This ancient temple is connected to the Ramayana period. According to the history, Sri Rama on His way to Sri Lanka rested here in this place which was then a forest. While resting under an Amla tree (‘Nelli’ in Thamizh), He realized that there was a Shiva Lingam under the ground and his feet had touched the head of the Lingam unknowingly.
Sri Rama acquired a Dhosham as He had touched the Lingam with His feet. So he undertook a penance towards Lord Shiva for 48 days with just one Amla fruit as his food, to recover from the Dhosham and to bring out the Shiva Lingam. Lord Shiva pleased with Sri Rama’s penance came out from the earth and gave Viswaroopa Dharshan to Sri Rama.
Sri Rama overwhelmed by the Lord’s mercy named the Shiva Lingam as Sri Ramanaadheswarar and worshipped Him. Goddess Parvathi too appeared and gave Dharshan to Sri Rama as Sri Sivakaama Sundhari.
Sri Rama with sincere prayers worshipped Lord Shiva as His Guru and got to know the directions to reach the place where Sri Sita was kept under custody of Raavana and headed towards Sri Lanka.
As Sri Rama worshipped Lord Shiva as His Guru, this place became a Guru Sthalam among 9 Navagraha Temples of Chennai (or Thondai Mandalam). Here Lord Shiva Himself is worshipped as Sri Guru Bhagavan.
Also this place is called Uthara Raameswaram, as Sri Rama worshipped Lord Shiva here, similar to Raameswaram. Also according to temple sources, it is said that Porur was called as Uthara Raameswaram in ancient days. It is also said that, this temple is equivalent to Raameswaram and those who are not able to go pilgrimage to Raameswaram can visit this place and be blessed by the Lord.
The main deity Sri Ramanaadheswarar is too gigantic and beautifully decorated, facing east. This huge deity is a Swayambhu Lingam (self evolved). Goddess Sivakaama Sundhari has a separate shrine in the temple.
The sanctum is built in Gajabrishta shape or Thoongaanai Maadam (தூங்கானை மாடம்) type which is popular in Chozha temple architecture. Sri Vinayagar, Sri Dhakshinamurthy and other Koshta Murthies are found around the sanctum. This temple does not have Rajagopuram at the entrance and Vimanam above the sanctum.
Nandhigeswarar is found on the outer praakaaram facing the sanctum.
Here Sri Sandigeswarar is seen in a peculiar position near Nandhi facing south.
The practice of offering Theertham and Sadaari are generally seen only in Vishnu temples. But, this is probably the only Shiva temple, where Theertham and Sadaari are offered to the devotees.
The Sthala Viruksham is Vembu (Neem tree) which is seen on the southern side of the praakaaram. Lord Brahma is seen under the tree facing north. A small Shiva Lingam is kept facing east with Nandhi, adjacent to Lord Brahma. The Neem tree is dressed up with a nice saree which looks like a beautiful woman.
Pournami, Pradhosham, Sivarathri and Guru Peyarchi are celebrated well in this temple.
One can’t stop admiring the beauty of Sri Ramanaadheswarar and His magnificence at this temple.