Taking the Ganga water to Rameshwar, is considered as a very suspicions and pious thing to do after the pilgrimage of the four holy shrines. After taking a holy bath in the Bindumadhav with Ganga waters, the holy water is carried and offered in Dhanushkoti Setumadhav, After this a little sand from here is carried to Prayaga’s (Alahabad) Venumadhav and immersed in the Triveni Sangam there from Triveni Sangam, a little Ganga water from here is brought home. Completing this ritual is believed to make one’s pilgrimage to the Char Dham of the four holy places complete and successful.
On the southern seaside of India, at the bottom most corner, Rameshwar sea shrine is located. This JyotirLinga is one of the above mentioned four holy shrines.
In classics like the Skanda Purana, Sivapuranam etc., Rameshwar is shown as a very important place The Story of Rameshwar goes like this:
After Sita’s abduction, Ram wandered in the jungles looking for here. While doing so, he met with Sugriva. and made friends with him. Later with the help of special messenger Sri Hanuman, he found out where Sita was taken. Then Rama prepared an army to invade Ravan’s empire and reached the Southern seashore. He did not have any means of crossing the sea. Lakshman and Sugrive saw Rama, who is a Shiva devotee in great anguish and could do nothing. But Ravan received some special boons from Lord Shiva. Rama was aware of this and therefore, his fears could not be set at rest. In the mean time, Rama full thirsty. Just as he was about to drink water, he remembered that he was yet to perform Shiva Pooja. He immediately made a
Parthiv Linga and worshipped it with sixteen methods, i.e. Shodasopachar Vidhis.
Ramiiji prayed to Lord Shiva ardently and soulfully, and sang songs Lord Shiva’s praise in a loud voice. He danced and made the sounds of “Aagad bam bam”. This pleased Shiva immediately and instantly appeared before Rama and told him that could ask for any boons and that he would grant them. Ram showed a lot of care, affection and love to Shiva and prayed and paid obeisance. Rama said’lf you wand to grant me my wishes, please stay on this earth for the sake of all and make if holy’ Shiva granted the same by saying “Evamastu” meaning “so be it’ He then stayed there and came to be known as Rameshwar, in the from of a Shiva Linga and become popular.
With the blessings of Lord Shiva, Rama killed all the demons including Ravana and become victorious. Any one who takes a Darshana of the JyotirLingas at Rameshwar, and sprinkles the holy water of Ganga, attains salvation and attains Kaivalya Moksha or Nirvana.
The place where the JyotirLingas is located, a large and expansive Temple has been built. It is famous in the world as a typical architectural example. In the Ramond district of Tamilnadu, This Temple is situated on a big island of sand. It is worth seeing and is a wonderful experience. The main entrance of the Temple tower has ten stories. Its structure carvings, statuettes and the peaks make people dumbfounded. The grandeur of the Lord is really felt here. The human weakness for being narrow-minded is automatically removed and they feel their horizons broadened.
On the tall stone pillars of Temple, beautiful carvings can be seen. Elephants with their trunks raised are seen. The four sides of the Temple are enclosed by strong stone walls. They are 650 ft. and 125 ft. wide and tall respectively. This wonderful temple built on the sand island, is a work of great art and very impressive.
Near to a gold plated pillar, a river is carved on a monolithic stone of 13 feet high and a foot wide. This indeed is a typical example of beautiful sculpting.
Near the main temple of Rameshwar, there is a separate Temple for Parvati known as Parvatavardhini Temple. Besides this, there are temples of Santana Ganapati, Veerabhadra Hanuman, Navagrahas, Ammandevi, etc. At a distance of about nearly 2 kilometers from the main temple, there is Gandhamaadhan mountain. Ramkhai, Ramjharokha, VibhishanaTemples must be seen. Inspite of beeing a sandy area, it is very green with a variety of flora. This is the Nandanavan of Rameshwar.
This island shrine consists of 24 odd shrines like RamaTeerth, Site Kund, Jata Teerth, Lakshman Teerth, KapI Teerthas, -Brahmakund, GalawaTeerth, Mangaia Teerth, Kodandaram Teerth, PandavTeerth etc, The waters at all these place is sweet and has a taste of its own. Every Teerth has a typical story attached to it. Devotees take Darshan and feel purged by doing so.
The entire management of the Rameswar Temple is with the Government of India. It’s management and maintenance is done in a regular methodical way. Giving alms and begging are banned here by Government employees.The well-oiled working of the management is a source of pleasure for devotes.
The method of worship, amount of donations and rates for the Pujas are fixed. The devotees get a receipt from the office after payment, before hand. This receipt has to he submitted along with the bowl of distance to the priest.The Puja can be observed from a distance Prasada is given afterwards.
The Rameswar Linga statue is covered in silver sheet, and glittering diamonds. Seshnag, the snake god, stands up with his hood covering the Linga like an umbrella. The ling is worshipped with Ganga water and Bilva leaves. People think that they become sacred after taking Darshan. Festival like Pradosha and Shivaratri etc, the Rameshwar Palanquin is mounted on the elephant and taken on a profession. Tuesdays and Fridays Parvatimata, a 3 feet high golden statuette and palanquin is also taken out.
The festival statuettes are decorated with new clothes and jewels. In all festival the temple is decorated with lamps. The beauty of the temple lit with these lamps, must be seen to be believed. Everyday, right from 4 am till 1:10 P.M. devotes keep coming to the temple and prayers go on. After the Harati at night, the Lord is made to sleep in a Golden swing i.e., the Bhoga statuettes of Shankara and Parvati put to bed.
During MahaShivaratri and on the 15th day in month of Ashadha (Rainy season) a Badatra mela(fete) takes place, with great festivity. Devotees flock here on these days and at all times right from Nepal and entire India. People in a variety of dresses, attired differently come here. It is indeed an example of the Indian motto “Unity in Diversity”
Jay Shil Rameshwar! Jay Shri Rameshwar! Jay Shri Rameshwar!!!