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Ramisseram [Rameswaram] Pagoda, Island of Paumben. Pyramidal gateway at west entrance

Ramisseram [Rameswaram] Pagoda, Island of Paumben. Pyramidal gateway at west entrance

Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 212/3(23)

Item number: 212323

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the Ramalingeshvara Temple complex in Rameswaram from the 'Photographs to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern India' collection, taken by Edmund David Lyon in c. 1868. This complex is situated on the sacred Hindu island of Rameswaram and is connected to the mainland by a causeway. It is believed to be the site where Rama worshipped Shiva after the battle of Lanka, part of the Ramayana epic. The temple complex was founded during the Chola period but was constantly added to, and what remains belongs mostly to the Nayaka period of the 17th and 18th centuries. The complex is contained within high walls and entered through tall towered gopuras (gateways) on three of four sides. These gateways lead to a long colonnade that surrounds the enclosure. Of this photograph, Lyon wrote that it 'shows the Pyramidal Tower over the entrance on the west side...It is...built entirely of hewn stone...and is singularly simple in its details. There is absolutely no figure-sculpture belonging to the original design, the two figures in the first storey being modern additions. The road, on arriving opposite the pyramidal tower at the west entrance of the pagoda, divides and passes round the outer wall of the temple on both sides...Following either of these roads, we become aware for the first time of the immense extent of this temple, the distance from the west to the east entrance being nearly one-third of a mile'.

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