins of killing Ravana, who was a Brahmin. Lord Rama wanted to erect a largest linga of shiva . Lord rama sent hanuman to himalyas to get the linga. Since it took time to bring lingam, sita, built a linga of sand from sea shore.
Viswanathar Linga said to have been introduced by Lord Hanuman from Banares. This Shivalingam is generally known as Kasilingam and Hanumalingam. Prayers are provided to Viswanathar before they are provided to Ramanathaswamy. It is believed to be one of the popular pilgrimage sites and there are traditional sources about it. Maratha leader dedicated rest rooms for the pilgrims during 17 th century to the temple. In the premises of temple shrines can found of many god and goddess like: visalakshi and sayanagriha .Many halls in temples are dedicated to Sethupathi Mandapam, Nandi Mandapam and Kalyana Mandapam.
Temple was built in 17 th Century. Vimana in the west corridor of the temple can be traced to be from 11th or 12th century. Jaffna king of sethupathy dynasty made immense contribution for temple. Stone blocks from koneswaram temple was also used for the construction of the Ramanathaswamy Temple. Srilankan Ruler, Parakrama Bahu made contribituion for building temple. Pradani Muthirulappa Pillai was responsible for restoration of pagodas which were damaged. It is blessed with beautiful and gigantic corridors, which is also the centre of attraction for the visitors. Rameshwaran island accommodates around 64 holy water bodies. People take bath in theses water bodies, which is considered as equivalent to penance.
People from all over India visits Ramanathaswamy for pilgrimage, as it is one amongst the four Char Dham Temples. it Is believed those who visits Rameshwar shall always reside in shivaloka. Pilgrims, who visit kaashi must also visit Rameshawaram to complete their pilgrimage. Mahasivarathri and Dasara are the main festival celebrated in temple with utmost joy and zeal. Many other festivals like : Kantha Sashti, Vasanthotsavam and Ramalinga Prathishtai are also celebrated in the temple.
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