Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Temple - Mythology, History, Timing & Location

12 Jun 2024
Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Temple - Mythology, History, Timing & Location
Posted by: Sumeet Chopra

About Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga

Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga temple is one of the most important shrine places in India and has its own mythology importance. The structure is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India and is perhaps the most revered temple for Lord Shiva. In this blog, we will let you know about the facts, mythology, history, temple timing of Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Temple in Tamil Nadu. Besides, there are some interesting facts about Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple and a brief introduction to the other 11 Jyotirlinga shrines.

Location of Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Temple

Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and is situated in the town of Rameswaram on Pamban Island, Tamil Nadu state of India. Rameshwaram is accordingly located in the Gulf of Mannar lying close to the island state of Sri Lanka and in the southernmost part of India. The town has access to the mainland by; the famous Pamban Bridge. 

It is well connected by road, rail as well as air, and the nearest airport and railway station to reach Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Temple is in Madurai which is 170 km away from the temple.

History of Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga

The Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple has a rich background that is associated with Hindu mythology, folk tales and legends, and history. People have approached faith and folklore to attribute the origin of the temple to the construction at the hands of Lord Rama after defeating the demon king Ravana.

Mythological Origins

As per the mythology, once the God Lord Rama won over Ravana, he wished to be relieved from the sin of killing a Brahmin. To attain the forgiveness of Rama, he planned to pray to Lord Shiva and ordered Hanuman to fetch a Shiva Lingam from the Himalayas region. While Hanuman was coming back he got delayed, so for helping herself Sita made a shivling of sand. The Lingam thus became known as the Rameshwaram  Jyotirlinga. 

Historical Development

There are instances in many early documents and texts about the district which prove that it has been in existence for centuries. The Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga temple has seen several changes over the years having been expanded or built from time to time by the cholas, the pandya dynasty,

Special Features of Rameshwaram Temple

Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple is one of the most popular temples known for its fine work of architecture and religious importance.

Architectural Marvel

It is perhaps the most captivating temple structure with rich carved decorations, elevated towers, and imposing corridors. The temple boasts the tallest tower, the rajagopuram which stands at 53 meters tall and is one of the tallest in South India.

Longest Temple Corridor:

Another attraction of Rameshwaram Temple is the long corridor, which is the largest in comparison to all other temples for Hindus. The said corridor measures over 1,200 meters and the pillars and ceilings in the corridor are sculpturally designed.

Sacred Tanks (Theerthams)

The temple has 22 holy water bodies or theertham, where pilgrims take a dip before entering the sanctum sanctorum. All theertham are considered to have specific curative powers and are spelled according to the legend and gods and goddesses.

Main Shrine

The principal deity of the Rameshwaram shrine is the Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga which consists of two lingas namely the Ramalinga built by Sita and the Vishwalinga brought by Hanuman. People used to pay their respect to the Vishwalingam before offering their prayers to the Ramalingam.

What is Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga's Significance and History?

The story which is associated with the Temple of Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga comes from the great Hindu epic, the Ramayana.

  • Rama's Journey: Following the defeat of Ravana and the rescue of his wife Sita, Rama travels to India with Sita and his brother Lakshmana. However, Rama had the problem of the sin of killing Ravana who was a Brahmin and to absolve his sin, he prayed to Lord Shiva.
  • Hanuman's Quest: Rama ordered Hanuman to get a Shiva Lingam from the Himalayas. Filled with immense determination Hanuman started off. At the same time Rama and Sita went to Rameshwaram and waited for his arrival.
  • The Sand Lingam: Hanuman on his part remained busy in search of other captives and as such his return was delayed and Sita knowing well that Rama worships only at the auspicious moments created a Shiva Lingam out of sand for him to worship. Having brought the Lingam, Rama placed it right beside the sand Lingam and hence it is the Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga.
  • Significance: The Hanuman in the story increases and depicts his loyalty and love for Rama and Sita and also blesses the Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga, which is portrayed to pursue redemption. There are many stories about this Jyotirlinga; people who prayed to this deity are believed to have their sins forgiven and are provided with moksha.

Some Facts about Rāmēswara Jyotirliṅga

  • Unique Lingams: The Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga temple / Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples which actually comprises two Lingams – Ramalingam and Vishwalingam. It is mandatory on the part of devotees to have the darshan of the Vishwalingam before coming to the Ramalingam.
  • Longest Corridor: The sacred hallway that is the internal temple aisle of this temple has 1202 meters and more than 1202 carefully designed pillars.
  • Sacred Theerthams: In Tamil, ‘theertham’ translates to a sacred pond or water body, and there are twenty-two theerthams in the temple premises. Each theertham is not only holy but also possesses concrete curative qualities according to the tradition.
  • Architectural Excellence: The Rameshwaram Temple is particularly acclaimed for its Dravidian style of architecture with the towering pyramidal tiered tower, spacious pillared halls, and intricate details of the carvings in stones.
  • Spiritual Significance: Rameshwaram jyotirlinga is one of the twelve jyotirlingas hence one of the most important religious places for people who believe in Lord Shiva. This state is also one of the Char Dhams that are considered to be the sacred Dhamas' in the Hindu religion, coming fourth in the list.
  • Pamban Bridge: The bridge that joins the mainland with Rameswaram Island can be considered an iconic and spectacular construction and boasts a beautiful view of the Indian Ocean.
  • Festivals: The temple is also home to several significant Hindu fairs which are festive seasons such as Maha Shivaratri, Ram Navami and Diwali and most of these events are attended by thousands of people.

List of 12 Jyotirlingas in India