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Rameshwaram is one of the four dhams of Bharat. The other three are Badrinath, Jagannathpuri and Dwarka. The mandir has one of the 12 Jyotirlings consecrated by Shri Ramchandra Bhagwan after bathing in the sea and offering pujan to the nine grahs(planets).

To establish this Shivling, Shri Ram sent Hanumanji to bring one from Kailas. As he was delayed in returning, Ramchandraji consecrated a ling made from sand. When Hanumanji arrived with the Kailas ling, Shri Ram had it consecrated by Hanumanji next to the first ling. This ling was named Kashivishwanath Mahadevor Hanumanteshwar Mahadev.

The Rameshwaram mandir is spread over 20 vighas (about 12 acres) of land, enclosed by high walls. The eastern entrance has a gopuram (shikar) which is 12 storey’s high. The entrance facing the sea has a gopuram of 7 storeys. The pradakshina beginning at the eastern entrance is huge, with beautifully sculptured pillars. Besides the ling, the mandir also has murtis of Rameshwar, Shakti Parvatvardhini Amma and Vishwanath Swami with consort Vishalakshmi Amma. Facing these is a gold-plated Garud stambh (pillar) and a Nandishwar which is 12 feet in length and 9 feet high!

The mandir land was formerly owned by the kings of Ramnad. The whole mandir was completed over a period of 350 years. The rulers gifted 72 villages for the maintenance of the mandir. The Muslim Sultan Malik Gafur tried to destroy the mandir. In 1311 he built a mosque next to the mandir, though it has not gained any importance today. For Rameshwar’s puja only holy Ganga water from Haridwar or Gangotri is used. No other water is used for the pujarituals.

Other tirths here include: Madhav Chakra, Amrut-tirth, Shiv tirth and Sarva tirth. The pilgrims ritually begin their pilgrimage after darshan of Ganesh mandir 32 km from Rameshwaram. In Rameshwar, Lakshmanji consecrated the murti of Lakshmaneshwar, where Shri Ram first bathed in the lake, after defeating Ravan. This is Lakshmantirth. Besides this is Sitatirth.

Nilkanth Varni stayed here for two months, bathing daily in the sea and then having darshanof Rameshwar.


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