Tamil Nadu - Temples - Ramanatha-Swamy-Temple

Ramanatha Swamy Temple

Ramanatha Swamy one of the many worship places of Tamilnadu,located in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu. Rameshwaram, geographically is an island.

The history of the temple

Arulmigu Ramanathaswami temple is in the Island of Rameswaram jutting out of the Indian mainland on the south east coast. Though anthropologists and historians have not been able to establish the exact date that this temple came into existence, there is little doubt that the shrine is as old as the Ramayana itself. Hindu mythology records that this shrine dates back to the period, when Sri Rama returned to the island after vanquishing the Rakshaka king of Sri Lanka.

The temple and the island of Rameswaram have acquired this name because, Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva, the God of Gods here on return from Sri Lanka. According to legend, after killing Ravana Lord Rama returned with his consort Goddess Seetha to India first stepping on the shores of Rameswaram. To expiate the `dosha' of killing a brahmin, Lord Rama wanted to offer worship to Lord Shiva. Since there was no shrine in the island he had despatched Sri Hanuman to Kailash to bring an idol of Lord Shiva.

Since there was a delay in Sri Hanuman returning with the Sivalingam, Goddess Sita had moulded a Lingam out of sand and the Lord offered worship to this sand Lingam. When Sri Hanuman returned with the Kailash Lingam, he was irked that already a Lingam of sand had been installed and which had been worshipped by the Lord. He tried to remove the sand Lingam but could not do so. In order to apease him, Lord Rama had the Viswalingam brought by Sri Hanuman near the sand Lingam and both were worshipped.

This practice had been followed for centuries and is in vogue even today. According to the 'Thala Puranam' of the Sri Ramanathaswami temple, the shrine was housed in a thatched hut till the 12 century A.D. looked after by a series of ascetics. The existing records show that in the 12th century, Parakrama Bahu, king of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) constructed the sanctum sanctorum around the `Moola Lingam' (Sri Ramanathaswami) Sri Viswanath and Ambal shrine.


She is the consort of Lord Ramanatha and is enshrined separately to His right. There is a Sri Chakra installed inside. Special significance is attached to a Devi shrine situated on the right of the Lord’s shrine. In Madurai, too, the shrine of Meenakshi is situated to the right of Lord Sundareshwara. On Fridays, an especially decorated image of Parvathavardhini is taken round the temple corridor in a golden palanquin.

Vishwanatha & Visalakshi

To the north of Ramalinga shrine, Lord Vishwanatha or Vishwalinga has a separate shrine. This is one of the two Lingas brought from Kailas by Hanuman. As per tradition, pujas are first performed to Vishwalinga and then to Ramalinga. In the first inner corridor, Visalakshi, consort of Vishwanatha, is enshrined.

ayanagruha (Palliyarai)

This is in the north-eastern corner of the corridor around the Visalakshi shrine. The gold image of the Lord is ceremoniously brought here every night from the main shrine and placed in the Oonjal (swing) by the side of the Devi’s golden idol. The Sayana puja and the early morning puja, when the Lord is taken back in a procession to the sanctum, are worth witnessing.


In the first inner corridor, devotees offer worship to the venerated Spatika Linga, installed by Vibhishana. This Linga is the southernmost among the 12 famous Jyothirlingas in the country.


There is a legend associated with this shrine. Once there ruled a Pandya king by name Punyanithi. As he had no issues, he along with his queen undertook a Sethu Theertha Yatra. Soon he found a baby girl in the palace garden and adopted her as his daughter.