RANGANATHASWAMY TEMPLE, Rameshwaram
➢ The Ramanathaswamy Temple is regarded as one of the holiest Hindu temples in India. This sacred site is located on Rameswaram Island, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu between mainland India and Sri Lanka.
➢ The Ramanathaswamy Temple, which is dedicated to the god Shiva, is notable for a variety of reasons, including its outer set of corridors, which are reputed to be the longest of their kind in the world.
➢ As for the temple itself, the first structure is recorded to have been a thatched hut. In the centuries that followed, different parts of the temple were commissioned and built by the rulers of the island.
➢ During the 12 th century, the sanctum around the Ramanathaswamy Temple was constructed by Parakramabahu I, a king of Polonnaruwa (located in modern day Sri Lanka).
➢ The most important dynasty in the building history of the Ramanathaswamy Temple, however, was the Sethupathi Dynasty, who ruled over Ramnad and Sivaganga during the 17th century.
➢ The present structure of Sri Ramanathaswamy temple is spread across 15 acres of land. The temple is built on rising ground above a small lake. Quadrangular in shape, it is about 1,000 feet (305 metres) long and 650 feet (198 metres) wide. The temple’s outstanding features are its 700-foot- (213-metre-) long pillared halls, which open into richly decorated transverse galleries.
➢ The temple’s main tower (rajagopuram in east) is about 126 feet height. The tower in the west is about 78 feet height. The South and the North Gopurams [Towers] with a height of 91 feet and five tier gopurams.
➢ Third Corridor, is the longest one in Asia with a 197-metre distance from East to West, 133-metre distance from South to North, with 7 metres height and is the third largest in
the world. There are 1212 Pillars in these corridors with 30 feet height from the floor to the centre of the roof, Each pillar is sculpted in Nayak style as in Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple.
➢ The temple comprises numerous ‘mandaps’ having small shrines, dedicated to other deities. The colossal image of Nandi (Lord Shiva’s Bull) captures the attention, due to its sheer size
➢ There are also shrines of Goddess Visalakshi, Parvathavardhini, Lord Ganesh and Lord Subramanya, Viswanatha, Sethumadhava, in this temple.
➢ Another important murti is of Nandi, this massive statue with a height of 17.5 feet and a length and width of 23 and 12 feet respectively is a testimony to the sculpting skills. Swamy Vivekananda offered prayers at this temple in 1897. ➢ It is located just 2 kms from the main temple, the murti of Sri Hanuman is drawn with senthooram (Vermillion). Murti of Sri Ram, Sita and Hanuman brought from Danushkodi during the 1964 cyclone are placed there. The floating stone used to build the Sethu Bandhanam or the bridge between Bharat and Lanka too can be found in this temple. ➢ Ramanathaswamy Temple is closely linked with the great epic Ramayana. As per the legend, it is believed that Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva here, on his victorious return from Sri Lanka. ➢ Ramanathswamy Temple has twenty two wells in its complex. Being the main attraction of this temple, the wells are also recognized with their distinct properties. All of these wells have water of different taste, temperature, salinity and have curative properties as well.
➢ Temple is one of 12 Jyothirlinga temples that has Shive worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlingam, or “pillar of light”.