The temple of Ramanathaswamy is located to the southern end of the Indian Peninsula on an island called Rameshwaram. The island sanctified by the footprints of lord Rama stands proud of the Ramanathaswamy Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva whose worshipable deity was Lord Rama himself. The popular temple lies next to the sea of bay of Bengal. Believed to have been built around 12th century there have been many addition so far. The temple area covers an area of 15 acres of land.
Legends opined that the Siva-Linga in the Ramanathaswamy Temple was installed by Lord Rama on his return from the Island of Lanka after killing Ravana. Lord Rama wanted to absolve himself of the sins of killing the Lanka King Ravana, who was a Brahmin by birth. Lord Rama sent Hanuman to Mount Kailasha to bring the Linga. When Hanuman was late Sita made a Linga out of sands with her hand . Thus,the Linga came in to existence and came to be known as Rama -Linga.
There is a deity of Hanuman placed on the main entrance seen trying to remove the sand Rama -Linga. The Temple has a long corridors with large sculptured pillars that are designed with intricate carvings. The corridors are the longest temple corridor in India. The corridor is 9m high and 21 feet wide. The Ramanathaswamy temple contains a total of about 1212 pillars in the north and south corridors. There is the huge bull Nandi, the carrier of lord Shiva towards the east entrance. The sculpture is 5 meter long and 3 m high.
As one goes to the interior of the temple there can be seen the Ramanathaswamy Siva shrine. In the principal sanctum or the altar , there is placed the Linga of Sri Ramanatha. The Vishwa- Linga installed by Hanuman rests to the right of the Ramatha- Linga on a different altar . The Shrine of Parvathavardhini, the consort of Sri Ramantha is to the left side of the linga. There is also a shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu called Setu Madhava.
There are to be found 22 teerthams or tanks in the temple where pilgrims traditionally bath before offering puja to the deities. Some of the important tanks are Mahalakshmi, the tank of wealth, Gayatri, tank to get rid of Curse and Setu Madhava to get the blessing of Lakshmideva. The Surya tank is famous for acquiring knowledge of the past, present and future.
Daily Chores in the Temple
Six worship services are carried out each day, the first being at 5am and it continues till the dark evenings. Special pujas are offered to the deity with great festivity every Friday. The whole day sees the temple surrounded by a large population of devotees.Non Hindus are not allowed inside the inner Sanctum.
Lord Rama is worshiped in the month of Aani or June and July according to the English calender. Two annual Bhrammotsavams are celebrated in the month of Aadi and in Maasi. Other festival held in the temple premises are Adi Thirukalyanam in June, Mahalaya Amavasai in September, Ramalingam Prathastai Mayand Navarathri Festival in October.