This is the main temple of Rameswaram, the presiding deity being Lord Shiva, in form of a Linga. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas (major Shiva Lingas). The temple is a masterpiece of south Indian architecture. The temple was constructed by many kings in the course of time, the beginning of which was in the 12th century. Amongst the contributions made by the various dynasties, that made by Sethupathi Dynasty was the most remarkable. The temple has the biggest temple corridors in the country, the outer corridor having almost 1200 pillars of height of about 30 feet. The temple has twelve wells and the taste of the water in each of them differs from the other. Chokkattan Mandapam is a remarkable hall of the temple, the floor of which has unique design of a chess board. Here the temple deities are kept during the Vasantotsavam (spring festival).
According to the legend, Rishis (ancient sages) advised Lord Ram to install a Shiva Linga here and worship it to expiate the sin of Bramhahatya (killing of a Brahmin), as Ravan was the son of the great Sage Vishrava and great grandson of Lord Bramha. Lord Ram sent Anjaneya (Lord Hanuman) to bring Linga from Mount Kailas, who could not return in time of the auspicious moment chosen for the installation. Therefore, Goddess Sita made a Linga of sand and rituals were offered to this Linga. When Anjaneya returned with the Linga, Lord Ram installed that Linga too, beside the previous one, so that Anjaneya should not be disappointed, and named it as Vishwalingam, and ordered that rituals will be offered first to Vishwalingam.
A spiritual ‘Mani Darisanam’ or Mani Darshan (viewing of Mani, i.e. Jewel) takes place everyday early in the morning. This Mani, in form of Shiv Linga, is made of Sfatikam, which is a precious stone, and according to Veda, it is the Mani of Sheshanaag (the giant multi-hooded cobra on which Lord Vishnu rests and who holds the Earth on its head).
This temple is devoted to Lord Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Ram, who accompanied the Lord when He was exiled from Ayodhya. The Lord loved His brother, Lakshman, like a father, and the temple denotes the importance of Lakshman. The temple also has idols of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita, who were like parents to Lakshman.
2 km from the main temple, this temple houses the idols of Lord Ram, Goddess Sita and Lord Hanuman brought from Dhanushkodi at the time of the 1964 cyclone. This temple also houses the floating stone used to build the Sethu.
This is situated 3 km from the main temple, en route to Gandhamadana Parvatham. It is the place where Lord Hanuman gave the good news to Lord Ram, of finding Goddess Sita, with the evidence, i.e. Satchi, Choodamani, i.e. the jewel of Sita.
This temple on the south of Rameswaram is devoted to Jatayu, the Ram-devotee vulture, who fought with Ravan to rescue Sita from Ravan’s clutches. But Ravan cut off his wings and hurt him fatally, but still he remained alive to tell Lord Ram about which direction Ravan had gone and then died. This temple is in the honor of the great Ram-devotee. Apart from the temple, there is a pond too here surrounded by seven sand dunes. The pond water is very tasty like coconut water. Once in 12 years a festival named Maamangam is celebrated here.
This village named after Lord Ram’s bow is at the eastern end of the island. The large rocks spread around the sea here are known as Adam’s Bridge and are believed to be used by Lord Hanuman to reach Lanka. The village was completely devastated by the 1964 cyclone. Dhanushkodi is the native place of the beloved Ex-president of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
This temple is famous as it was salvaged from the 1964 cyclone. It is devoted to Lord Ram and contains idols of Goddess Sita, Lakshman (Lord’s brother), Hanuman and Vibhishana (Ravan’s brother, who was a Ram devotee and surrendered to Him here), besides the main idol of Lord Ram.
This is Pamban Bridge which connects Rameswaram to Indian mainland. It is the longest bridge in the country with nearly 2.2 km of length and is a splendid example of Indian engineering. A beautiful view of the nearby islands and the parallel railway bridge is seen from the bridge.