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The holy abode of Lord Shiva and the sacred land of pilgrimage, Rameshwaram is a small town of Ramanathapuram District in the state of Tamil Nadu. Nestled on the conch shaped Pamban Island that is separated from the mainland India by the Pamban Channel, Rameshwaram is positioned at the very tip of the Indian Peninsula, just 50 km away from the Mannar Island of Sri Lanka. Pamban Island, also known by the title ‘Rameshwaram Island’ is linked to the mainland by the celebrated Pamban Bridge (Annai Indira Gandhi Bridge). Venerated as ‘Varanasi of South’, Rameshwaram is also acknowledged as one of the Dhams of the Char Dham pilgrimage of India. It is believed by the Hindus that if you pay homage at the Char Dhams (four holy places; Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram) you attain the state of Moksha, i.e. complete salvation from the cycle of birth and death. Rameshwaram, an extremely revered destination of Hindus is equally treasured amongst the Shaivites as well as the Vaishnavites. The presiding deity of Rameshwaram, Shri Ramanathaswamy (Lord Shiva) is also worshipped as one of the 12 Jyotirlingams scattered across India. Additional significance of Rameshwaram is that the Ex President of India and the renowned aerospace engineer, professor and scientist Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam belongs to a fishing village near Rameshwaram named Dhanushkodi.
The term Rameshwaram can be split as ‘Ram’ + ‘Ishwaram’ which means, the ‘Lord of Ram’ i.e. Lord Shiva. It is believed that the Shiva Lingam enshrined in the Rameshwaram temple was worshipped by Lord Ram after killing the demon king Ravana of Sri Lanka and rescuing Devi Sita from his clutches.
As per the prevalent legend, the Shiva Lingam enshrined in Rameshwaram Temple was consecrated by Devi Sita and worshipped by Lord Ram. There are two different myths related to the genesis of Rameshwaram. One of the tales says that when Lord Ram along with his ‘Vanar Sena’ on the quest of Devi Sita reached this site, Ram drank water from the sea. At that moment there was a celestial proclamation which said, “You are drinking water without worshipping me”. Immediately Lord Ram formed a Shiva Lingam of sand and offered his worship at the feet of Lord Shiva. Ram also asked for the blessings that he could vanquish Ravana and rescue his consort Sita. Lord Shiva personally appeared in front of Lord Ram and blessed him accordingly. At the request of Lord Ram, Lord Shiva also agreed to reside at Rameshwaram for ever. Following that, the monkey army of Lord Ram built a bridge connecting Rameshwaram and Lanka and thus crossed the Gulf of Mannar and proceeded for the ‘Lanka Vijay’.
Another legend records that on his return from Lanka after killing Ravana, Ram along with wife Sita and brother Lakshman halted at this place and performed a Yagna to wash himself off the sin of killing Ravana; a Brahmin and the great grand son of Lord Brahma. Lord Ram had assigned the task to Lord Hanuman of bringing the Shiva Lingam from Varanasi / Kailas. Hanuman went to Kashi but didn’t come back in time. As Ram wanted to worship Lord Shiva at the pre decided auspicious moment, Devi Sita made him a Shiva Lingam of sand. This lingam is known as Ramalingam. By the time Hanuman had returned, the ‘Pooja’ was already over. Enraged Hanuman tried to unearth the Lingam made out of sand with his tail but in vain. Later, Lord Ram pacified Hanuman and installed the Lingam brought by him to the left of Ramalingam. At that time Lord Ram also declared that thenceforward the Vishwalinga (also known as Kasilingam and Hanumalingam) should be offered the first preference of Pooja amongst the two Lingams. This practice is followed even today at the Rameshwaram Temple.

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Daiwik Hotel
Rameshwaram Bus Stand, RAMESHWARAM