Holy Pilgrimage – Temples in Tamilnadu State
Pasupateeswarar temple, Karur
Pasupateeswarar temple is located in karur and is one of the seven Sivastalams in Kongu Nadu. This city was called karuvoor during the time of Sambandar's visit to this temple.
MythologyLegend says that Kamadhenu, the mythological cow, meditated upon Siva to receive his blessings and the name Aanilai. Brahma is said to have worshipped the presiding deity here. Thus the Sthala Theertham is called the Brahma Theertham.
Temple structureThe temple at Karuvoor is built on a 2.65 acres (10,700 m2) site. The front Gopuram is 120 feet (37 m) in height. The presiding deity in the main shrine (Moolvar) is a swayambu lingam. He is called Pasupateeswarar or Aanilaiappar. There are two images of Ambal here, Sundaravalli and Alankaravalli. The shrine of female deity Sundaravalli is facing south. Images of mythological characters are found on the tower. There are 2 corridors inside the temple. The 100 pillar mandapam is a prominent portion of the temple.
Poems on this templeSundarar and Sambandar composed Thevaram Pathigam in this temple.
FestivalsThe sun's rays falls on the lingam 3 days in a year during the Tamil month of Panguni (mid March to mid April). The annual Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the same month. Other festivals include the Eripaththa Nayanar utsavam, Navaratri in September, and Arudra Darisanam in January.
LocationThis Shivasthalam is situated 42 miles (68 km) by road from Coimbatore. There is also a railway station at Karur on the Erode - Tiruchy section of the Southern Railway, and it is about 70 km from Erode and 75 km from Tiruchy.
Kodumudi is one of the Shiva temple in Kongu nadu. Pandiya kings have patronised the temple regularly and because of the connection of Pandiya kings, this shivasthalam is called as Tiruppandikodumudi .Kaveri river coming from the northwest turn to the east at Kodumudi. This Shiva temple is on the west bank of river cauvery.
MythologyLegend has it that in a test of strength between Adiseshan and Vayu, 5 gems are said to have gotten scattered from the head of Adisesha. A ruby stone landed at Tiruvannamalai, an emerald at Eengoimalai, a Blue sapphire at Potikai, a manikkam at Vaatpoki and a diamond rested here in this temple.
The legend of Agasthyar travelling to the South to tilt the balance of the earth is associated with Paandikkodumudi. It is believed that the waters of his kamandalam flowed from here as the Kaveri river to alleviate the misery of the farmers downstream. The Vinayakar here is referred to as Kaviri Kanda Vinayakar.
Endowments from the Pandyan rulers such as Malayathuvuja Pandian, Maravarman Sundarapandian and Pandiya Kesarivarman are some of the kings who have donated land, jewellery etc. to this temple.
Temple structureThe east facing temple is 640 feet in length and 484 feet in breadth. The temple houses the shrines for Lord Shiva, Lord vishnu and Lord Brahma, hence the name Trimurthy Kovil. This vast temple has 3 entrances on the east side. To the north of the central gate lies the entrance for the shrine of the presiding deitylord shiva known as Kodumudi Nathar, Makuteswarar. To the south of the central gate lies the entrance for the shrine of female deity his consort mother parvathy known as Panmozhi Nayaki, Soundarambika.The lord Vishnu is called as Veeranarayana Perumal . Kunchitapaada Natarajar has both his feet on the ground, in contrast to the raised left foot.The stala Vriksham is Vanni tree and the Theertham is river Kaveri.
Poems on this templeSambandar, Appar, Sundarar have composed the Pathigams. Sundarar composed his Namachivaayappatikam here Several literary works praise the glory of this temple.
FestivalsBhrammotsavam is celebrated in the tamil month Chittirai, in addition to Aadipperukku where lighted lamps are set afloat in the river. The sun's rays illuminate the sanctum of Shiva and Ambal for a period of 4 days in the tamil months of Panguni and Aavani. The other festivals are Aippasi Pournami, Thaippoosam & Arudra Darisanam .
LocationThis Shivasthalam is situated about 40 km from Erode. The temple is very near to Kodumudi railway station which is on the Erode - Tiruchy section of the Southern Railway.
Temple LoresSthala Puranam (Mythology)
A well known divine story of the temple starts with the combat between Aathisesha and Vaayu ( God of life and element 'air'). This war pulses the holy Meru (Divine hill) and makes one Apex into five pieces, after this war the five pieces of the apex changes into five Swayambulinga Sivasthalas. These five sthalas are considered as five types of precious stones as follows:
- Emerald - Thirueengoimalai (nearer to Musiri)
- Red - Thiruvannarmalai
- Blue - Kuttraalam
- Manickam - Sivaaya Malai
- Diamond - Kodumudi
The following song is in praise of Makudeswara, the lord of the temple.
- கொடுமுடி நாதர் துதி
- காவிரிக்கரை கொண்ட திருப்பாண்டிக்கொடுமுடி,
- கோலமுது சூழ் மும்மூர்த்தி நற் தலமதில்;
- தாவியக்கரை ஓடும் முன்வினை பாவங்கள்,
- தாள் பணிந்திட்டேன் சுந்தரநாயகியின் நாதனே;
- கூவி யிக்கரையில் வன்னி னிழல மர்ந்து,
- கவி பாடும் பிறை சேகரனின் சொல்லேற்க
- வாருமே நமசிவாயமே! நமசிவாயமே!
Holy water pointsTheertham - This defines the holy river Kaviri and other Holy water origins inside the temple, i.e. Bharadhwaja Theertham, Brahma Theertham, Deva Theertham viz.
Every year for Thaipposam kavadi, holy water from river cauvery at kodumudi is taken in pots to Palani Dandayudhapani temple for ablution. The temple thalapuranam says that during Thirumalai Naicker's regime, his commander appointed Sarswat Gurukal from Kodumudi. Then after few years, again the descendents of Pulipani siththar regained their rights and are managing the daily rituals of navapashanam idol at palani till date.
Sacred TreeVanni Tree (The tree is a 3000 year old living tree.)
Chithirai Festival begins with Flag Hoist and Car riding on the day of Hastha Nakshthra and ends in the day of Chithra Nakshathra with Holy bathing in the river at morning and dehoisting the flag the evening. During this Ten days of ceremony the Uthsavamoorthis (festive deities - Siva, Vishnu) will be taken out on different types of Vahanas for dharsan.
The 18th day of Aadi Tamil Month is the day for Holy bath in river Kaviri. During this function the Uthsavamoorthi will be taken to the river bank and there will be a function called "Deepam" conducted by Thirukovil, at 6.00 P.M. The Last Friday of the Aadi Month is the day of making Decorations to all deities with sandalwood powder.
The Moola Nakshathra day of Aavani Tamil Month is a day of Siva, Peruman who blesses the living being at the river bank is called Pittu Thiruvizha. Rohini Nakshathra day of Aavani Month is the birthday of Lord Krishna and so called as "Krishna Jayanthi". These festival is conducted for two days with the procession of Lord Krishna Festive deity.
Aswini Nakshathra of Aipasi Tamil Month is the day of Annabishekam (Abishekam with cooked rice) to Lord Magudeshwara and Sasti Festival of six days duration which ends with the Soora Samhara. The Seventh day function is the Marriage Ceremony of Lord Muruga with Valli, Devasena.
Krithika Nakshathra day of Karthigai Tamil Month is the day of "Karthikai Deepam" (Day of light). The last Monday of these month is the day for the "108 Sankabishekam" (conches filled with Kaviri water).
Thiruvathirai Nakshatra day of Margazhi Tamil Month is the day for Lord Nataraja, Nataraja abishekam is a process of specialized pooja for the dancing Sivaperuman. Procession, Festive deities will be taken out for the public dharshan. The "Ekadhasi" is the day of entering in the Gateway to reach "Vaikuntham" (Heaven of Mahavshnu). This function is followed by the procession of "Uthsavamoorthis".
Pushpa Nakshathra of Thai Tamil Month is the day of "Theerthavizha"
Mahasivarathri is a grand saivaite festival to receive the bless and bliss from the Supreme Divine grace Sivaperuman.
Uthra Nakshathra day of this Panguni Tamil Month is the day of worshiping Lord Muruga.
Transport FacilitiesThis sthala is situated in the main route of Erode-Trichy, Madurai highways and with source of confluent Train facilities. And so Trains from Erode towards Trichy, Madurai, Kaniyakumari, Thirunelveli, Tuticorin are at the benefit for the devotees. Both Train and Bus facilities are available to reach Kodumudi.
- Trichy 100 km
- Coimbatore 100 km
- Salem 100 km
- Erode 38 km
- Karur 26 km
- Tiruppur 60 km
- Gobichettipalayam 70 km
- Namakkal 45 km
- Chennai to Trichy Airport - Karur(bus travel) - Kodumudi
- Chennai to Coimbatore Airport - Erode(bus travel) - Kodumudi
Tiruppukkozhiyur or Karunaiyaaththaal Temple is located at Avinasi near Coimbatore. The word Avinasi means "that which is indestructible". Avinashi is also referred to in inscriptions as the Dakshina Varanasi. This is one of the seven Shivastalams in Kongu Naadu.
MythologySundaramoorthy Nayanar on his way to Tiruvanchikulam is said to have miraculously rescued a boy from the clutches of a crocodile, in Tamaraikkulam here & this event is commemorated during the 'Mudalai Vaai Pillai' Utsavam on Panguni Uththiram. There is a shrine to Sundarar on the shore of the Tamaraikkulam. Brahma is said to have worshipped the Shiva here for 100 years. The elephant of Indiran, Iravadham is said to have worshipped at this shivasthalam for 12 years.
Temple structureThe Shiva temple at Avinasi is spread over an area of 1.5 acres (6,100 m2). The main rajagopuram is on the east side with 7 tiers. Inside there are two corridors. At the main entrance, the sculptures of Narthana Ganapathy can be found on both the sides. Once we enter, there is a mandapam and the sculptures of Veerabadhirar, Oorthava Thandavar, Kaali can be seen on the pillars of the mandapam. The main shrine is for Lord Shiva known as Avinasiappar and the Ambal his consort is known Karunambikai . Ambal's sanctum is to the right of Avinasiappar's sanctum, unlike that in most temples. The mandapam in front of Ambal's sanctum has interesting sculptural work.The pathways on the four sides of the sanctum sancotrum are decorated with the images of Nayanmars, Murugan Sannadhi in the northwest and Karaiakal Ammaiar Sannadhi on the northeast. The large Nandi here and the carved image of a scorpion in the Ambal sanctum are of significance here. Several other carvings here deserve attention. Avinashiappar temple is a protected monument under the Archeological survey of India. The Theertham here is a well, called as Kasi Gangai Theertham. The sthala Vrisham is Paatiri. There is a shrine for Kaalabhairavar and is being worshipped here with the offerings of Vadai Maalai.
Poems on this templeThe Nayanmars thevaram Pathigam is composed by Sundarar Sundaramoorthy Nayanar .Tirumular's Tirumantiram, Arunagirinathar's Tiruppugazh & Manikkavacakar's Tiruvacakam refer to this shrine.
Festivals'Mudalai Vaai Pillai' Utsavam during Panguni Uththiram commemorate the rescue event done by sundarar. The annual Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the Tamil month of Chittirai. The Car festival attracts large crowd and the festival car here is said to be on par with Tiruvarur.
LocationThis Shivasthalam is situated 40 km from Coimbatore and about 14 km from Tirupur. The nearest railway station is at Tirupur. Tirupur railway station is on the Coimbatore - Erode section of the Southern Railway. Another paadal petra sthalam Tirumurugapoondi is about 5 km from here
Located at Venjamankoodalur near Karur, this temple is classified as one of the Kongu Naattu temples. Karuvoor Aanilai is another Shivastalam located nearby. The sanctum of this temple bears depictions of the 7 Thevara temples in Kongu Naadu.
MythologyLegend has it that a hunter king by name Venchan is said to have worshipped Shiva here and hence the name Venchamaakoodal. Shiva is said to have appeared in the guise of an old priest and blessed Sundarar with gold. The king of Devaas, Indiran, is said to have worshipped the Lingam here to get rid of his sins.
Temple structureThis shiva temple is more than 1200 years old. This temple has a 5 tiered Rajagopuram. The presiding deity lord shiva is called as Vikriteswarar and the Ambal his consort is called as Vikritambika. Both the Shiva and the Ambal shrines face east. The main Lingam inside the sanctum sanctorum is 5 feet in height and the female deity's image is 2.5 feet in height. This shivasthalam has been patronised by the kings of Pandiya Naadu and many rock cut inscriptions of Pandiya Period have been found in this temple. There are shrines to the Panchalingams, Bhairavar, the 63 Nayanmars and others in this temple. The Theerthama is Vikrita Theertham.
Poems on this templeSundarar composed the thevara Pathigam here. Arunagirinathar has also visited temple.
FestivalsThe annual Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the Tamil month of Maasi with processions on vahanams and the temple chariot.
LocationTo reach this temple, one has to travel south-west 16 km from Karur on the way to Aravankurichi and go in a branch road about 10 km. The temple is located on the east bank of river Kudaganaaru.
Karur (Tamil: கரூர்) is a town and a municipality in Karur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu situated on the banks of Amaravati.
The Amaravati River is a tributary of Kaveri River in Coimbatore and Tirupur, Tamil Nadu state, South India. It is continuation of the Pambar and Chinnar rivers in Kerala.he town formed a part of the traditional Chera and Chola empires and has a number of exquisitely sculpted temples. Verappur, a place of pilgrimage connected with the history of Ponner-Sankar and temples dedicated to them is situated in Karur district. The people are very happy and unity among themselves. Here the Kalyana Pasupatheeswara Temple is famous.
Pongal, Tamil New Year, Aadi Perukku, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Annual festival at Veerapur, Annual festival for Karur Mariamman are some of the important festivals celebrated in Karur.
Thiru Kodimaada Chenkundrur(Tamil: திருக்கொடிமாடச்செங்குன்றூர்) (now referred Tiruchengode) is an ancient Hindu Temple known for its unique manifestation of Half Male Half Female Lord Arthanaareewarar (Shiva). The temple is situated on a Hill which is 2000 ft above mean sea level which could be reached either by road or climbing up 1206 steps. It is located in the town of Tiruchengode in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu which is 350 km southwest of Chennai and 120 km northeast of Coimbatore.
MythologyOnce Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma, Indra and sage Birungi went to Kailash to worship Lord Shiva. They were directed towards Lord Shiva by his Vahana, Nandhi. Everyone first had a darshan of Lord Parvathi and then proceeded to Lord Shiva. But, Sage Birungi directly marched to Lord Shiva. Parvathi Devi, annoyed by his act, sucked the flesh from the Sage's body to stop him proceeding, but the sage forwarded. Lord Shiva recognized this drama of Parvathi and blessed Birungi with a third leg. After the departure of the Sage, Lord Parvathi appeased Lord Shiva about her penance. After Lord Shiva's approval, Parvathi Devi along with her crew went to a hilltop and performed the same. As a result of this penance, she demanded a will for getting a portion for her in Lord Shiva's sacred body thus granting the devotees for a integrated worship, which was granted by Lord Shiva. This led to the manifestation of half men and half women depiction Arthanaareswarar. Thus Lord Parvathi took up the left side and rest right by Lord Shiva. This signifies the creation of this manifestation.
It is also believed that long ago there held a battle between Adiseshan and Vayu to prove their mighty powers. This resulted in devastating disasters and the then sages gave an idea to them. Accordingly, Adiseshan has to cling to Mount Meru with his hood and Vayu has to release him by his valour. But the former succeeded. Vayu, out of anger, stopped the air as a result all living beings fainted. Sages convinced Vayu to release his hold. By the sudden release of air by Vayu lead the top of the mountain with the head of Adisesha, thrown into earth on three places with flesh and blood and making it red and thus the name Chengodu. There is a 60 ft long snake carved on the hill, and hence the name as Nagamalai.
Temple structureOn top of the hill, the main Gopuram (Tower) with 5 tiers is on the north side of the hill. The compound wall of the temple is 260 feet length east to west and 170 feet length north to south. The main shrine is for Lord Shiva known as Maathoru Paagar and the Ambal his consort is known Baagampiriyaalammai. The image of the main deity is 6 feet in height, the right half of the image as male and left half of the image as female. Hence the main deity is also known as Ardhanareeswarar. Subramanya known as Chengottu Velar is located on a flat surface atop the hill. This Chengottu Velar shrine is on the back side of the main sanctum sanctorum. The Theertham in this temple is called Sangu Theertham. Although the sanctum faces the West, entrance to it is from the South. There is a water spring at the foot of the image, which is said to have been divinely manifested “Uli Padaa Uruvam”. There are many mandapams on the way for people who alight steps to take rest. The sculptures found in the mandapam in front of the Chengottu Velar shrine are of intricate designs and workmanship.
Poems on this templeSambandar composed the Tiruneelakandapathigam here, to help rid fellow travellers of an affliction. Saint Arunagirinathar has also composed Thirupugazh on Lord Subramanya here. Muthuswamy Deekshitar has sung of this shrine in Ardhanareeswaram in Kumudakriya.
Festivals“Artha Jaama Pooja” the late night worship service is considered to be of importance in this shetram. New moon days are also considered to be special events. The annual festival is celebrated in the Tamil month of Vaikasi.
LocationThis Siva temple is in Tiruchengode in the vicinity of Erode and Salem in Kongunaadu. The hill is 1900 feet height from the mean sea level. A motorable ghat road is also available to go to the top of the hill and one can reach the temple by bus or car. Another way to reach the temple is to alight 1200 steps to the top of the hill
Thiruchengode is a city and municipality located in Namakkal District, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The famous Ardhanareeswarar (see Ardhanarishvara) hill temple (one of the 64 manifestations of Lord Shiva, representing the unity of Shiva and Parvati) is situated in Tiruchengode. This ancient temple is mentioned in the Tamil work Silapathikaram as Neduvelkunru. It is also famous for Chenkottu Velavar (Lord Muruga) Temple, which is situated in the same hill.
HistoryIn ancient days, Tiruchengode was known as Thirukodimaadachenkundrur - one of the historic places in Tamil Nadu. It was also known as Thiruchengottankudi Nageswaram. It enshrines the Ardhanareeswarar (man-woman) manifestation of Shiva, representing the unity of Shiva and Parvati, is enshrined in this revered hill temple of great significance, accessible by a motorable road; this is an ancient temple mentioned in the Tamil work, Silappadikaram as Neduvelkunru. The red color of the hill is the reason that it was called Chengode. The image above, shows the view of the surrounding area from the top of the Tiruchengode hill. This temple is regarded as the 4th of the 7 Tevara Stalams in the Kongu Region of Tamil Nadu.
- It is believed that Kannagi (Silappathikaram), after demolishing the city of Madurai by fire is called to Sorgam (Destiny) by her husband Kovalan and is in a wrath at the peak of the Tiruchengode hill.
- The modern history of Tiruchengode includes many memorable events. Eminent leaders like Rajaji, EVR Periar and EVK Sampath are bound to this town.
- Tiruchengode has the pride of having the country's first Gandhi Ashram a tribute to our nation's great leader Mahatma Gandhi and opened by our country's then viceroy Rajaji (Rajagopalachari).
- Ardhanareeswarar, one of the 64 manifestations of Shiva, representing the unity of Shiva and Parvati, is enshrined in this revered hill temple of great significance, accessible by a motorable road.
Ancient walls, mandapams and sculptured pillars (now in a state of disrepair) add to the awe that this temple perpetuates, on top of the hill. The motorway and the renovated Rajagopuram are of recent origin. True to the name Nagagiri, there is a 60 ft long snake carved on the hill.
Although the sanctum faces the West, entrance to it is from the South. A majestic image of Ardanareeswarar adorns the sanctum. There is a water spring at the foot of the image which is said to have been divinely manifested (Uli Padaa Uruvam). There are inscriptions here from the times of Parantaka Chola, Gangaikonda Chola, the Vijayanagar and Mysore Kings and the Nayaks.
kannagi after burning madurai finally reached thiruchengode hill and she was taken by pushpak viman and went to heaven. and kannagi vizhla is celebrated with pomp and glory every year.
- The Tiruchengottuvelavar shrine (to Subramanyar) attracts a number of pilgrims.
- Sambandar composed the Tiruneelakandapatikam here, to help rid fellow travellers of an affliction. Muthuswamy Deekshitar has sung of this shrine in Ardhanareeswaram in Kumudakriya.
- Tiruchengode also has an Anjaneya swamy temple renovated three years before, Bathrakaliamman temple which had Kumbabishekam on 21-04-2010 and an Ayyappan temple which are very famous among the residents.
- The Sri Sundararaja Perumal Temple is located in the Kanakapatti village. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the form of Sundararajan, a synonym of love and beauty.
- Kalippatti Kandaswami Temple
FestivalsTiruchengode's major Festival is the Sengottuvelavar Car Festival known as Vaigasi Visakam (Celebrated during the Tamil month of Vaikasi). The Festival is celebrated for 15 days, with separate cars carrying sengottuvelavar, arthanareeswarar and many small lords. This festival is very famous among the nearby surrounding towns and villages.
Three worship services are offered each day. The late night worship service (Artha Jaama Pooja) is considered to be of importance here. New moon days are also considered to be special. Moliapalli annamar swamy temple is located 15 km from thiruchengodu.
RoadTiruchengode is well connected by state as well as private buses from Chennai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Erode, Salem, Mallasamudram, Namakkal, Rasipuram, Karur, Sankagiri, Attur, Paramathi Velur, Komarapalayam, Bhavani, Edapadi, Bangalore, Hyderabad etc.,
- The nearest railway station is Sankari durg (8 km) & Erode Cauvery RS (16 km)
- The nearest major Railway Junction Erode (23 km) and Salem (46 km) The nearest sub railway station for Anangur(4 km).
AirThe nearest airport is at Salem (46 km), Coimbatore International Airport (120 km) & Trichy (120 km)
This Siva temple is located close to Tiruppur and is one of the seven Sivastalams in Kongu Nadu. This temple is commonly known as Thirumuruganpondi temple in that area.
MythologyAccording to legend, Lord Murugan got Brahamahathi Dosham after killing the demon king Soorapadman in his heroic Surasamharam. To get rid of this dosham, Lord Murugan erected a Shivalingam at this place and worshipped Lord Shiva. Thus the temple is called by his name as Tirumurugapoondi. Durvasar is said to have brought the Mullai tree – the stala vriksham from Karpaka Lokam. It is believed that worshipping the deity at this shetram relieves those with mental ailments.
Temple structureThe temple has come up in about 1-acre (4,000 m2) with high compound walls on the four sides. This temple is facing west and there is no gopuram in front as in other temples. A large Nandi - visible from a distance substitutes the traditional gopuram in a mandapam situated in front of the shrine. The main Lingam inside the sanctum sanctorum is two and a half feet in height and is facing west. The presiding deity lord shiva is known as Muruga Natheswarar or Skanda Natheswarar and the Ambal mother parvathy is called as Muyangu Poon Mulaiyammai or Aavudainayagi . The shrine for the female deity is situated to the left side of the sanctum sanctorum. To the right side of the sanctum sanctorum, there is a statue for Lord Muruga which is 5 feet (1.5 m) in height. The Natarajar's tandavam here is famous and is attributed as Brahma Tandavam. The stala vriksham is Mullai and the Theertham is called as Subramanya Koopam
Poems on this templeThe thevaram Pathigam about this temple is composed by Sundarar. When sundarar planned to visit this temple, the chera king cheraman perumal nayanar gave lot of goods to this temple for the daily puja. But on the way they lost their wealth to a group of bandits. Sundarar sang a song on the praise of lord shiva and by his grace he got the goods back in the temple compound. There are two images of Sundarar here depicting his state of mind prior to and after the incident.
FestivalsThe annual Brahmotsavam falls in the Tamil month of Maasi. Brahma Tandavam is the feature of the 10th day of the festival. Other festivals observed here are Arudra Darisanam in January, Kartikai Deepam in December, Vinayaka Chaturthi in September and Skanda Sashti in November.
LocationThis temple is situated 5 km from Avinasi on the Avinasi - Tiruppur road and it is also 8 km from the tirupur railway junction.
Rameswaram, (also spelt as Ramesvaram, Rameshwaram or Ramisseram) is a town and a third grade municipality in the Ramanathapuram district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located on Pamban Island separated from mainland India by the Pamban channel and is about 50 kilometres from Mannar Island, Sri Lanka. It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar, at the very tip of the Indian peninsula. Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, is connected to mainland India by the Pamban Bridge. Rameswaram is the terminus of the railway line from Chennai and Madurai. Together with Varanasi, it is considered to be one of the holiest places in India to Hindus, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimage.
According to legend, this is the place from where the Hindu god Rama built a bridge, across the sea to Lanka to rescue his consort Sita from her abductor Ravana. The Ramanathaswamy Temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva is located at the centre of the town and is closely associated with Rama. The temple along with the town is considered a holy pilgrimage site for both Shaivites and Vaishnavites
Rameswaram is the closest point to reach Sri Lanka and geological evidence suggests that the Ramasethu was a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka. The town is in news over alleged attack by Sri Lankan navy for alleged cross border activities by fishermen, Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, Kachchatheevu and Sri Lankan Tamil refugees.
Rameswara means "Lord of Rama" in Sanskrit, an epithet of Shiva, the presiding deity of the Ramanathaswamy Temple. According to Hindu epic Ramayana, Rama, the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, prayed to Shiva here to absolve any sins that he might have committed during his war against the demon-king Ravana in Sri Lanka. According to the Puranas (Hindu scriptures), upon the advice of sages, Rama along with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana, installed and worshipped the lingam (an iconic symbol of Shiva) here to expiate the sin of Brahmahatya incurred while killing of the Brahmin Ravana. To worship Shiva, Rama wanted to have the largest lingam and directed his monkey lietunant Hanuman to bring it from Himalayas. Since it took longer to bring the lingam, Sita built a small lingam, which is believed to be the one in the sanctum of the temple. This account is not supported by the original Ramayana authored by Valmiki , nor in the Tamil version of the Ramayana authored by Tamil poet, Kambar (1180–1250 CE). Support for this account is found in some of the later versions of the Ramayana, such as the one penned by Tulasidas (15th century). Sethu Karai is a place 22 km before the island of Rameswaram from where Rama is believed to have built a floating stone bridge, the Adam's bridge, that further continued to Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram till Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. According to another version, as quoted in Adhyarma Ramayana, Rama installed the lingam before the construction of the bridge to Lanka.
HistoryThe history of Rameswaram is centred around the island being a transit point to reach Sri Lanka (Ceylon historically) and the presence of Ramanathaswamy Temple. Tevaram, the 7th–8th century Tamil compositions on Shiva by the three prominent Nayanars (Saivites) namely Appar, Sundarar and Thirugnanasambandar. The Chola king Rajendra Chola I (1012 – 1040 CE) had a control of the town for a short period. The Jaffna kingdom (1215–1624 CE) had close connections with the island and claimed the title Setukavalan meaning custodians of the Rameswaram. Hinduism was their state religion and they made generous contribution to the temple. Setu was used in their coins as well as in inscriptions as marker of the dynast
According to Firishta, Malik Kafur, the head general of Alauddin Khilji, the ruler of Delhi Sultanate, reached Rameswaram during his political campaign in spite of stiff resistance from the Pandyan princes in the early 14th century. He erected a mosque by name Alia al-Din Khaldji in honour of victory of Islam. During the early 15th century, the present day Ramanathapuram, Kamuthi and Rameswaram were included in the Pandya dynasty. In 1520 CE, the town came under the rule of Vijayanagara Empire. The Sethupathis, the breakaway from Madurai Nayaks, ruled Ramanathapuram and contributed to the Ramanathaswamy temple. The most notable of them are the contributions of Muthu Kumara Ragunatha and Muthu Ramalinga Sethupathi, who transformed the temple to an architectural ensemble. The region was repeatedly captured several times by Chanda Sahib (1740 – 1754 CE), Arcot Nawab and Muhammed Yusuf Khan (1725 – 1764 CE) in the middle of 18th century. In 1795 CE
TransportPamban Bridge (Tamil: பாம்பன் பாலம்) is a cantilever bridge on the Palk Strait that connects Rameswaram to mainland India. The railway bridge is 6,776 ft (2,065 m) and was opened to traffic in 1914. The railroad bridge is a double-leaf bascule bridge section that can be raised to let ships pass under it . The railway bridge historically carried metre-gauge trains on it, but Indian Railways upgraded the bridge to carry broad-gauge trains in a project that finished on 12 August 2007. Historically, the two leaves of the bridge were opened manually using levers by workers About 10 ships – cargo carriers, coast guard ships, fishing vessels and oil tankers pass through the bridge every month. After completion of bridge, metre-gauge lines were laid from Mandapam up to Pamban Station, from where the railway lines bifurcated into two directions, one towards Rameswaram about 6.25 miles (10.06 km) up and another branch line of 15 miles (24 km) terminating at Dhanushkodi. The noted Boat Mail ran on this track between 1915 and 1964 from Chennai Egmore up to Dhanushkodi, from where the passengers were ferried to Talaimannar in Ceylon. The metre-gauge branch line from Pamban Junction to Dhanushkodi was abandoned after it was destroyed in a cyclone in 1964
There are daily express trains connecting major cities in Tamil Nadu like Chennai, Madurai, Trichy and Coimbatore. There are weekly express trains connecting Coimbatore, Varanasi and Bhubaneswar. Passenger trains ply to Madurai and Trichy daily making railways as the majore mode of transportation. The Ramanathapuram – Rameswaram National Highway is the main connecting link to Rameswaram to the mainland Prior to the 1914 train service linking the mainland with Rameswaram, boats were the only mode of transport to ship the pilgrims to Rameswaram island
The National highway NH 49 connects Madurai to Dhanushkodi, linking major towns like Manamadurai, Paramakkudi, and Ramanathapuram in the Ramanathapuram district. The Rameswaram municipality covers a total road length of 52 km and 20 km of national highway covering about 80 percent of the town. The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation runs daily services connecting various cities to Rameswaram and operates a computerised reservation centre in the municipal bus stand of Rameswaram.
Rameswaram is the important port among all the ports in the district, having a ferry service to Talaimannar of Sri Lanka, though not operational throughout the year. Limited foreign trade is conducted with Jaffna, Kaits, Talaimannar and Colombo.
The Ramanathaswamy Temple is the most notable historic landmark of the town. Located in the centre of town, Ramanathaswamy Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva. The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines, where Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlinga meaning "pillar of light". It is also one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalam temples and is glorified in hymns by the three of the most revered Nayanar saints (7th century Saivite saints), Appar, Sundarar and Tirugnana Sambandar. The temple in its current structure was built during the 12th century by Pandya Dynasty. The temple has the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India. The breadth of these columned corridors varies from 17 to 21 feet with a height of 25 feet Each pillar is sculpted in Nayak style as in Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple. The contribution of the kings of the Sethupathy dynasty (17th century) to the temple was considerable. Large amount of money was spent during the tenure of Pradani Muthirulappa Pillai towards the restoration of the pagodas which were falling into ruins – the Chockattan Mantapam or the cloistered precincts of the temple was reconstructed by him. The rulers of Sri Lanka contributed to the temple – Parakrama Bahu (1153–1186 CE) was involved in the construction of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The eastern tower and shrine of Nataraja were built by Dalavai Sethupathy in 1649 CE The second enclosure is ascribed to Chinna Udayar Sethupathy and his son Ragunatha Thirumalai (1500–1540 CE) The third enclosure was constructed by Muthu Ramalinga Sethupathy (1725–1771 CE) – his statue is located in the entrance of the corridor.
Temple Tankshere are sixty-four Tīrthas or Theerthams (holy water bodies) in and around Rameswaram. According to the Skanda Purana, twenty-four of them are important. Of the 24, 14 are in the form of tanks and wells within the precincts of the temple. Bathing in these tanks is a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameswaram and is considered equivalent to penance. Twenty-two of the tanks are within the Ramanathaswamy Temple. The foremost one is called Agni Theertham, the sea (Bay of Bengal). Jatayu, King of the Birds, who fought in vain with the demon-king Ravana to save Sita, is said to have fallen down at Jadayu Theertham as his wings were severed. Villoondi Theertham literally translates to ‘buried bow’, is located around 7 kilometres from the main temple on the way to Pamban It is believed to be the place where Rama quenched the thirst of Sita by dipping the bow into the sea water Other major holy bodies are Hanuman Theertham, Sugreeva Theertham and Lakshmana Theertham.
DhanushkodiDhanushkodi is the southernmost tip of the island and houses the Kothandaramasamy Temple dedicated to Rama Though Dhanushkodi was washed away during the 1964 cyclone, the temple alone remained intact. It is 18 km way from the centre of the town and can be reached by road. A popular belief is that, Dhanushkodi is where Vibishana, a brother of Ravana surrendered before Rama in the epic Ramayana
Rameswaram is significant for many Hindus as a pilgrimage to Varanasi is considered to be incomplete without a pilgrimage to Rameswaram. The town along with the Ramanathaswamy temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine sites) sites comprising Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka. Though the origins are not clearly known, the Advaita school of Hinduism established by Sankaracharya, attributes the origin of Char Dham to the seer. The four monasteries are located across the four corners of India and their attendant temples are Badrinath Temple at Badrinath in the North, Jagannath Temple at Puri in the East, Dwarakadheesh Temple at Dwarka in the West and Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram in the South. Though ideologically the temples are divided between the sects of Hinduism, namely Saivism and Vaishnavism, the Char Dham pilgrimage is an all Hindu affair. The journey across the four cardinal points in India is considered sacred by Hindus who aspire to visit these temples once in their lifetime. Traditionally the trip starts at the eastern end from Puri, proceeding in clockwise direction in a manner typically followed for circuambulation in Hindu temples. The temple is one of the famous pilgrimage sites historically – the Maratha kings who ruled Thanjavur established chatrams or rest houses all through Mayiladuthurai and Rameswaram between 1745 and 1837 CE and donated them to the temple
Om Tat Sat
(My humble salutations to the great devotees , wikisources and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )