Ramanathaswamy Temple possess totally three corridors and there are many small shrines named as sannathis inside the corridors. This topic briefly discusses all the important shrines present inside the Rameshwaram temple with their details.
The main deity (moolavar) of the temple, the Shiva linga installed by Lord Rama is kept inside this shrine. It is believed that the Shiva linga is built by beach sand by Sita(wife of lord Rama).
Vigrahas (metal idols) of Rama nathaswamy And Ambal Parvathavarthini (Urchavar idols used during festivals), Ram , Sita, lakshmana, sugriva, hanuman are kept near Ramanatha swamy shrine. These idols are used in festival times.
Ramanathaswamy shrine is built using dark black granite stones , and the vimana (roof top tower) was coated with gold. Other Names : Rameshwar, Ramanathar, Ramanathaswamy,Ramnath
Vishwa lingam alias Vishwanathar Sannathi :
It is one of the two Shiva linga brought from Kailash by Hanuman. This sannathi situated north side to the Rama nathaswamy sannathi. Till date the poojas and offerings were first performed to this Shiva linga only.
Other Names: Kasilingam , Hanumanlingam , Vishwa lingam
Visalatchi is consort of vishwanathar. This sannathi is near to vishwanathar sannathi . As she is a consort of vishwanathar , for her also Pooja’s performed associated with vishwanathar.
Parvathavarthini Amman is consort of Rama nathaswamy , The shrine is situated left side to the Rama natha swamy and is in the south direction. The Ambal statue is standing on the lotus base (called as bathma beedam in tamil) and carrying two lotuses in her hand. There is “sri chakra” installed in this shrine and Parvathavarthini Ambal shrine is one of the shakthi peedams of tamilnadu. The vimana (Roof Top tower) of Ambal shrine is also coated with gold. Other names of Ambal : Parvathi devi, Malai valar kaathali, dhaatchayini.
It is located north-west corner to the Ambal shrine. This Temple is one of the very few temples which have Vishnu shrines inside The Shiva temple. The posture of the Vishnu is called as “Anandha sayana”. Other names: Pallikonda Perumal, Perumal
Santhana, Sowbagya Ganapathi
Literally the words santhanam and soubagyam means off springs and health, wealth, prosperity . It is believed that by worshiping this twin ganapathi one get Santhanam, sowbagyam. This shrine is situated at southwest corner to the Ambal shrine.
This room is located at north east corner to the ambal shrine. Every night metal vigraha from Rama nathaswamy (Urchava moorthi) is taken from Rama nathaswamy shrine by a palanquin to this room and poojas were performed. And also every morning this vigraha is taken back to the Rama nathaswamy shrine after a certain ritualistic poojas.
Statues Inside Ambal Sannathi
Second corridor of this temple is at present under renovation process. There are Hundred and eight Shiva lingas present inside this corridor. There is a Maha ganapathi statue Situated in the west portion of the second corridor. During Sangadahara chathurthi on every month Special poojas were conducted to this statue.
There is a Bairava Shrine near to the theerthams (Ganga,Yamuna,kodi theerthams) in the second corridor.
Five Shiva shrines in Third corridor
The list of the Shiva shrines in the third corridor are listed below
These sannathis were constructed by paranthaka chola and Raja Raja chola during the period of 10th and 11 th centuries . these temples are situated in the west side of the third corridor (Moondraam Prakaaram).
Sethu Madhavar shrine
Sethu madhavar Shrine is located Between third and second Corridor. The pilgrim can visit this temple after crossing sethu madhavar theertham in the third corridor. The statue of sethu madhava is beautifully engraved in the white marble.
Mythical story associated with sethu madhavar
Long ago There was a king named Sundarapandiyan (alias Punniya Nithi) ruled Madurai region, At that period Rameswaram also a part of that reign and under Pandya dynasty . One day He visited Sethu (Old name of Rameswaram) with his wife Vindhavani and his army.
He conduct a Special yagna (A sacred fire sacrifice ritual) and poojas to Vishnu for the welfare of his family and country. After being pleased by the Yagna Vishnu sent his wife in the form of orphan girl . As the King saw a lonely little girl in the temple he asked her that who she was, why she was alone. She told king that she was an orphan. The pandiya king pleased by that girl and adopt her as his daughter named her as Guna Nithi and brought her up. As per the little girl’s request he protect her.
After few days a Brahmin man visits the Ramanathaswamy temple , it is described that he was black in color, wore Rudhraksha mala and he had containers of ganges water in his shoulders, a palm leaf fan in his hand.
The king’s adopted princess pick flower in the garden, That black Brahmin suddenly enters into the garden and forcibly held the hands of Gunanithi . Immediately the servants of the king took that man to the king and complained about him.
The king ordered his army to enchained and imprisoned him in the temple itself. That man was chained in the place where sethu madhava temple is now.
At That night the king Had a dream that the lord Vishnu showed himself as the chained Brahmin and his adopted daughter as her consort. He suddenly awke and went to the place where that Brahmin was enchained. He saw lord Vishnu there and her adopted daughter adorned with jewels and as a Lakshmi , consort of Vishnu.
Lord Vishnu assured the King that he reside in this place with the prisoner’s chain with his lakshmi and bless the devotees and called by the name Sethu madhava
Lord Rama shrine
There is a Lord Ram shrine in the west side of the third corridor. This Rama shrine is called as Godhanda Rama Sannathi. Lord Ram blessed his devotees with ,Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman in this shrine.
On the northwest corner of the Third corridor The statues of Rama nathaswamy , Ram, Sita, Lakshman , Hanuman, Sugrivan, vibishna and Saints made up of lime stone (In tamil : சுதை உருவங்கள்) portray the Rama linga prathista scene (The installation ritual of Rama nathaswamy) were Kept inside shrine. In this shrine The narrative version of the mythical story of Rameswaram had played with lighting effects (At present it is not active).
Natarajar Shrine is situated at North east corner of the third corridor, The Interior of this shrine is fully decorated with Rudhrakshas . There is a maha Vishnu Statue inside this shrine. People Install naga (Snake God) statues inside this shrine for vanishing their Naga dhosham (sins) after performing rituals in Agni Theertham.
The epitaph (Yogic Samadhi) of Saint Patanjali (The person who invent and devised Yogic practice ) is inside this Shrine. It is said that patanjali rishi is the father of yoga. There is a Yogic chakra installed in that Samadhi place and a fire lamp (called jeeva jothi) lit by using ghee is continuously burnt kept near it.
Maha Ganapathy Sannathi
The statue of Ganapathi is kept inside this shrine, According to Hindu mythology Ganapathy is considered as son of lord Shiva. It is the Hindu tradition that one should first worship Ganapathi before doing any other works. So the pilgrim should first start their worship right from worshiping Ganapathi situated south to the Nandhi Mandapam. Other Names: Vinayaga, pillaiyar
Karthikeyan is also considered as a son of Lord Shiva, He blessed the devotees with two of his consorts Deyvaanai, and valli. This shrine is located north side of the Nandhi statue. Other Names: Murugan, Subramaniyar.
Navagraha (9 planets) sannathi
The Statues of Gods of nine planets kept near Nandhi mandapam.
The great nandhi statue is 17 feet height and 12 feet width and is made up of bricks, lime stones and sea shells. The Nandhi statue Faces the lord shiva . The special pooja conducted to Nandhi during the day called as Prathosam (this day comes monthly twice)
This shrine is north to the east entrance, the hanuman statue face the direction of south (SriLanka). The Hanuman statue in the Rama nathaswamy temple is 16 feet height , 8 feet is displayed or the devotees and the other half is lying beneath the ground ,submerge in the water. The Face and body of the Hanuman is fully covered with saffron color powder called senthuram.
This hanuman is called as “Veera Hanuman “ veera literally meant the word brave. It is believed that on who worship this god will gain the braveness in heart.
According to hindu mythology Maha lakshmi is the goddess of the wealth. The pilgrims can reach the shrine by taking a small walk towards the south from the east entrance.