Photographer's Note

To worship Lord Ramanatha or Ramalinga, the hallowed sand Linga made by Sita and installed by Sri Rama, pilgrims enter through the eastern gopuram. They offer prayers to Lord Anjaneya smeared with sindhoor. Then comes the Nandi Mandapa, which houses the flag staff and the Nandi. The stuccoed massive image of the bull is made of lime stone, measuring 17.5 feet high, 23 feet long and 12 feet wide. On either side of the Nandi, one finds interesting sculptural representations of the ocean gods Mahodathi and Ratnakara. The sanctum is flanked on either side by shrines of Vinayaka and Subramanya. Inside the sanctum, we worship Sri Ramanathaswamy. It is said this Linga contains marks of Hanuman’s tail, with which he tried to uproot it in a fit of anger. The Linga is decorated with silver kavacha. It is customary to offer abhisheka to the Lord with holy Ganga water.

In the front mandapa, there is a canopy, carved under which are images of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman with the two Lingas brought from Kailas, and Sugriva, appearing to be informing Rama about Hanuman’s return. In three other canopies in the front hall, we find exquisitely-carved figures of Hanuman, Gandhamadhana Linga and Agastya Linga.

The Town of Rameshwaram is situated in the State of Tamil Nadu in the southern part of India. The holy city of Rameshwaram is also usually referred to as the ‘Benaras of the South’. The presiding god in one of the Temples of Rameshwaram is the Linga of Sri Ranganatha, which is one of the twelve Jyotiralingas of India. According to the popular beliefs among people, it is compulsory to visit Rameshwaram in order to achieve Moksha.

The Ramanathaswami Temple built by Pandya kings in Dravidian architecture is a popular Hindu temple which is located in the island of Rameshwaram. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to the Shiva mythology, it is commonly believed that in this place Lord Rama prayed to Lord Shiva, to absolve all the sins which he might have committed during the battle against the demon king Ravana. The Ramanathaswami Temple is one of the holiest of the Hindu shrines that should be visited at least once in a lifetime.

The Ramanathaswami Temple, like all the other ancient temples in South India, has a high compound wall on all the four sides of the temple premises. The huge compound wall measures about 865 feet furlong from east to west and also one furlong of 657 feet from north to south. The walls have huge towers or Gopurams at the east and west and finished gate towers on the north and the south. The Ramanathaswami Temple has really striking long corridors in the interior. The corridors run between huge columnades on platforms, which are above 5 feet high. The junction of the third corridor on the west and the paved way leading from the western Gopuram to the Setumadhava shrine forms a unique structure in the form of a chess board. It is popularly known as Chokkattan Mandapam. The outer set of the corridors has a reputation of being the longest in the world. It is 400 feet each in the east and the west and about 640 feet in the north and south. The inner corridors are about 224 feet in east and west and about 352 feet each in north and south. The total length of all these corridors is 3850 feet. There are 1212 pillars in the outer corridor. The height of the pillars is about 30 feet from the floor to the centre of the roof and height of corridor is 22 feet 7.6 inches.

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Additional Photos by Mahendra Kumar Goyal (mkgoyal2004) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 94 W: 0 N: 150] (837)
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