One of the holiest shrines in India, Ramanathaswamy Temple is located at Rameshwaram
. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva
It is closely associated with the epic Ramayana. Lord Ram is said to have worshipped Lord Shiva, while returning to Ayodhya. Shiva was worshipped in the form of a Shivling made of mud by Sita. The lingam, which was worshipped by Ram, is called Ramalingam.
Spread over 15 acres of land, the temple, with massive walls, lofty gopurams and a colossal Nandi, is an epitome of Dravidian architecture. The 4000 feet long pillared corridor with over 4000 pillars of the temple, considered to be the longest in the world, stands majestically portraying the skill and craft of the artisans of yesteryears. The eastern Rajagopuram tower to a height of 126 feet and has nine levels. The stuccoed image of Nandi is about 18 feet tall and 22 feet in length.
The shrine till the 12th century was a thatched hut. The first ever masonry structure was built by Parakrama Bahu of Sri Lanka. The Setupathy rulers and the Pallavas completed the rest of the temple. The present look of the temple was attained by the additions done between 12th and the 16th centuries.
The temple has six worship services daily and special pujas on Friday. The two annual festivals are celebrated in Aadi and in Maasi months.