Rameswaram Ramanatha Swamy Temple Ramanathaswamy Temple temple dedicated to the god Shiva located on Rameswaram island , is also one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples. Rameshwaram is one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage centres in India, second only to Varanasi itself. However, a pilgrimage to Varanasi too is not considered complete without a trip to the temple of Sri Ramanatha in the island of Rameshwaram, where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva on his way back from his triumphant expedition to Lanka. The temple is said to enshrine one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India. Shaped like a conch, this colossal temple was originally built by Lord Rama himself. A magnificent railway bridge connects the island to the mainland. One can see Sethu here, the bridge said to be built by Sri Rama and his army to cross over to Lanka and the Sethupathis of Ramanathapuram (ancient name of Rameshwarm) were called the 'guardians of the Sethu'.
The Ramanatha tample sports three Prakaras, four Gopurams (two of which are incomplete) and two Lingas under worship along with twenty-two 'Tirthas' or sacred bathing places in its complex. One of the colossal Gopuram has about four thousand pillars and looks like a methodically set-up forest. The main sanctum enshrines Linga of Sri Ranganatha, which was made by Goddess Sita herself and was instituted by Lord Rama. However, there is another Linga of Vishvanatha, which was said to be made by Hanuman and was blessed to be worshipped first to pacify his anger on getting on with the ceremony withoutwaiting for him. Other highlights of Rameshwaram are Gandamadhana Parvata, Sri Kodandarama temple at Dhanushkodi, temple at Tiruppullani where the Lord obtained divine bow and arrows from its presiding Deity and the temple of Sri Anjaneya at Sethu.
Rameswaram temple is a huge structure with three parakaramsand several mandapams with mini shrines to other deities. There is a huge Anjaneya in a mini shrine. There is a huge Nandi measuring 12 feet in length and 9 feet in height., with the idols of Viswanatha Naicker and Krishnama Naicker. The lingams are housed in the inner section of the Ramalingeshwara. High walls enclose the temple, forming a rectangle with huge pyramidal gopura entrances on each side. The temple has the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India.The gateways lead to the spacious closed ambulatory, flanked to either side by continuous platforms with massive pillers set on their edges. These corridors are the most famous attribute of the temple, their extreme - 205 metres, with 1212 pillars on the north and south sides - giving a remarkable impression of receding perspective. Delicate scrollwork and brackets of pendant lotuses supported by yalis, mythical lion-like beasts, adorn the pillars. There are shrines for Ganapathi and Subramanya. To the right of the Lords shrine is the shrine for Parvathi. To its North is the Kasi Viswanathars shrine.
Legend of Rameswaram temple - The jyotirlingam was worshipped by Lord Rama to atone the sin of killing Ravana. Hanuman flew to bring the Linga from Kailasa, for Lord Rama to wroship. As it was getting late, Rama worshipped the Lingam that was made of sand by Sita Devi. This Lingam worshipped by Lord Rama is known as Ramanathar. When Hanuman returned he was disappointed that his Lord had not used the Lingam that he had brought. Lord Rama pacified Hanuman & named this Lingam Kasi Viswanathar. Devotees have to worship Kasi Viswanathar before worshipping Ramanathar.