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Agnitheertham Rameshwaram Address: Sannadhi St, Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, 623526, India
Rameshwaram is the home of many prominent theerthams and temples. The word agni refers to fire in Sanskrit language while the word theertham means holy water. Referred in ancient texts and mythological legends, this pilgrimage holds a significant place among Hindu Devotees, who visit here to offer their prayers and atone their sins by bathing in its holy waters.
Agni Tirtham, one of the most important is also the most visited theertham here. It is located on the eastern beach corner of Sri Ramanathaswamy temple. It is the only theertham of the temple, which is located outside the temple complex, which are temple tanks located inside the temple. This theertham has also been mentioned in sacred Hindu texts such as Skanda Purana,Narada Purana and Sethu Purana.
An important part of any Rameshwaram tour, it is said that devotees first take bath in its holy water and then begin their pilgrimage to Rameshwaram. Although devotees visit this theertham throughout the year, it is considered most auspicious to take bath here on the new moon days and full moon days.
Legend / History behind Agnitheertham
Agnitheertham is connected to Lord Rama and Goddess Sita after their return from Lanka. Lord Rama after rescuing Goddess Sita from demon Ravana had visited this place while on their way back to Ayodhya Kingdom.
According to the legend, after killing demon Ravana, who also a half brahmin and an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, Lord Rama had prayed to Lord Shiva to recompense his sins of killing a brahmin. He had bathed in the waters of Agnitheertham. This is the reason why bathing in holy Agnitheertham is said to atone past sins of the devotees, making it one of prominent places to visit in Rameshwaram.
There is one more legend associated to this theertham. According to this legend, after their return from Lanka, Lord Rama had expressed doubts regarding the chastity of Goddess Sita because of which Goddess went through Agnipariksha.
Upon hearing the doubts raised on her, Goddess Sita has asked Lord Lakshmana, who is the brother of Lord Rama, to lit a fire. She then entered the fire and sat to prove her purity. Inspite of sitting within the fire, she wasn’t hurt and Lord Agni appeared to prove the chastity of Goddess.However, later Lord Angi to wash away his sin of touching Goddess Sita when she sat in fire, took bath in the sea and offered prayers to Lord Shiva. This place is now called as Agnitheertham.
It is believed that devotees can atone their sins by taking a bath in the holy waters of Agnitheertham. According to some belief, childless couples, if bathe in its water and offer prayers to Lord Shiva, are blessed with children. Many devotees come here to pray for children. It is also visited by devotees to pray for the peace and moksha of their ancestors and to perform rituals after the demise of their loved ones.
Reaching Agni Theertham
Agnitheertham is easily accessible via road through various modes of transportation. If travelling by public transport, there are buses to Agnitheertham from Rameshwaram bus stop.
From Rameshwaram railway station, tourists can either take an auto rickshaw or even a horse cart to the theertham; buses from here are not very frequent. Tourists can also walk to the place names 6-line, which is only 300 meters away from railway station. There are buses from here to Agnitheertham.