Rameshwaram is one of the four holiest places of pilgrimage of Hinduism, The Char Dham. This place has a very special place in the Hindu Mythology. According to legends, this is the place from where Lord Rama build the famous stone bridge to cross the vast sea to reach Lanka to rescue his wife Sita.
Situated in the southern tip of Indian peninsula, under the district of Ramanathpuram, Rameshwaram is an island and hometown of legend Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. It is connected to Ramnathpuram via Pamban Bridge, bridge made in the sea, which is an engineering marvel. Sri Lanka is just 50 kilometers from Rameshwaram.
How to reach Rameshwaram?
- Trains are available from Madurai and Chennai, which goes directly to Rameshwaram via the sea bridge.
Major Places to visit :
- Ramanathaswami Temple
As the story goes, Lord Rama made a Shiva Lingam to worship and seeking guidance from the deity for the next course of action in the quest of finding his abducted wife Sita. It is believed that in Ramanathaswamy temple, same Sfatik(Rhinestone) Shiva Lingam is kept and worshipped. This is 1 of the 12 Jyotirlingam.
Before going inside the temple for Darshanam it is optional for the devotees to bath in 22 wells called 22 Kunds, which represents the 22 arrows in Lord Rama’s quiver. Devotees move in queue, crossing each 22 well and the people from temple authority would be standing there pouring water to everyone in the queue. So, you do not have to individually bath in 22 wells. You just have to move in queue and the water will just come pouring by. It is okay if you do not opt to bath, it completely depends on your choice.After that, you enter the temple for Darshanam.
The corridor you will pass through is the longest corridor in any temple in India. You will be mesmerized by the architecture, and the way it is maintained even after all these years. Following the tradition of all South Indian temple, the actual room where the idol is kept, there is no artificial source of light. Meaning there will be no electricity, only large Diyas or torch will be lit.
Entry Fee: Rs. 25/-.
If you want to move in the queue quickly, you can buy ticket for VIP Darshanam. It will cost you around Rs. 100/-.
Situated around 200 meters from Ramanathaswami Temple, devotees take a dip in this beach before going for Darshanam in the Ramanathaswami temple.
Although it is not technically a beach, and more like a deposit of backwaters from the Bay of Bengal, it is tempting enough to hypnotize anyone to take a bath. It is said that all your sins will be dissolved and burned by the Agni, the fire, once devotee dip with belief, hence the name goes Agniteertham.
In winters, some areas of the water might seem dirty, so it is advised not to go to the sides but take bath in the middle.There is ferry service also, for those who want to take a ride in the water. It goes to some distance in the water and comes back in around 20 minutes. Ticket is around Rs. 50/-.
You can just sit and watch the serene beauty and the devotion of pilgrims visiting there. The road between Agniteertham and Ramanathaswamy temple is filled with eateries. You will get to taste the authentic South Indian Vegetarian food for Rs. 50/-, which is enough for one person.
- Dhanushkodi Beach
Destroyed by the 1964 cyclone, the only thing left in the district of Dhanushkodi is the Beach. Everything else was destroyed.
As per mythology, the bridge made by Lord Rama started from here and he marked this end of the bridge with one end of his bow, hence the name Dhanushkodi.
It is 11 kilometers from the Railway Station. The road which leads to the beach is muddy and normal vehicle cannot go there. To reach here you will have to either book a jeep, or share a jeep.
Once you reach here, it is no less than heaven. Vast sea on both side and a narrow beach in the middle. The land is very narrow and is in the shape of the bow.
As it is away from human inhabitant, it very clean. The water is crystal clear. You might even see Sea border of Sri Lanka if you happen to have a mini telescope with you☺. you can actually see the land submerging in the water forever, where it is believed, Ram Setu, existed and started centuries ago. It is also known as Ghost Town,
- APJ Abdul Kalam’s House
What else will be more mesmerizing than to see the place where one of the greatest mind of India, spend his childhood?
It is situated at 600 meters from the Railway Station. Just like Dr. Kalam, the house also reflects simplicity. It is hassle free and you do not have to go through bunch of security toenter the house. The entry is free. You can see the entire life history of Dr. Kalam here. The uniform of Air Force, Bharat Ratna, stuffs used by him, etc.
It is a very inspiring place to visit. And every Indian should visit this place at least once to feel the pride that Dr. Kalam has given to us. There is a little shopping market beside the house. It is said to be run by the descendants of Dr. Kalam’s brother, and you can buy pearls, sea shells and handicraft items here.
- Pamban Bridge
One of the greatest example of excellence of engineering in India. This is truly a masterpiece and an engineering marvel. Made in the middle of the sea and expanded up to 2 kilometers.
It is a railway bridge that is retractable as it folds whenever any ship approaches. It was built during the British era. There’s also one road bridge. It is higher in height than the railway track, and has been made recently.
The traffic is not allowed to stop between the bridge, but the view from there is so hypnotizing that you will be compelled to stop to grasp the beauty. At exactly 1200 hours, train crosses from the Pamban bridge. People stack up just to see the train passing, as it is so fabulous, that you cannot afford to miss this opportunity. Honestly the view is beyond anyone’s imagination, it cannot be described in words. But one thing is for sure, the view can impress any living soul.
You can book auto to see other important places that includes Hanuman Temple, Villondi Teertham, Gandamadana Parvat, Ariyaman Beach, Saatchi Hanuman Temple, Jatayu Tirtham, Jada Teertham, Burial Place of APJ Abdul Kalam, etc. It comes in a package of sightseeing and will cost around Rs. 200-250/-. It will not take more than a day.
It will take a total of 2 days to visit all these places. Expenses will go up to Rs.1000-1200 per person including fares, food and accommodation.And each penny spent on this visit would be worth it.