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Photograph courtesy: Ruffy Reddy/Creative Commons

Rameswaram is one of the most beautiful temple towns in India. Located on the Pamban Island, Tamil Nadu, Rameswaram is connected with the mainland by the Pamban Bridge. It is connected to the Hindu mythological epic, Ramayana. In fact, it is proven that the Rama Sethu was indeed built from Rameswaram to Sri Lanka. The town is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and is home to some extremely beautiful beaches to relax at. However, the temples and the elaborate mythological tales related to some of the places in Rameswaram are very intriguing. Here is our list of five temples that you must visit while in this beautiful town in Tamil Nadu. Also Read - 2 People Arrested After They Were Caught Killing Crows & Selling Their Meat to Chicken Stalls



1. Ramanathaswamy Temple

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Photograph courtesy: Pabloneco/Creative Commons

The Ramanathaswamy temple, dedicated to Shiva, is the biggest attraction in Rameswaram. The temple is one of the 12 jyotirlingas and it is believed that Rama prayed to Shiva after he returned from Lanka, to seek forgiveness for having killed Ravana who was a Brahmin.What sets the Ramanathaswamy temple apart is the corridor that houses 1,212 pillars. Also Read - Chennai-Madurai Tejas Express to be Flagged Off by PM Narendra Modi: All You Need to Know



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2. Badrakali Amman Temple

This temple is located around one km from the Ramanathaswamy temple. The presiding deity is Durga’s in the form of Badrakali. Devotees especially from West Bengal flock here each year during Durga puja to seek the blessings of  the goddess who is known to be the fiercest of all of Durga’s forms. This temple is located in the Madapuram district and you’re likely to visit this temple before you reach the Ramanathaswamy temple.

3. Kothandaramaswamy Temple

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Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

This iconic temple is dedicated to Rama and gets its name from the idol of Rama where he is holding a bow (kothandam) in his hands. Though built over 5 centuries ago, this is the only historical temple in the region that survived the 1964 cyclone that hit Dhanushkodi. This temple is important from the mythological point of view, as it is believed to be the place where Vibhishan, Ravana’s brother, requested Rama for refuge. Vibhishan and his army had nowhere to go after Ravana kicked him and his army out of the kingdom, because, Vibhishan had suggested that Ravana should let go of Sita before Rama declares war.

4. Panchmukha Hanuman Temple

This temple houses an idol of the monkey god covered in vermilion and is highly revered by the locals. This is considered to be the place where Hanumana revealed his five faces — Hanuman, Narasimha, Adivaraha, Hayagriva and Garuda — before building the bridge to reach Lanka. The temple also houses idols of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita. In fact, just outside the temple, there are stones that float in water, referring to the stones that were used to build the Rama Sethu.

5. Agniteertham

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Photograph courtesy: Indiawaterportal/Creative Commons

Though this one is not a temple, the east beach of Rameswaram is known as agni-teertham and is one of the most visited pilgrim centers in Rameswaram despite being one of the 64 teerthams in the town. The legend behind the sea becoming a sacred place is that, when Rama rescued Sita from Lanka, he asked her to prove her chastity by walking through fire and taking the agni-pareeksha. Lakshmana started a fire and Sita walked through it without getting burnt as a sign of her being pure. Soon after, Agni, the Hindu fire god appeared who felt like he had sinned for having touched a chaste woman. In order to seek redemption, he prayed to Shiva and took a dip in the ocean to seek forgiveness, hence naming the place agni-teertham.