The Temple town of Bhagavan Siva’s emergence of the penutimate Jyotirlinga of Ramalingesa happens to be celebration point of Lord Rama’s glorious victory over Ravana paying Rama’s dutiful homage to Bhagavan. Having crossed ‘Setu Bandhan’ across the Sea on the triumphant return journey from Lanka en route Ayodhya, Lord Rama despatched Hanuman to visit Varanasi to pray Viswesvara and bring a replica of the Linga from Kasi for consecrating it on the Sea coast but since Hanuman could not return by the appointed auspicious time, Sita Devi improvised a Sand Linga and installed it formally amid Vedic Mantras. Hanuman was upset and wished that the Linga blessed at Kasi Viswanadha be substituted instead and tried hard to pull it out but the so called temporary Sand Linga was ever lasting, blessing millions of devotees eversince. The Kasilinga or Hanumanlinga too was installed nearby which too is worshipped by devotees. It would be appropriate therefore that worship to Rameswara or Rathnaswami be performed after the homage to the Kasilinga or Hanumanlinga. Spread over some 15 acres of land, the Temple could boast of rich architectural heritage of high Raja- Gopurams on the East (126 feet high) and the West side, massive walls, a huge Nandi (18 feet tall and 22 feet long) and a 4000 feet long Corridor with 4000 carved granite pillars on raised platforms on either side- perhaps the longest in the World.

[It is gathered that in the initial stages, the Rameswara Jyotirlinga was kept in a thatched abode till the 12 th Century but royal patronage of passing centuries of the Kings of Travancore, Ramanadha -puram, Nagercoil and Pudukkotai helped improve the Temple Complex.]

There are some thiry six Teerthas (Water Springs) with considerable medicinal amd mineral properties – twenty of them being in the Temple Complex itself- most of the devotees bathing bucketfulls in all the twenty two Wells dotted all over the surroundings and walking along into the Sanctum drenched and then only perform the worship to the Jyotirlinga in queues! Festivals at the Rameswara Temple are celebrated in ‘Ani’ Masa (June 15- July 15) signifying Lord Rama’s victory worship to Bhagavan Siva and two ‘Brahmotsavas’ or Annual Principal Celebrations are observed in ‘Adi’ and ‘Masi’ months as per local customs. Six worships commence from 5 am each day and Special worships are on Fridays.

[Among the experiences include a memorable journey approaching or leaving Rameswaram across the Ocean preferably by train or by a road journey over a high bridge and a commanding view of Area atop the Gandhamadan Hill where a Shrine and Rama’s revered foot- prints are witnessed as also a Place in the vicinity of the Temple a heavy mineral-laden stone floating on water, apparently due to its high phosphatic content; the stone was a sample with which Setu bridge was constructed by Vanara Sena or Monkey Brigade! ]

Other Places of interest include Dhanushkoti partly submerged into Sea owing to recent cyclonic devastation and partlly ascribed to have been destroyed by Rama (the ‘Rama- Setu’) by His arrows; Tiruppulani where Rama inclined as a ‘Darbhasayi’ (lying on a Darbha mat) soliciting Varuna Deva to facilitate smooth cross-over of the Sea to reach Lanka; Shrines of ‘Nava Grahas’ whom Rama prayed to remove obsctacles during the ensuing Rama-Ravana battle; Devipatnam where barren women are blessed with progeny and Jagannadha Shrine where Ravana’s brother-a pious person-called Vibhishana surrendered to Rama and was made the King of Lanka later on.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at raovdn@yahoo.co.in