Daśaratha’s (Dasharath) son Rāmacandra (Ramchandra), after slaying Rāvaṇa (Ravan) and enthroning Vibhīṣaṇa (Bibhishan) as the king of Laṅkā (Lanka), departed for the Gandhamādana (Gandhamadan) Hills along a bridge with Sītā (Sita) and Lakṣmaṇa(Lakshman). After this, with the intention of purification of himself and Sītā, Rāmacandra started residing at Lakṣmītīrtha (Lakshmitirtha) with Indra and other gods, sages, the manes, Vibhīṣaṇa and the monkey warriors. With the gods, sages and manes as his witnesses, he evoked Agni for the purpose of purification of Sīta. Agni emerged from the sea which lay close to Lakṣmītīrtha. He informed Rāmacandra that Sīta had been extreme loyal to her husband and it was her loyalty towards Rāma that had enabled him to kill Rāvaṇa. Rāmacandra agreed with what Agni said and took Sītā back.

The place where Rāmacandra evoked Agni in order to assess Sītā’s purity was not far from Laksṃītīrtha and the region within the sea from which Agni had emerged has become famous as Agnitīrtha (Agnitirtha).

There is a temple called Rāmanāthasvamī (Ramanathaswamy) at modern day Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. A region which lies at a distance of hundred meters from this temple is still famously known as Agnitīrtha. In this context it has to be mentioned that nearby there is a temple of Kodanḍarāma (Kodandarama; kodanḍa means ‘bow’, which is known as Rāma’s weapon) and the hills near the island of Kurusadai are known by the name of Gandhamādana.


We find the following story in Purāṇa about the greatness of Agnitīrtha:

Once upon a time a son named Duṣpaṇya (Dushpanya)was born to the pious vaiśya (vaishya) Paśumān (Pashuman) who lived in Pātaliputra (Pataliputra). At one point of time this Duṣpaṇya was driven away from the city on charges of children homicide. He was then cursed by the sage Ugraṣravā (Ugrashrava) that he would be become a ghoul (piśāca; pishach) and he became one. The ghoul Duṣpaṇya suffered from hunger and thirst for a long time and finally came to sage Agastya’s hermitage, where he prayed to Agastya’s disciples for freedom from the curse. It was then that the sage Agastya instructed his favorite disciple Sutīkṣṇa (Sutikshna) to go to Agnitīrtha on the Gandhamādana Hills and perform the worship necessary for freeing him from the curse. Sutīkṣna performed the necessary rituals for three days. When he returned to the hermitage from Agnitīrtha and met Agastya, he was immediately freed from the curse and no longer remained a ghoul. He also made his way up to heaven.