Rameswaram is a small island in Gulf of Mannar near to Srilanka, and a national pilgrim centre of India. It is connected to the mainland by road bridge and famous pamban railway bridge in the sea from Mandapam.
The Ramanathaswamy Temple is one of the most sacred shrines of the Hindus in India. The Jyotirlingam at the Ramanathaswamy temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingams of India. It is considered as holy as Banaras/Kasi.
According to the legends, after killing Ravana Lord Rama returned to India and offered worship to Lord Shiva at Rameshwaram to wash away the sin of killing the demon king. Lord Rama directed Hanuman to bring the lingam from Kailasha within a certain time but Hanuman was delayed and Sita had to prepare one of sand, before the auspicious hour. It is said that this is the same Linga of Sri Ramanatha in the temple.
This place is equally sacred to both Vaishnavites and Shaivites. According to Hindu Mythology, if one visits Rameswaram and prays to Lord Shiva one will be relieved of one's sins.
It is believed that a pilgrimage that starts at Kashi or Varanasi in the north of India is complete only after worship of Lord Ramanathaswamy at Rameswaram.
Rameswaram is known for its 22 theerthams or wells inside the main temple and has almost 64 theerthams in and around the temple.
The Ramanathaswamy temple is renowned for its magnificent corridors, massive sculptured pillars, famous architectures and paintings. The third corridor of Ramanathaswamy temple is the longest one in the world.
It is believed that Kasi-Rameswaram is the ultimate in a Hindu pilgrim's progress towards salvation.