Rameshwaram is a peaceful little pilgrim town, brought to life by the constant stream of people that come to bathe in its holy water, get a puja done to purify their karma, and visit Ramanathaswamy Temple. The approach to Rameshwaram is dramatic, with two long bridges (one for trains and one for other vehicles) linking it to the mainland. Not far from Rameshwaram, the crumbled, windswept remnants of Dhanuskodi, a town destroyed by cyclone in 1964, are eery in their isolation. Adam’s Bridge is about as remote as you can get. This chain of reefs and sandbanks almost connects India with Sri Lanka, which is only around 30 kilometers away.
HOW TO REACH
The city does not have an airport of its own but tourists from different parts of the country can land at the approaching airport at Madurai. The Madurai airport is approximately 170 km away from the heart of Rameshwaram city. From the airport, one can easily hire private cabs as well as taxis to reach this religious city.
The city is connected with all major cities of Tamil Nadu hence you can easily reach the city by road. Frequent bus service is available from Madurai and many other cities to reach Tamil Nadu. Chennai is approximately 650 km away from the heart of Rameshwaram. Madurai (169km), Tiruchirappalli (271km) and Thanjavur (231 km) can be traveled from Rameshwaram by road.
The Rameshwaram railway station is directly connected via rail to all major stations of Coimbatore, Trichy, Madurai, Thanjavur and Chennai. Major cities of Tamil Nadu are connected directly to Rameshwaram via railway networks. There are various types of trains that arrive and depart from the city such as superfast, express and mail trains.
WHAT TO SEE
This is one of the most important as well as frequently visited temples in South India. It is believed to have been built in the 17th century. The chief deity in this place of worship is Lord Shiva. It is also greatly revered because it is believed that Lord Rama built this temple himself. According to the legends, after killing Ravana, Lord Rama returned to India and offered worship to Lord Shiva at Rameshwaram to expiate the sin of killing the demon king. Lord Rama directed Hanuman to bring the lingam from Kailasa within a certain time, but Hanuman was delayed and Sita had to prepare one of sand, before the auspicious hour. It is said that this is the same Lingam of Sri Ramanatha in the temple. The ‘lingam’ is one of the 12 Jyothirlingas in India.
Erwadi town is situated at a distance of 24 km from Rameshwaram in the Kadaladi Taluka of Ramanathapuram District. This town lies along the sea shore between Keelakarai and Valinokkam. It is famous for the shrine or tomb of Hazrat Sultan Syed Ibrahim Sahid Aulia.
The tomb is around 800 years old and is popular for its Sandhanakoodu festival. This festival is celebrated to mark the Shahadat anniversary of Hazrat Sultan Syed Ibrahim Sahid Aulia. The anniversary is celebrated from 1st of Zul Qaida till 30th of Zul Qaida of every Hijri year. This shrine can be reached from Madurai airport through a cab, which takes just 3.5 hours.
Agnitheertham, holding religious significance for Hindus, is situated at a distance of 100 metres from the Ramanathaswamy Temple. This place is located towards the east of the main entrance of the temple and is a suitable place for bathing. The water in Agnitheertham is considered to be sacred and many pilgrims perform pooja at this seashore for honouring their ancestors.
Annai Indira Gandhi Road:-
Annai Indira Gandhi Road Bridge is also known as the Pamban Bridge. This bridge is over 2.34 km long and was constructed with sufficient elevation. The Pamban Bridge is major source for connecting the Rameshwaram Island with the main land. It took over 14 years to construct this bridge, which was finally inaugurated in 1988.
Adamâ€™s Bridge is essentially a chain of coral reefs and sandbanks that almost connects India with its neighbouring country, Sri Lanka. It is popularly believed that this bridge was constructed by Lord Rama, with the help of Hanuman and his Sena, for rescuing his wife Sita from Ravana.
Another temple at Rameshwaram is the Lakshmana Tirtham dedicated to the devoted Lord Ram’s younger brother, Lord Lakshman. This temple has given him the sacred honor and place in the Ramayana for his devotion, faithfulness and trustworthiness towards his family especially Lord Rama and his consort Goddess Sita. There are many splendid marble carved sculptures of God Lakshmana along with those of Goddess Sita and Lord Rama who always remain together as they were in their lives.
Saatchi Hanuman Temple:-
Saatchi Hanuman Temple is situated at a distance of 3 km from the main Ramanathaswamy Temple. This temple is close to the Gandhamadana Parvatam. It is believed that this is the place where Hanuman gave the news of finding Sita, to Lord Rama. While delivering this news, Hanuman gave the Choodamani or jewel of Sita as a saatchi or evidence to Lord Rama.
Rameshwaram Shopping is highlighted by the availability of wonderful handicraft items of the region. The markets in Rameshwaram are stuffed with these exotic decorative masterpieces which are very popular among the tourists, visiting this place throughout the year. The numerous shops near the temples of Rameshwaram sell exquisite showpieces made of seashells, beads, palm leafs, etc. The Rameshwaram shops are the ideal destinations for shopaholics and fashion freaks.
Food is excellent in Rameswaram.A number of “Marwadi Bojanalays”- i.e. semi-sponsored resturants for charity are available near the west entrance of temple where you can have good food at reasonable price. Except these semi-sponsored resturants, one good place is the Ram Nivas Mess. They specialise in Indian Chinese food and all the food we had there was amazing. They are a little slow but the food is definitely worth the wait. To get there you need to take a right at the temple when coming from the Bus Stand and walk about 50 metres. Gujarat Bhavan offers excellent homely meals as well. However, be prepared for a long wait time. When you exit the temple from the East gate and walk straight, around 200 metres towards the sea-shore you will find this place on the right hand side.