Many religious places in India are very popular. Similarly, Char Dham (four abodes) is one of the major pilgrimage centres in India. According to the belief of the Hindu religion, by traveling to Char Dham (four abodes), anyone attains salvation. Char Dham, situated in four directions, is not only the centre of the Hindu faith but also the story of mythological history. Like gold in metals, diamonds in gems, and human beings among creatures are best. In the same way, these 4 Dhams have more importance in all the pilgrimage sites.
In this article, we will talk about one of the four abodes Rameswaram Temple. Rameswaram is one of the four Dhams. Dwarka, Jagannath Puri, and Badrinath are the other three Dhams. And if we talk about Char Dham, then they are Dwarka, Jagannath Puri, Rameswaram, and Badrinath. This Dham is related to Lord Vishnu. And one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva is in Rameswaram as Rameswaram Jyotirlinga, and therefore this place is very important for the worshipers of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.
Rameswaram is a town in Tamil Nadu on Pamban Island, southeast of India. Pamban Bridge connects Rameswaram to the mainland of India, and Rameswaram is well-known for the Ramanathaswamy Temple. Rameswaram temple is the third largest temple in South India. Rameswaram is also known as Kashi (Varanasi) of the South. Rameswaram is not only one of the major religious sites of the Char Dhams, but the established Lingam here is considered one of the 12 Jyotirlingas.
History of this Temple
Rameswaram Temple, also known as Ramanathaswamy Temple, is a temple of Lord Shiva, situated on the Rameshwar island of Tamil Nadu state of India. When the temple was originally built, it was just a brick and thatch structure, evolving over the centuries into its stunning architecture of today. The history of this temple is very old. Chola kings in the 12th century built the first stone temple here, which was later modified by the Pandya dynasty and Vijayanagar rulers. It is said that the present-day temple was built in the 17th century.
Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagar also contributed a lot to this temple after conquering Lanka in 1513. The Sethupati kings of Ramnad supervised the temple's construction during the Nayaka rule. Among the finest examples of Dravidian architecture, this temple is considered one of the finest in the world.
According to Hindu mythology, when Lord Rama returned from Lanka after killing Ravana, the sages told him that Ravana was a brahmin and that you have sinned killing a brahmin so it would be best if you atoned for this sin and that's why you should worship Lord Shiva so that you can get rid of this sin. So, as per the orders of the sages, Lord Rama told Hanuman to bring the Lingam for worshipping Lord Shiva. Then Hanuman went on to bring the Lingam from the Himalayas to worship Lord Shiva according to Lord Ram's orders.
But Hanuman took a long time to bring the Lingam, and the time of worship was also running out. Then Goddess Sita, who was the wife of Lord Rama, made a Lingam of sand, and then the worship was done. After some time, when Hanuman came with the Lingam, Lord Rama established that Lingam near the same place, and the Ramanathaswamy temple was built on this Lingam. So in this way, there are two Lingam in this temple, one created by Goddess Sita herself and the second one which Hanuman brought. The first one, which Goddess Sita made, is called Ramalingam, and the Lingam, brought by Hanuman, is called Vishwalingam, but Vishwalingam is worshiped first then the Ramalingam is worshipped. There is another story of the establishment of Jyotirlinga of this temple. It is said that when Lord Rama was going to Lanka in search of Goddess Sita, then he worshiped his beloved Lord Shiva, and the place where he worshiped Lord Shiva was Rameswaram. And the Lingam, which Lord Rama made, is called Ramalingam.
The Theerthams in Rameswaram Temple
According to Skanda Purana, approximately sixty-four Tirthas (holy water bodies) are in Rameswaram, but twenty-four are the most important. Tirthas or Theerthams are temple tanks or wells where pilgrims bathe before performing prayer. Pilgrims to Rameswaram often bathe in these Tirthas as a part of their pilgrimage and find themself very blessed. Within the Ramanathaswamy Temple, there are twenty-two Tirthas, and these twenty-two tanks or Tirthas at the temple are named after different deities. The number twenty-two (22) refers to Rama's quiver, containing twenty-two arrows. Agni Theertham is the first and most important. It is believed that if you take a bath in Agni Theertham before doing worship or going inside this temple, then you will benefit a lot.
Agni Theertham is the same place where Lord Rama took a bath when returning to Ayodhya after killing Ravana. Many benefits are supposed to be derived from bathing in them, including being cleansed of sins and blessed with good health, prosperity, wisdom, and many more.
How to Reach Rameswaram
You have three options available to reach Rameswaram. If we talk about the first option to reach Rameswaram, it is by train. If you want to come by train, there is a railway station in Rameswaram itself. If there is a direct train from your city to Rameswaram then it is best otherwise you can book tickets for Madurai also and the distance from Madurai to Rameswaram is around 170 Km, and you can reach Rameswaram by train or bus from here. Talking about the second option, by Road, you can come to Rameswaram by personal vehicle or any government or private bus. The option for both private and government buses is available from any city you want to go to for Rameswaram. It may be that there is no direct bus from your city, for Rameswaram then you can go to Madurai or any other city near Rameswaram and then go to Rameswaram from there.
And if we talk about the third option, it is by flight. If you want to come to Rameswaram by flight, you have to come to Madurai for this first Because the nearest airport to Rameswaram is in Madurai, and then you can go from Madurai to Rameswaram by bus, train or car. If we talk about the best option out of these three options, then it is by train because it will be the cheapest and most convenient for you. Also, if you come to Rameswaram by train, you will get a wonderful experience of traveling by Pamban Bridge (the longest sea bridge in India). When the train passes through the Pamban Bridge, it looks very beautiful.
Rameswaram temple is located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which looks very beautiful to see. The temple of Rameswaram is also an attraction in itself. People from different countries also come to India to visit this temple. The corridor of this temple is considered to be the world's largest corridor. It is justly known as a visually breathtaking experience to walk the broad corridor that surrounds the shrine. In terms of architecture, the door to this temple, the wall, and the pillar are also very interesting to see. The remains of Rama Setu are still visible in the ocean near the Rameswaram temple. Here you will get a chance to travel on the Pamban Bridge. You must visit the Rameswaram temple once in your life. If you are a sea lover, then Rameswaram is for you. Apart from the Rameswaram temple, there are many more places to visit in Rameswaram which are popular tourist destinations.