Rameshwaram is a very sacred religious destination for Hindus at the edge of the gulf of Mannar in South. It’s a small island located at the tip of peninsula, connected by Pamban bridge to main land. Besides, Badrinath, Jaganath Puri and Dwarka it’s one of the four major pilgrimage or Char Dham, that Hindus consider to be most sacred and mandatory for visit once in their life time. Rameshwaram is located 570 km from Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai.
How to reach
Air- Nearest airport is Madurai 163 km, regular inbound and outbound flights available.
Railways- Rameshwaram railway station is well connected with the trains from Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore and most major places.
Road- The network of good roads is connected with major cities by buses and taxis. It’s also a good drivable road.
Legend of Rameshwaram-
The legend of Rameshwaram puts light on some historical facts about Lord Rama. This is the place where Rama built a bridge Ramsetu, in order to reach Lanka to retrieve his wife Sita. Here in Rameshwaram, Rama is believed to have installed a Shiv Linga to pray Lord Shiva to get his blessings to make his quest a success. When he got back from Lanka, he worshipped here with his brother Lakshmana and wife Sita, in repentance that he killed Ravana a Brahmin.
Ramanatha Swamy temple-
Today a huge Ramanatha Swamy temple consecrated by Lord Rama dedicated to Lord Shiva, occupies 15 acres area and has lofty gopurams, massive walls and a colossal Nandi. Rameswaram Jyotirlinga (one of the 12 in India) also boasts of a 4000 feet long pillared corridor with over 4000 pillars, supposedly the longest in the world. The carved granite pillars are mounted on a raised platform. The images of Brahma, Vishnu & Maheswara three Gods are seen together here in a unique occurrence. In the temple the images of Rama-Vishnu, Laxman-Brahma & Hanuman-Maheswara can be seen together in their incarnation.
22 ‘theerthams’ or sacred wells are within the precinct of the temple. Devotees bathe in these waters before proceeding to the inner sanctum for ’dharshan’. It is believed that number of wells denotes 22 arrows in Rama’s quiver.
The longest corridors are the north and south corridors which from each end present a vista of receding columns. The pillars are adorned by intricate carvings and sculptures. The western tower is about 78ft high and the eastern tower 126ft, comprising nine tiers. It’s hard not to marvel the grandeur of edifice and skill of ancient architects and artisans.
The hillock lies at a short distance of 3 kilometers from Rameswaram and is the highest point on the island. Legend says, here a foot print of Lord Rama on a Chakra can be seen. The hill lies at an amazing location and one can get the panoramic views of the entire island from this point.
Five faces of Hanuman temple–
The temple is famous for its unique incarnation of Hanuman. The image has five faces namely Lord Hanuman, Lord Adivaraha, Lord Narasimha, Lord Hayagriva and Lord Garuda.
Dhanushkodi is an important pilgrim place on the Rameswaram Island. Dhanushkodi means the end of the bow and it is the spot where Lord Ram built the famous bridge with floating stones.