Who installed Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga, the 8th Shiva Lingam? Let’s unearth the secrets.

Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga is an incredible pilgrimage site for Sanatan Dharma. The Shiva temple is also known by the name of Ramanathaswamy in South India. Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Temple holds divine and religious significance. It rests on the peaceful Pamban Island in the Gulf of Mannar, on the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu. The temple is the heart of Shaivites, or the devotees of Shiva and the 8th Jyotirlinga. As per ancient Indian mythology, Vedic story, and other folklore, Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga is self-manifested. It also comes into the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams in Bharat. 

However, let’s learn about the temple in detail and grow our knowledge so we can become more aware of the world’s oldest Sanskriti. 

Significance of the Radiant Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga

Ramanathaswami Temple holds the infinite cosmic energy of Lord Shiva. He resides in the temple as the Swamy of Rama, the 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu. Devotees across the world believe that whoever visits Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga, Lord Shiva bestows his blessings and fulfills the desires. 

Legends of the Ramayana

During the 14 years of exile, Rama and Sita spent a wonderful time together with Lakshmana in the forest. They killed rakshasa and evil forces to help sages and subjects live freely, performing their rituals and Yagnas. 

However, the last year of exile was challenging for Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita. 

Surpanakha: The Demon Sister of Ravana

One day, Surpanakha, in her quest to avenge her husband’s death, was wandering in the woods. She was looking for a powerful demon to help kill her husband’s murderer. 

However, in the woods, she got mesmerized by seeing two young men with beautiful bodies and dark complexions due to the exposure to the sun. Surpanakha had a lurking desire for true (bodily) love that rose after years and her husband’s death.

She confronted the beautiful brothers Rama and Lakshmana and expressed her feelings for love and marriage. Surpanakha at first asked Rama to marry her. Rama denied her advantage, saying he was married to Sita. He said she should approach Lakshmana, as he had not been with his wife, Urmila, for years. Surpanakha, the demon sister of King Ravana, approached Lakshmana, and he too denied her advantage, saying he was loyal and devoted to his wife, whether he was with her or not. 

Surpankha felt ashamed by getting regected and saw beautiful Sita adorned as a Sanyasini. She said, It is the woman whom you love, Rama. What if I kill her? Both Rama and Lakshmana were astonished by the revelation of Surpanakha as a demon. Lakshmana, to save her sister-in-law, brought out his sword and chopped Surpanakha’s nose and her ambition into pieces. 

Revenge of Surpanakha on Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana

With a chopped nose, Surpanakha visited her brother demon king Ravana, a great devotee of Lord Shiva, in his palace in Lanka. She narrated the whole story and sow the seed of revenge on Rama and to marry Sita because a beautiful woman like her must be in his palace instead of wandering in the woods. 

Maricha, the Golden Deer

One day, Sita saw a golden deer wandering and gazing in the woods. She was not astonished to see the animal because she always believed that the world has amazing things that unfold at the right time. Sita expressed her desire to have the deer so she could present the animal’s skin as a gift when she returns to Kaushala Kingdom, her palace, to her mother-in-law. 

Bhumija, a daughter of Goddess Bhumi, Sita’s other famous name, was keen to have the deer and requested Rama capture it. Rama didn’t deny it, as Sita never asked for anything in these years. 

Rama, the 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu, asked Lakshmana to take care of his sister-in-law until he came back with the deer. 

Lakshmana Rekha: The Circle of Fire

After some time, Sita and Lakshamana heard Rama yelling in pain. Sita was worried and requested that her brother-in-law check on her husband. Sita and Lakshmana argued for so long. Lakshama eventually accepted to go and check on the situation, but with a condition. 

He drew a circle of fire, Lakshmana Rekha, and requested that Sita not cross it until he and Rama came back. 

Ravana, as Brahmin Sage

Soon after, a Bhrahmin came for alms. He requested that Sita give him some food and grains. Sita came out with a bowl and asked the sage to stay back and accept the alms.

Bhrahmin felt disrespected and denied taking alms. 

He forced Sita to cross Lakshmana Rekha if she really cares for her in-laws and save their honor by not letting go of a hungry and thirsty sage from her home.

Sita came out and offered the alms. The Bhrahmin took his real identity as a Demon King Ravana of Lankha and kidnapped Sita forcefully. 

How did Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Temple come into existence? 

Rama, Lakshmana, and Sugriva launched a rescue mission for Sita and sent the Vanara army in different directions to wherever Lanka was. During the search mission, Rama, Lakshmana, Hanumana, an avatar of Lord Shiva, Shugriva, and the monkey army stopped at the Rameshwaram shore.

Hanuman was sent to cross the ocean to find out about the other world beyond the waters of Lanka. Anjani Putra came back with information about Sita, King Ravana, and Lanka. Everyone prepared for the battle, but the question was: how to cross the ocean with the Vanara army? 

It seemed impossible, and Rama and his army came to know about the power of Ravana and his brothers. He also knew that the battle was needed to rescue Sita. 

Suddenly, Rama felt thirsty and asked Lakshma to bring some water. Vanaras brought him water quickly from the ocean. As Rama began to drink water, he remembered that he hadn’t worshipped Lord Mahadev.

Sitapati Rama built Rameshwaram Shivalinga and started to worship Lord Mahadev intensely. He sang divine eulogies, chanted Vedic hyms, and mantras with pure devotion to Lord Shiva.

Rama devotional prayed to Lord Shiva saying, “O, the supreme one, the adiguru, parmeshwara and the destroyer of evil, I seek shelter in you.

Demon King Ravana, the greatest devotee of yours, is a mighty warrior. He is the conqueror of the Triloka and is blessed by your unshattering boons. They have made him unhashable and arrogant. 

I am a human, and how may I cross this colossal ocean with the Vanaras and avenge a war with the demon king? 

I, Rama, am also a devotee of yours. Please bless me and take my side to battle bravely with Ravana. 

Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga, the Abode of Spirituality 

Lord Mahadev was pleased with the devotion of Rama and appeared before him with Goddess Parvati and Shiva ganas. Rama, Hanuman, and the Vanara army prayed to the Lord Shiva. 

Mahadev blessed Rama with love and said, “O great King of Kaushal, Rama, I bless you and may you be victorious.”

Lord Rama requested that Mahadev be present here and bless his devotees. Lord Shiva agreed and established Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga. 

With these words, Rama, Lakshmana, and the Vanara army began to build Samudra Setu to cross the ocean. 

Samudra Setu, the Adam’s Bridge

The Vanara army began to build the ancient mythical Samudra Setu, also known as Adam’s Bridge, Rama’s Bridge, and Sethu Samudram. It had been built by Lord Rama and his monkey warriors. They wrote the name of Rama on the rocks with devotion and threw them in the ocean. The bridge was made with mysterious floating stones and coral reefs to connect Rameshwaram to Lanka. The Ramayana, the epic of ancient India, mentions the Setu and how it was built. In the 21st century, devotees, Sanatan Dharma enthusiasts, and Indian mythology enthusiasts visit Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga temple to experience the divine energy of Lord Rama and Mahadev.

Folklore of Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga

Another rendition of the Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga has been narrated for years by the devotees of Lord Rama. Rama sent Hanuman to Mount Kailash to bring a linga so that he could worship. However, Hanunama could not return at the time specified by Rama. Sita made a shivalinga with sand, the Ramalingam, so Rama could worship. 

Hanuman, on returning, found that the worship had already begun. To pacify Hanuman, Rama installed the shivalinga that he brought as the Vishwalinga and blessed him that it would be worshiped before Ramalingam. 

Dhanushkodi and Kothandaramaswamy Temple

On the southernmost shores of the Rameshwaram island, there is a town named Dhanushkodi. It was the place where Vibhishana took refuge under the protection of Rama. However, in the 1964 Dhanushkodi cyclone, the whole town died, but a Rama temple, Kothandaramaswamy temple (Vibhishan Temple), survived. 

After defeating Ravana, Lord Rama, the 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu, crowned Vibhishana as King of Lanka. 

Architectural Significance of Rameshwaram Jyotirlingam Temple

Rameswaram is an amalgamation of breathtaking carvings and intricate architectural styles with abundant spiritual energy. The temple stretches over 15 acres and has 22 teerthams (ponds) to take holy dips in.

Rameshwaram temple has 120-foot Gopurams adorning the skyline of Rameswaram Island, thousands of corridors made of sandstone, 4000 pillars, beams, and high ceilings. 

The colossal granite walls of the Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga temple have intricate carvings and depictions of ancient Hindu deities. It has five main halls, such as:

  • Sukravara Mandapam
  • Anuppu Mandapam
  • Setupati Mandapam
  • Nandi Mandapam
  • Kalyana Mandapam

Inside the temple sanctum, you would find two lingams—the Ramalingam and the Vishwalingam. You may also witness a huge statue of Nandi, Lord Shiva’s vehicle.

Conclusion
Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Temple has a rich history, religious significance, and divine architectural splendor that makes the pilgrimage side the most visited destination due to the living Vedic story of the epic Ramayana.

FAQs about the Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga

How many pillars are in the Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga temple?

Rameswaram Jyotirlinga temple, especially the third corridor, which has 1200 pillars standing 22 feet high, is the world’s largest temple corridor.

How many teerthams are there in the Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Temple Premise?

You can find and experience the divine, beautiful, and cosmic energy in the 22 teerthams inside the temple premises.

Who built the 22 teerthams?

It is believed that Lord Rama shot his arrows, piercing the sand, and thus the teerthams came into existence. 

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