The Nainar Kovil in Rameswaram is about 14 kms away from Ramanathapuram and seen located on the western side of the district. This pilgrim center is a spectacular place where lush of greeneries and vegetation can be seen growing. At this evergreen bushy land, large number of beautiful peacocks are observed.
The deity at the temple is Lord Siva who is popular for his grand blessings. One of the auspicious occasions in the temple is Sivarathri festival.
There is an interesting legend regarding this temple. The story dates back to the time of a thief who roamed in that region. Once unfortunately, he happened to be in front of a hungry and ferocious lion. To escape from the lion and save his life, the thief started running while the lion followed him. The long run made him feel tired and at last he climbed atop a tree and spent the whole night there. Due to fear he started plucking and dropping leaves of the tree to stay awake till morning. Unknown to him, the tree he climbed upon was a bale tree, and under it, there was an idol of Lord Shiva called Sivalingam. Moreover, that day was Shivaratri, the highly important occasion for Lord Siva. Thus, unknowingly the thief had a lucky chance to worship Lord Shiva on one of his most important days, with the leaves of his dearest bale plant. When Sun sighted in the morning, he was surprised to see the companions of Lord Shiva. They were come to escort him to Kailas on the strength of the sacrament he had performed with the leaves of the bale tree. When he realized the importance of what he had done unknowingly, he repented and pleaded for some time from the companions of Lord Shiva. He then spent the rest of his life by performing only good deeds, and chanting the name of Lord Shiva. At the temple tower entrance
there is a carving, illustrating the legend regarding the thief and his ritual performance.
There is also one more legend regarding this temple and the illness recovery of a dumb Muslim girl. It is said that the Muslim girl was suffering severe speech defect and by the grace of Lord Shiva at the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, her ailment was cured and enabled to speak fluently. After that incident the Muslims respectfully started calling Him Nainar, meaning ‘Father’. Thus the temple is being known as Nainar Koil. As per the existing customs, Muslims can also visit this temple.
Video on Nainar Kovil near Rameswaram