Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameswaram – Third Corridor (Third Prakaram)
The third corridor is the largest temple corridor in the world. The specifications of its dimensions are really massive. The outer set of corridors is reputed to be the longest in the world being about 6.9 m height, 400 feet in each in the east and west and about 640 feet in north and south and inner corridors are about 224 feet in east and west and about 352 feet each in north and south. Their width varies from 15.5 feet to 17 feet in the east and west about 172 feet on the north and south with width varying 14.5 feet to 17 feet.
The total length of those corridors is thus 3850 feet. There are about 1212 pillars in the outer corridor. Their height is about 30 feet from the floor to the center of the roof. The main tower or Rajagopuram is 53 m tall. Most pillars are carved with individual composition. Most of the brilliantly carved pillars feature individual themes and are aligned in a special way. The carved granite pillars are mounted on a raised platform and its uniqueness lies in the fact that the rock is not indigenous to the island, but was brought in from other parts of Tamilnadu across the sea.
The third prakaram ceiling has paintings of 12 Rasis with their devadhais in 32 squares. Vahana rooms, Sudhai Sirpam of Sethupathi and Veerapathirar are located in third corridor. Kothandarama Sannadhi is like a separate temple with Karuvarai, Artha mandapam and vimanam, Sudhai Sirpam of Sri Ramalinga Pradistai, Ramar, Seetha and Lakshmana, Sukrivan, Vibeesnar are located in the third prakaram.
Natarajar Sannadhi is on the third corridor with sanctum, Ardhamandapam & mahamandapam. On the east Anuppu mandapam, has sudhai sirpangal and paintings of Shiva’s dances. Mahalakshmi Sannadhi, Anjaneyar Sannadhi, Sethupathi mandapam, Kalyana mandapam is located in this prakaram.
The east Rajagopuram (45) is of 126 feet with 9 tiers & 9 kalasams. This construction was started during 1629 by Thalavai Sethupathi and completed in 1904 by Nattukkottai Nagarathar A.L.A.R family. The West Rajagopuram is of very old construction with full of stone during 1434 and the height is 78 feet with 5 tiers. Vinayagar and Sri Subramaniyar Sannadhi are located in the front of this prakaram.
The year-long painting works in the third corridor of the temple had been completed at a cost of Rs.54 lakh. And water jet washing was performed to restore the granite structure in the inner and outer prakarams of Swami and Ambal Sannathis. It had been taken up at a cost of Rs.75 lakh. The stone wall pillars in the prakarams had given preservative coatings.
In the year 1722 Vijaya Ragunatha Sethupathi laid the foundation stone for the outermost third corridor of the Ramanathaswamy temple, the work later carried out by Chella muthu Vijaya Ragunatha Sethupathi & completed by 1772 in the rule of Muthu Ramalinga Vijaya Ragunatha Sethupathi.