Rameshwaram, a beautiful quiet town located in Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu and is part of the amazing Pamban Island. It is the closest point to neighboring Sri Lanka. A trip to Rameshwaram is considered very important and a must-attempt pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime by Hindus. A must visit during the Char Dham Yatra or the holy pilgrimage and especially, during Maha Shivarathri
Rameshwaram is believed by some to be the place from where Lord Rama had built the bridge to Sri Lanka in order to rescue his captured wife Sita from Ravana, the king of Lanka. The word Rameshwara means “place where Eswara was worshiped by Rama” and presumably this is from where the place gets its name.
Rameshwaram has played an important role in the history of India, especially, when trade with other countries was involved. The island was a stop gap point for those travelling to Sri Lanka erstwhile Ceylon.
Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple
Constructed in the 17thcentury, built in the Dravidian style of architecture, dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is best known for having the second longest pillared corridor in the world.
Another famous feature of this temple is the 22 wells spread throughout its premises. It is believed that the water from each of these wells tastes totally different and has curative properties. One must bathe in Agnitheertham first and then all the 22 wells before entering the temple, as it is believed that this helps in getting rid of our sins. The Indian epic of Ramayana is associated with this temple as this where Lord Rama is said to have worshipped the lingam of Lord Shiva to rid himself of the sins he committed when he fought with Ravana, the king of Lanka.
Agnitheertham is located at the sea coast a few hundred meters before the temple's east gate. You will also see many people by the sea performing rituals to their ancestors.
You will be required to change out of your wet clothes after bathing in the theerthams at the temple in order to enter the inner sanctum where the deity is.
Timings: 5:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM
The southernmost tip of Rameshwaram is known as Dhanushkodi, located at a distance of 18 kilometres from Rameshwaram town. The waters of the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal merge here and are an absolute treat for the eyes.
The scenic road goes through Dhanushkodi to the land's end at Arichal Munai, technically the border between India and Sri Lanka. Since the distance between the two countries is only 18 nautical miles, you can see the Indian Emblem on a pillar placed there.
In 1964, a cyclone hit the flourishing trade town of Dhanushkodi. It is estimated that nearly 2,000 people were killed in the storm. The town, which sat on a thin strip of land that juts towards Sri Lanka, was submerged under meters of sea water. The government declared it a ghost town, unfit for habitation. All that is left are the fragmented windswept remains of a few buildings such as the church, post office and railway station.
There are many stalls or shops near the ruins of Dhanushkodi selling accessories and other stuffs made of sea shells.
Kothandaramaswamy Temple near Dhanushkodi is dedicated to the Hindu deity Rama, the place was often ruined by cyclones but never displaced a single stone of the temple and of faith. The place is where Vibhishana, brother of Ravana surrendered to Lord Rama.
House of Kalamand Burial Place of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
The former President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, grew up in Kalam. His home has now been turned into a museum, and offers a glimpse into the simple life of this extraordinary human being. The museum also houses several photos of Abdul Kalam on display along with several items used by the scientist. On the top floor is a store that sells souvenirs. It is located on Mosque Street and is open from 8 am to 7 pm
One of the recent tourist attractions in Rameswaram is the burial place of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The site attracts hundreds of visitors who come there to offer their last respect to the people’s President. Several photographs of the president from his earlier life till his last days are on display offering an insight into his life.
VillondiTheertham is located on the route to Pamban. The word Villondi means "Buried Bow". Rama was said to have shot an arrow into the river to form a shower of water for Sita, his wife, to drink. There is a temple there, called the EkanthaRamar, also part of the Ramayana.
You can spend a quiet morning or evening by the beach near Villonditheertham
Pamban is the second longest sea bridge in India. The 2.2 km. length bridge connecting the Rameswaram Island and the mainland is the longest bridge in India constructed over a bay.The railway Scisissors Bridge connecting the island is noted for its unique opening which allows ships to pass through the sea.
Taking the Train over Pamban Bridge would be the best experiences ever since the railway bridge is located just 12.5 metres (41 ft) above sea level.
A road bridge is also constructed parallel to the rail bridge. This road bridge is known as Indira Gandhi Road Bridge. The Pamban Road Bridge connects the National Highway (NH 49) with the Rameswaram Island. You can also visit and explore the fishing port near Pamban and meet the fishermen community.
Rameshwaram has a humid climate.Winters are the best time to visit for spending a blissful time. Madurai Airport is the nearest airport from Rameshwaram. Also, well-connected through rail and road from many major cities of India. A road trip to Rameshwaram is the more interesting option.