Rameshwaram, a major pilgrimage
centre is referred as the Varanasi
of South India. Rameshwaram is an island situated in the Gulf of
Mannar at the tip of the Indian peninsula in Tamil Nadu. The
sacred island of Rameshwaram is about 173 km. from Madurai and
only 80 kms. away from Sri Lanka. The religious island is spread
in an area of 61.8 square kms. and happens to be in the shape of a
conch. This island was the place where Lord Rama worshipped Lord
Shiva in order to cleanse away the sins after he killed the Ravana,
king of Lanka and also built the bridge across the sea to bring
his consort, Sita back from Ravana. This place is sacred to the
devotees of both Vishnu and Shiva. Rameshwaram is also one of the
most visited pilgrimage place in India. It is also believed that
the pilgrimage to Kashi is not considered complete without a
pilgrimage to Rameshwaram. The highest point of the island has the
footprints of Lord Rama
Tourist Attractions in Rameshwaram
The main tourist attraction in Rameshwaram is the Ranganathaswamy
Temple. The other places in Rameshwaram are the Kothandaramaswamy
Temple, Dhanushkodi, Kurusadai Island, Agnitheertham,
Ramanathapuram and Rameshwaram Setu.
Temple is the famous temple at Rameshwaram. This temple is
believed to have been built on the site where Rama worshipped
Shiva in order to do penance for killing the Ravana, king of
Lanka. This temple is one of twelve Jyotirlingas of India,
dedicated to Lord Shiva. The main deity of this temple is the
Linga of Sri Ranganatha. This temple is one of the most beautiful
shrines in terms of sculptures. This temple rises above a lake as
a vast rectangle about 1,000 feet long and 650 feet wide and
covers an area of 15 acres. This temple belongs to the 12th
century and was built by the different rulers over a period of
time and was completely built after three centuries. One of the
remarkable feature of the temple is its corridor. This corridor is
the longest corridor in the country that extends to 1200 metres
and is flanked on either side by ornate pillars. Each pillar is
anindividual composition carved out of solid granite. Some of the
leading architects have also described the temples as the most
evolved of all Dravidian temples. There are twenty-two wells in
the temple and the taste of the water in each well is different
from each other.
The Kothandaramaswamy Temple is another famous temple at
Rameshwaram. This temple has idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshman,
Hanuman and Vibhishan, the main characters of the epic Ramayana.
Rameshwaram Setu is located
about 5 km south of the Ranganathaswamy temple. This is the place
where the Lord Rama built the bridge across the sea to bring his
consort, Sita back from Ravana, the king of Lanka. There is also a
temple of Sri Anjaneya. In Devipatnam, or Navapashanam, also by
the sea, there are nine stones visible at low tide. It is believed
that they were set up by Sri Rama to represent the nine planets,
This highest point on the island lies just 3kms. North of the
shrine. A two storeyed mandapam her is believed to have an imprint
of the Lord,Rama’s feet on a charka. On the way are Sukreevar
Temple and Theertham.
Agnitheertham is about 100 metres away from the temple of
Ranganathaswamy. This is the place where Lord Rama worshipped Lord
Shiva, to cleanse away the sins after killing the Ravana.
The ancient town of Ramanathapuram is the district headquarters of
Rameshwaram. The Ram Vilas Palace of the Sethupati Rajas is a
worth visiting place in Ramanathapuram. The oil portraits of the
Rajas of the past centuries and the articulately designed ceilings
and walls embellished with eighteenth century murals can be seen
in this place. The meetings with the English to battle with the
Marathas were also held at this place.
An ancient Shiva temple here enshrines the image of the presiding
deity carved in emerald. Arudhra festival celebrated there in
February – March every year attracts a large number of devotees.
Devipattinam (Navabashanam) (70 kms.)
Lord Rama is said to have worshipped the ‘Navagrahas’ at this
coastal village. Hindus perform religious rites for their
ancestors over here.
Kurusadai Island (20 kms.)
It lies to the west of Pamban Bridge, about 4 kms. from Mandapa.
The Marine Biosphere here is a ‘paradise’ for the marine
biologists and nature lovers.