Ramanathaswamy Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to god Shiva located in the island of Rameswaram. There are sixty-four Tīrthas or Theerthams (holy water bodies) in and around Rameswaram. The temple and the island of Rameswaram have acquired this name because, Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva here on return from Lanka. According to legend, after killing Ravana Lord Rama returned with his consort Sita to India first stepping on the shores of Rameswaram. To expiate the `dosha' of killing a brahmin, Lord Rama wanted to offer worship to Lord Shiva. Since there was no shrine in the island he despatched Hanuman to Kailash to bring an idol of Lord Shiva.
Between 1897 and 1904, the ALAR family of Devakottai completed the imposing eastern tower of nine tiers 126 feet in height. Between 1907 and 1925 they renovated the Sanctum Sanctorum and the prakaram (inner most corridor) by replacing the lime stones by black granite with adequate provision for light and ventilation and also arranged for the performance of Ashtabandana Kumbabishekam in 1925; then on 22-2-1947 and the third Ashtabandana Maha Kumbabishegam was performed on 5-2-1975.
During the construction of first corridor, it was decided to renovate the second corridor. The lime stone structure in Second corridor was dismantled and started granited stone work. But only compound wall in west side and one portion in north side of western wing in south gate was renovated.
The Sethupathy mandapam in front of the Temple’s Raja Gopuram main Tower was constructed by Ramanatha Sethupathy, a descendant of Ramnad Raja dynasty, with his own donation. This construction was started on 19-11-69 and completed on 11-2-74.
The nearest airport is at Madurai, 163 km from Rameshwaram.
Rameshwaram is connected by rail with Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Thanjavur and other important cities. The two kilometers stretch of Indira Gandhi Bridge connects the island of Rameshwaram to the mainland of Mandapan.
The city is well connected to Madurai, Kanyakumari, Chennai and Trichy. It is also connected to Pondicherry and Thanjavur via Madurai.While traveling within the township, you may hire jeeps, auto rickshaws and even cycle rickshaw.