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Rameswaram
 

Rameswaram is a town in Ramanathapuram district in the 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. 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 Kashi, it is considered to be one of the holiest places in India to Hindus, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimages. Hence, it is a bustling pilgrim centre.

It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar at the very tip of the Indian peninsula. According to legend, this is the place from where Lord Rama built a bridge Ram Setu (also known as Adam's Bridge) across the sea to Lanka to rescue his consort Sita from her abductor Ravana. Both the Vaishnavites and Shaivites visit this pilgrimage centre which is known as the Varanasi of the south.

Ex-president of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, hails from a fishing hamlet called Dhanushkodi situated on this island.

Ramanathaswamy Temple

Ramanathaswamy Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to god Shiva located in the island of Rameswaram in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. According to Shaiva mythology, Lord Rama is believed to have prayed to Shiva here to absolve any sins that he might have committed during his war against the demon king Ravana. The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham shrines that has to be visited in one's lifetime and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holy abodes of Lord Shiva.

Temple structure

Ramanatha Swami Temple - Official Web site Like all ancient temples in South India, there is a high compound wall (madil) on all four sides of the temple premises measuring about 865 feet furlong from east to west and one furlongs of 657 feet from north to south with huge towers (Gopurams) at the east and west and finished gate towers on the north and south. The temple has striking long corridors in its interior, running between huge colonnades on platforms above five feet high.

The junction of the third corridor on the west and the paved way leading from the western gopuram to Setumadhava shrine forms a unique structure in the form of chess board and it is popularly known as Chokkattan Madapam where the Utsva deities are adorned and kept during the Vasntotsavam (Spring festival) and on the 6th day festival in Adi (July-August) and Masi (February-March) conducted by the Setupati of Ramnad.

The outer set of corridors is reputed to be the longest in the world being about 400 feet in each in the east and west and about 640 feet in north and south and inner corridors are about 224 feet in east and west and about 352 feet each in north and south. Their width varies from 15.5 feet to 17 feet in the east and west about 172 feet on the north and south with width varying 14.5 feet to 17 feet. The total length of those corridors is thus 3850 feet. There are about 1200 pillars in the outer corridor. Their height is about 30 feet from the floor to the center of the roof.

The contribution of the kings of the Sethupathy dynasty to the temple was considerable. Especially to be remembered are the immense sums that were spent during the tenure of Pradani Muthirulappa Pillai towards the restoration of the Pagodas which were falling into ruins, the splendid Chockattan Mantapam or the cloistered precincts of the temple at Rameshwaram that he finally completed. The temple was repaired and substantial portions reconstructed by the Nagarathars of Devakottai, especially Shree AL.AR.RM. Arunachalam chettiar, then Zamindar of Devakottai

 
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    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rameswaram   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramanathaswamy_Temple,_Rameswaram
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