This post is dedicated to the holy city of Rameshwaram and a devastated town Dhanushkodi. This place should be there in everyone’s travel list because of its rich historical significance and beautiful blue water ocean. Basically there are two major parts of the visit, Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi. Rameshwaram is technically an island which is located in Bay of Bengal in Gulf of Mannar sea region. Dhanushkodi is situated on the tip of the island and is last point of Indian land.
Best time to head towards the city
Rameshwaram enjoys lots of travelers throughout the year. The weather of the city is same as any of the other coastal south Indian cities. For rain lovers, Rameshwaram can be enjoyed in monsoon when there will be intermittent rains and cool breezes. Typical monsoon season lasts from June to August. Winters are also good time to go as there will be a dip in temperature which will make your stay pleasant. It all depends on one’s personal choice of time and availability.
How to reach the city
By Train: Rameshwaram is connected via all the major south Indian cities. The journey by the train via Pamban bridge will delight everyone. Train goes very slow on the bridge and one can enjoy the sea from the train.
By Air: Madurai is nearest airport from Rameshwaram which is 170 km away from the city. Rental taxis and public buses are readily available from Madurai.
By Road: The city is connected to mainland India by Pamban bridge. Driving on the bridge will be a good experience. Many public and private buses also operate from other parts of south India. Public bus frequency from Madurai is very good.
Rameshwaram : The Holy City
Rameshwaram island aka Pamban island is situated between India and Sri Lanka in Ramanathapuram district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The city is connected to mainland India via Pamban bridge. According to Hindu mythologies, Lord Rama built a bridge across the sea from Rameshwaram to Lanka and went there to save his wife Sita from abductor Ravana. The very famous Ramanathaswamy temple which is located in Rameshwaram is dedicated to Hindu god Shiva is main attraction of the city. Every day lots and lots of devotees come here for pilgrimage. Apart from pilgrimage, travelers also enjoy cool sea breezes and blue sea water.
Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple
Sri Ramanathaswamy temple located in Rameshwaram is a Hindu temple which is dedicated to god Shiva. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas and one of the four Dhams of Hindu pilgrimage. It is believed that the Shiva Linga was established by Lord Rama. He worshiped here to absolve all the sins created in Lanka during Ramayana war with Ravana. So it is believed that visit to the temple will free you from all the sins. Temple attracts huge crowd to the city.
How to visit the temple ?
People visit Rameshwaram for many purposes like Char Dham Pilgrimage, Jyotirlinga Darshan, Antim Sanskara or Asthi Visarjan (Ash Immersion) or some kind of special rituals. For Asthi Visarjan or some rituals I would suggest to go to any of the priests and follow the procedure suggested. For any other kind of visit following procedure may be followed for full pilgrimage :
- Start as early as possible (try to be there even before the sunrise).
- Go to Agni Teertham and take a dip in the holy sea water.
- Head to the queue and get ticket for bath in 22 sacred wells. Take tickets directly from the temple queue and don’t get fooled by the touts there. Ticket cost is 25 INR per person but the touts may ask you heavy amount.
- Head towards the well in order of 1 to 22. On every well there will be people who will pull out the water in buckets and pour on people in the queue.
- Try to read the story behind every well. You will be amazed by the history.
- After completing the bath in sacred wells you need to change your clothes as wet clothes are not allowed inside the temple. You can change your clothes there or you may go to your hotel and come back after change.
- Now queue up for Jyotirlinga Darshan. If the crowed is more then purchage a special ticket for 50 INR.
- After Jyotirlinga Darshan roam in the temple as there are many other places are there.
Complete the Darshan in the temple on priority. Here I want to emphasize that only Hindus are allowed inside the temple. It is clearly mentioned inside the temple.
The sacred bath in the sea and 22 wells creates a sensation and positive vibes that can not be explained. Go there and feel the resonance. You will be amazed.
Pamban bridge and Annai Indira Gandhi Road Bridge
Pamban bridge and Annai Indira Gandhi Road Bridge connects the island from mainland India. Pamban bridge is more than 100 years old and still very firm for the commute. The bridge has survived 1964 cyclone as well. Rail bridge and road bridge is side by side. Add both in your to do list. Enjoy train ride and road trip both. Find the suitable train timing and just board the train. After a minute or two you will only see the water and horizon. The sea water will be few inches away and you will be left with an amazing experience.
Just enjoy this majestic engineering marvel and appreciate the designers.
It is believed that lord Rama first saw the Lanka from this mountain. The whole Rameshwaram is visible from the temple on the mountain.
Enjoy the view of whole island from the top.
Rama Teertham (Gandamadana)
Rama Teertham is another sacred place in the town. It is said that Lord Rama took holy bath in this Teertham. A holy pond is there. Idols of Lord Rama, Laxman, Sita and Hanuman is there.
Villondi Teertham houses a well inside the sea whose water is not salty at all. The water can be taken out from the well and tasted. It is truly amazing that a well inside the ocean is there that has water without salt. According to the history, Lord Rama used his bow and constructed the well to overcome the thirst of his wife Sita.
House of Kalam : Ready to get amazed by the legend
House of Kalam is the place where our beloved former president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam lived. Now the place has been converted into the museum. The museum tries to portray the life of a legend. All the degrees, awards, defense inventions, missile replicas are placed there for public view. After seeing all those you will feel the greatness of our legend.
Do not miss the place and do visit n priority.
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam National Memorial
The memorial is constructed after the sad demise of our former president by government of India. This place has a statue of Kalam sir and his samaadhi.
Kalam sir standing tall here. He will always be alive in our hearts.
Dhanushkodi : Traces of a lost town, Only Sand and Water left
Dhanushkodi is located at the south eastern tip of the island. It is the end of Indian Land. Lord Rama built the bridge across the sea from here to Lanka. After winning the war at Lanka, he made the Vibhisana, Brother of Ravana, the king of Lanka. Vibhisana requested Rama to destroy the bridge after his return. Lord Rama broke the bridge with one end of the bow and hence the place is known as Dhanushkodi or End of Bow.
Dhanushkodi used to be a full fledged locality before the 1964 cyclone which destroyed the place. Now only some group of fishermen live there. It is now synonymous to No Land Only Sand, The Lost Town, The Ghost Town and many more. The trip to Rameshwaram is said to be incomplete without Dhanushkodi. Dhanushkodi is around 20 km from Rameshwaram and is easily reachable via road. The road trip is awesome. The road acts like a divider between the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. So Dhanushkodi is technically a point where Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean meet each other. Many public and private vehicles will take you there. Any type of vehicle will take you to the Dhanushkodi beach. From there a special type of public bus is available at a round trip cost of 150 per person. This bus will take you to the down. The bus will give a bumpy ride in the sand and water. Jeeps are also available for hiring. Jeep will take you to the town in the muddy roads.
The lost town
After an enthralling bus ride you will reach to the lost town. You are sure to feel a chill in your spine after seeing the devastated town. Traces of railway station, church is there. Spend some time in peace and just try to determine the intensity of the storm from the available traces.
Now one can imagine the intensity of the storm. The place must be visited by the travelers.
Rama Sethu or Adam’s Bridge
Rama Sethu is the sea bridge constructed by Lord Rama on the sea. He used the bridge to reach Lanka. After his visit he destroyed the bridge but the traces are still there. Unfortunately visit to the tip of island where the bridge starts is not allowed. But the good news is that the road is being constructed for the same and soon it will be open for public.
Dhanushkodi Beach, Awesome Indian Ocean
The point where bus service starts, there is a sea beach. There you can enjoy the ocean. You will feel the difference between the sea and ocean. The Majestic Indian Ocean has high tides and awesome blue water. The tides are very high and it is advised to stay near the land. Just sit and relax for some time.The ocean will amaze you.
Enjoy the beach to the fullest with caution. Spend some time there and you will feel refreshing.
That pretty much about the visit to the island. Have this place in your travel list and visit once. You will fall in love with the place. The island is mainly famous for pilgrimage. Now a days it is also being projected as a tourist destination. Many other things are coming up for amusement. One such thing is Holy Island Water Sports which provides water sports in the city. If you are new to water sports then probably you should try snorkeling there as it is most famous among all the sports available.
You can also enjoy shopping the items made from sea shells. Lots of shops are there around the temple. Do bargain with them.
Few things to note down
- Although there are many things to enjoy here but the primary thing is pilgrimage. So first finish that and then enjoy anything and everything.
- Plan your trip by your own and do consult your hotel for any assistance. Do not get fooled by touts.
- Try to stay near the temple. Also inquire about parking in the hotel if you are coming by your own vehicle. As four wheeler is not allowed on some roads near the temple.
- Private cars are available for hire. Consult you hotel for the same. Lot of autos are also there for hire and they are cheaper than cars.
- Two wheeler is not available for rent. In some cases you can request your hotel to provide but that’s there personal vehicle.
- If you are not comfortable with bath in the wells then you can skip that but I would suggest that you go for the bath.
- If you have kids or old people with you then take utmost care of them.
- Rameshwaram is small island so you may not find big hotels and restaurants. But decent quality food is available there.
That’s pretty much about the place. If you have queries then please feel free to comment.
P.S. : Part of the information has been taken from the below mentioned places. You can go through the same for detailed information.
- Wikipedia page of Rameshwaram
- Wikipedia page of Ramanathaswamy temple
- Official temple website
- Wikipedia Page of Dhanushkodi
Due courtesy to all the information channels.