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The 22 Wells Inside the Ramanathaswamy Temple

Posted By ServDharm


Posted on August 07 2023

The Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu in South India is a popular shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, The Destroyer among the Trinity. The shrine finds its place among the dozen jyotirlingas and is thronged by Shaivite and Vaishnavite devotees every year. There are two lingams in the premises and both of them are worshipped with equal fervour. The temple is also listed among the Char Dham along with Dwaraka, Badrinath and Puri.

According to a popular belief, the Shivalinga in this temple was installed by none other than Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. The installation was done to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva before Rama embarked on His venture of crossing the bridge to reach Lanka and fight against Ravana.

Another version indicates that Lord Rama offered His obeisance to Lord Shiva on His return from Lanka after His victory against Ravana. Rama wanted to seek forgiveness from Shiva for killing Ravana who was actually a Brahmin although he was the head of the asuras. Lord Rama requested Hanuman to bring Him a big lingam from the Himalayas for this purpose. Lord Hanuman obliged readily and set off on this venture. However, it was getting late and the auspicious time was coming to an end but there was no sign of Hanuman. Lord Rama’s consort, Sita Devi, made a lingam of sand and Rama offered His prayers. This lingam is known as Ramalinga.

When Hanuman returned, He was upset to find another lingam. Lord Rama asked Hanuman to remove it and install his lingam in its place. Hanuman used a lot of effort and also tried uprooting it with His tail but failed. The tail marks are visible on the lingam to this day. Rama consoled Hanuman and said that anyone who worshipped Ramalinga in future would do so only after paying his/her obeisance to the lingam brought by Hanuman that Rama named as Vishwalinga.

One of the key highlights of the Ramanathaswamy Temple is the main corridor inside its premises. This is the biggest temple corridor in the world with over 4000 pillars and comprises a total of twenty two wells along its entire stretch. They are also known as kund snanam or theerth snanam. They represent the twenty two arrows in Lord Rama’s quiver and each of them has its own significance.

Read on to know more about these twenty two wells on theerthams and how you can benefit by bathing in them.

Mahalakshmi Theertham

This is the first well inside the corridor. As the name indicates, it is said that bathing in the waters of this theerth helps one to be blessed by Goddess Mahalakshmi. He/she will be blessed with abundant wealth. 

Savitri, Gayatri and Saraswati Theerthams

These wells are the second, third and fourth theerths inside the corridor. A person who bathes in these theerths is believed to get relief from all his/her ailments. He/she will also be safeguarded against evil curses. It is believed that Kashyapa and King Kasibar were relieved from their curses after taking a bath in these waters.

Sethu Madhava Theertham

This fifth well is actually more of a holy tank and is surrounded by beautiful lilies. An individual who bathes in this theerth gets the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi. His/her mind is also freed of impure thoughts.

Gandhmadana Theertham

This sixth well is located in proximity to the Sethumadhava Perumal shrine. A person bathing in its waters gets rid of poverty. He/she also gets the blessings of the god and is purified from his/her evil actions and deeds.

Kavatcha and Gavaya Theertham

These are the seventh and eighth wells. The Kavatcha Theertham is also known as Swatcha Theertham and an individual bathing in this theerth gets rid of his/her sins and is protected from entry to hell after death. Bathing in the waters of the Gavaya Theertham will help the person find shelter under the Kalpa Vriksha or wish giving tree.

Nala and Neela Theerthams

These are the ninth and tenth wells. When a person bathes in the Nala Theertham, he/she is blessed and enlightened by Lord Surya and will reach heaven. On the other hand, the Skanda purana indicates that a bath in the Neela Theertham helps one attain the Agni Yoga benefits as it is equivalent to having carried out several yagnas.

Sangu and Chakra Theerthams

These are the eleventh and twelfth wells. The Sangu Theertham is in the temple compound and bathing in its waters helps one repent for one’s ingratitude to others in times of their need. Sage Vatsanabha got relief for his sin by bathing in this theertham. On the other hand, bathing in the Chakra Theerth gives one the blessings of Lord Surya and he/she is bestowed with good health.

Brahmahati Vimochana Theertham

This is the thirteenth well inside the corridor. It is said that a person who unknowingly or knowingly killed a cow in this life or previous life is freed from the sin by bathing in this theertham and also any other brahma hatya dosham.

Surya & Chandra Theerthams

These are the fourteenth and fifteenth wells inside the temple corridor. A person taking a bath in these waters is blessed with knowledge of his/her past, present and future.

Ganga, Yamuna and Gaya Theerthams

These are the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth wells and are named after famous rivers in North India. They are associated with wisdom. It is said that Gananasuruti Raja attained his wisdom after taking a bath in these theerthams.

Siva and Satyamirtha Theerthams

These are the nineteenth and twentieth wells. Bathing in the Siva Theerth marks the completion of Bhaira Brahmahathi. This bath can also help a person repent for the bad words he/she uttered against Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. In contrast, a bath in the Satyamirtha Theerth located in Amman Sanathi helps an individual be absolved of his/her sins. Emperor Bururnooru is said to have got relief from his curse after bathing in this theertham.

Sarva Theertham

This is the twenty first well. It is said that bathing in this theertham gives one the same benefit of bathing in all the other theerthams mentioned above. Sutharishna is said to have been freed from his illness and blindness since birth after having a bath in this theertham.

Kodi Theertham

This is the twenty second well. This is the final temple in the corridor and is believed to be the most revered theertham of all theerthams. It is believed that Lord Krishna bathed in this theertham to be relieved from the sin He committed of killing his wicked uncle, the asura king Kamsa.

The Ramanathaswamy Temple has a profound and majestic architecture with intricate carvings on its granite walls. The outer corridor, by itself, houses 1212 pillars with 30 feet height. The primary tower known as Rajagopuram stands tall at a height of close to 53 meters. The paved way from the Sethumadhava shrine to the western gopuram is set up like a chess board that gives it a unique and striking view.

Maha Shivaratri is the major festival celebrated in this shrine in February or March every year. Thirukalyanam is another important occasion celebrated in July or August to honour the marriage of Lord Ramanathaswamy (Shiva) with Goddess Vishalakshi (Parvati). The Vasantholsavam (May to June) and Navaratri (September to October) are also celebrated here.


Written by - Deepthi K



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