Ramisseram [Rameswaram] Pagoda, Island of Paumben. Carved pillar in centre corridor 212327
Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a carved pillar in the Ramalingeshvara Temple complex, 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. Lyon explained that the photograph 'represents a figure quite different from any to be found elsewhere. It appears to represent a man leading a monkey by a string fastened to a belt round his loins.'