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7th Jyotirling-Raameshwaram

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7-Raameshwaram Temple
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The 7th Jyotirling from among the 12 Jyotirling, is at Raameshwaram. The presiding deity at Raameshwaram is Lord Shiv. Raameshwaram is a grand temple that is situated about 150 kms from the city of Madurai, Tamilnaadu.  It is located in on the southern tip of India towards Bay of Bangaal in Tamilnaadu State and is called one of the 7 wonders of India. According to Tulasee's Raam Charit Maanas, it was established by Raam. When Raavan had abducted His wife Seetaa and He came to fight with him. So before crossing the sea to go to Lankaa, Raam established this Ling here. Other sources say that Raam and Seetaa established it after returning from Lankaa to appease Shiv, as Raam had killed Raavan - Shiv's great devotee. Secondly, He may atone for His sins of killing a great Shiv Bhakt and Braahman also as Raavan was a Braahman and Shiv's Bhakt. So Lord Raam had to do it also to get rid of Brahm Hatyaa Paap, or the sin of killing a Braahman. (see the story below "The Legend of Two Shiv Ling")

Description of the Temple
Dhanushkoti is the place where Raam is said to have anointed Vibheeshan the King of Lankaa. To cover these places, usually people hire auto rickshaws, drivers of which also double up as guides. Dhanushkoti was a Railway station in the eastern stretch of the island before 1964, when a massive cyclone not only devoured the town, but also uprooted the railway line. [Old British documents are quoted to claim that there were visions to lay a railway line from Dhanushkoti to Sri Lankaa. Now that seems like a dream, what with the current state of affairs.]

The remnants of the meter gauge railway line along the road to Dhanushkoti can be seen while going to in the auto rickshaw. At Dhanushkoti, lies a new temple built by some Calcuttaa businessman, after the 1964 catastrophe, in which the original Kodand Raam temple was inhumed, remnants of which are still visible over the ground. The Temple houses Raam, Seetaa, Lakshman and Hanuman statues along with Vibheeshan. "Raam," local people swear, "grounded his Dhanush (bow) in the sands after returning victorious from Lankaa and so the name Dhanushkoti.

The sea at Raameshwaram is very calm in contrast to high splashing waves at Kanyaa Kumaaree. Whatever is the geographical reason but coming to mythology, here Lord Raam asked Samudra Dev to calm down and remain the same way as the Vaanar Senaa had to build the bridge (Raam Setu) over it to reach Lankaa.

Dhanushkoti or Dhanushkodi is a kind of extended sandy stretch of this island, which keeps narrowing down, as you travel ahead and get to see endless horizon of the ocean all around you. While reaching to the last point, from where Shree Lankaa is a just a few kms away, driver just follows the tire marks impressed in sand, as there is hardly any tree or any land mark for the idea of the distance traveled and direction. There was a strange feeling of excitement, fear and loneliness. It is recommended to watch the sunset there. At last a point comes in that vast spread of sand and water beyond which it is impossible to go further, as the land was surrounded by the sea except for the backward route.

Where the road begins again, the ruins of old railway station and the church, which were engulfed by Tsunami in 1966 and claimed around 10,000 lives in that locality can still be seen. Earlier the train was running till Dhanushkodi, from where people used to embark on the ships to reach Shree Lankaa. Here too waves were scary. There is no beach but slight depression, so it creates an urge of feeling the waves. People take the Kalash and Pooja materials and immerse the Pratimaa after oblation and Poojaa. One should take the dip 36 times (as per Shaastra). It is a wonderful experience to be at the confluence of the two seas Bay of Bengal and Indian ocean. Beautiful sight.

There are some places and temples around with Raamaayan significance like where Raam planned to build the bridge and the place He showed to Seetaa while coming back from Lankaa. One can see those stones also which were used by Raam to build the bridge and th wonder is that those massive stones do not sink in water but floats only. One should take the dip in 22 Teerth and have the Darshan of Sri Raamnaath Swaamee and Parvat-vardhinee.

The Temple town of Lord Shiv's emergence of the penutimate Jyotirling of Raameshwaram happens to be celebration point of Lord Raam's glorious victory over Raavan paying Raam's dutiful homage to Lord. Having crossed 'Setu Bandh' across the Sea on the triumphant return journey from Lankaa en route Ayodhyaa, Lord Raam sent Hanumaan to visit Vaaraanasee to pray Vishweshwar and bring a replica of the Ling from Kaashee for consecrating it on the Sea coast but since Hanuman could not return by the appointed auspicious time, Seetaa had to improvise a Sand Ling and installed it formally amid Vaidik Mantra. Hanumaan was upset and wished that the Ling blessed at Kaashee Vishwanaath be substituted instead and tried hard to pull the sand Ling out but the so called temporary Sand Ling was ever lasting, blessing millions of devotees ever since. The Kaashee Ling or Hanumaan Ling too was installed nearby which too is worshipped by devotees. It would be appropriate therefore that Raameshwar or Ratnaswaamee be worshipped after the homage to the Kaashee Ling or Hanumaan Ling.

Spread over some 15 acres of land, the Temple could boast of rich architectural heritage of high Raaj Gopuram on the East (126 feet high) and the West side, massive walls, a huge Nandee (18 feet tall and 22 feet long) and a 4000 feet long corridor with 4,000 carved granite pillars on raised platforms on either side perhaps the longest in the World.

The Legend of Two Shiv Ling
The legend says that when Raam returned after killing Raavan, He was advised to worship Shiv Ling to appease Shiv Jee as He had killed a great Shiv devotee and a Braahman. So Raam asked Hanumaan to bring an appropriate Shiv Ling from Kailaash Parvat so that he could establish it there and worship it. As Lord Raam waited for Hanumaan to return, the Muhoort (auspicious time) was getting over. Hence, Seetaa built a Shiv Ling out of sand, which got hardened due to Her divine touch. Meanwhile, Hanuman returned from Kailaash Parvat, and was disappointed to see the other Shiv Ling. It is said that Hanuman got so angry to see the other Shiv Ling that he tied it with his tail and tried to uproot it, but failed to do so. At this Lord Raam pacified him and said that from that day onwards, the Shiv Ling which Hanuman had brought will be worshipped before the one made by Seetaa. Then Raam appeased Shiv and washed himself from the sin of killing Raavan. The Shiv Ling brought by Hanumaan is called Vishwa Lingam and the one made by Seetaa is called Raam Lingam.

Shraaddh at Raameshwaram Temple
Shraaddh and Pind Daan are also done here besides Gayaa. At Raameshwaram it begins in the early morning with Sankalp. Hence it is necessary to be there at Raameshwaram the previous day itself.



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Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on February 12, 2013