Did you know that your visit to Rameswaram is incomplete without a holy dip in the holy Sethu Madhava teertham and the darshan of Lord Sethu Madhava? Yes, this beautiful temple is located in the complex of the famous Ramanatha Swamy Temple in Rameswaram, between the west second corridor and the west third corridor of the temple. Unknown to many and known to very few, this temple houses a very charming white marble Deity of Lord Sethu Madhava and is one among the Pancha Madhava Kshetras of Bharatavarsha, the other four being Bindu Madhava in Varanasi, Kunti Madhava in Kakinada, Sundar Madhava in Trivandrum and Veni Madhava in Prayag.
Since most of the devotees don’t visit this temple, the temple remains locked for most of the time, however devotees can get a glimpse of the Supreme Lord from the door. The Deity of Lord Sethu Madhava is also called Shweta Madhava as the Deity is made of white marble. Lord Vishnu had ordained that any one who takes a bath in the Sethu Madhava teertham and worships Him, would be blessed with all the merits of a holy bath in the Sethu (Rama Sethu) and those who perform pujas in front of His Deity with sand from Dhanushkodi would acquire all the merits of a Kashi Yatra.
History of Sethu Madhava Temple
This temple has a rich history and a divine lila of the Lord associated with it. King Sundarapandiyan (known as Punya Nidhi) who used to rule over the Madurai region had visited Rameshwaram along with with his wife Vindavani. After worshipping Lord Rama Linganatha Swamy, the King performed a special yajna here to please Lord Vishnu for the prosperity of his kingdom. Lord Vishnu, who was pleased with the yajna sent His consort Lakshmi-devi in the guise of an orphan girl to test him. The King upon seeing the girl, enquired and after coming to know that the girl was an orphan adopted her as his daughter and named her as Gunanidhi. The girl was being looked after nicely by the King and his wife.
One day, Lord Vishnu came to the King’s palace disguised in the form of an old brahmana wearing a rudraksha mala and holding a kamandalu (pot) with the water from the Ganga river and an unmbrella in the other hand. He secretly entered the garden where Gunanidhi, the King’s adopted daughter was plucking flowers and held her hands. This matter was reported by the gaurds to the King who had the brahmana chained and imprisoned. At night, Lord Vishnu appeared in the dream of the King and revealed that the old brahmana was Lord Vishnu Himself and the King’s adopted daughter was Lakshmi-devi. The King who was shocked woke up and went to meet the imprisoned brahmana who appeared as Lord Vishnu along with his adopted daughter Gunanidhi, who was adorned as Lakshmi-devi. The King who was already shocked felt embarressed and asked the Lord forgiveness. Lord Vishnu pardoned him saying that He and Lakshmi-devi would reside in the same place and accept worship as Sri Sethu Madhava.
How to reach the temple
This temple is situated in between the west second corridor and west third corridor of the Rama Linganatha Swamy Temple in Rameswaram