Monday, 22 October 2012

Rämanäthaswämi Temple, Rameswaram

Rämanäthaswämi Temple, Rameswaram
                                       
Another well-known example of the late Dravidian style is the Rämanäthaswämi Temple at Rämeçwaram, where the famous bridge built by Çré Räma’s to reach  Sri Lanka is still seen with NASA pictures.

One of the 12 Jyotirliìga-Temple
Rämeçwaram is one of the twelve Jyotirliìga-Temples, where Çiva is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirliìgam meaning ‘pillar of light’.

Reference in Sanskrit Epic Rämäyaëa
The Temple is closely associated the Rämäyaëa and Çré Räma’s victorious return from Sri Lanka. The Temple of Çré Rämanätha stands on the eastern shore of an island, which is shaped like a conch, which Lord Viñëu bears in one of His hands. A magnificent railway bridge over a kilometer long and constructed at the beginning of the twentieth century connects it with the mainland.

The Rämeçwaram Temple consists of two shrines, which are enclosed by three prakärams - concentric walls. The outermost enclosure which measures 268 metres in length, and 205 metres in width is a plain wall 6 m high with four gopurams, built in keeping with the best traditions of 17th century.

Räjagopuram



Rämeçwaram Räjagopuram is also quite striking and is the 9th tallest Gopuram in India.


Famous Gopurams*
Place
Tier
Height
Builder
1
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Trichy
13-tiered
240 feet
1980
2
Arunachaleswara Temple
Tiruvannamalai

217 feet

3
Ekambareswara Temple
Kanchipuram

194 feet

4
Sri Andal Temple
Srivilliputhur
11-tier
192 feet

5
Southern Rajagopuram of Minakshi
Madurai
9-tier
-1511 sculptures
160
feet
Sevvanti Murty Chettiar in 1559 CE
6
Eastern Rajagopuram of Minakshi
Madurai

153 feet
Maravarman
Sundara Pandyan
7
Sarangapani Temple
Kumbakonam
12-tier
146 feet

8
Suchindram
Kanyakumari

134 feet

9
Rameswaram
Rameswaram

126 feet

*Why do I give this Table every time. So that each write-up is independent, and one can visualise immediately.

1000-pillared Hall/Corridor
By far, the grandest part of the Temple is the 1,219-metred pillared corridor that is the longest corridor among all the Temples in India. The 3.6 meter high pillars are big blocks of granite, richly carved and well proportioned. The pillars run uninterruptedly for a length of nearly 230 meters.



Some Thousand Pillared Halls
No. of Pillars

Rameswaram
1,212
longest in India
Madurai
985
Some Pillars are Musical Pillars
Sri Rangam
936

Chidambaram



Puranic Legend
According to tradition, the bridge here was built for Çré Räma to cross over to Sri Lanka when He set out to recover Devé Sétä. Since it was built by Çré Räma Himself, who in time-honoured tradition built the Temple, it is held in particular reverence. After killing Rävaëa, He returned to India (in whatever name it was known then, and in a place (now known as Rämeçwaram) he offered worship to Lord Çiva to expiate the sin, caused by killing a brähmaëa. Intending to set up a liìga, He directed Hanumän to bring one from Kailaça within a stipulated time. Hanumän was delayed. Meanwhile the propitious/auspicious hour for installation having arrived, Devé Sétä herself prepared one with sand, and offered it worship. This is the liìga of Çré Rämanätha in the Temple. When Hanumän returned with a liìga, he found that he was rather late. He was upset, and attempted to uproot the Rämaliìga, but failed. To pacify him, Räma directed that the liìga brought by Hanumän, the Viçvaliìga should also be set up, and that worship should be first offered to it. This is the second liìga worshipped in the Temple.

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Work in progress
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