Rameshwaram is a beautiful religious city in Tamil Nadu. It is located in the Pamban Island which lies in the sea region of Gulf of Mannar. Pamban Island, which is separated from the mainland of India by the Pamban Channel, is connected by the Pamban Bridge or Annai Indira Gandhi Bridge.
One of the Char Dham pilgrimages, Rameshwaram is considered as one of the holiest places in India and a significant pilgrimage center renowned for its Ramanathaswamy Temple, making it a top attraction amongst the Indian devotees. Apart from its religious value and the magnificent temples, it also has picturesque beaches, bridges and a bird sanctuary.
Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, 623526
As per the legend, the temple was built by Lord Rama in dedication to Lord Shiva to absolve him from the sin of killing a Brahmin – Ravan to save his wife Sita. There are two lingams inside the shrine - one built by Sita, from sand, Ramalingam and the one brought by Hanuman God from Kailash called Vishwalingam and it is also considered one of the 12 jyotirlinga temples. The temple is a strikingly magnificent and an epitome of Dravidian styled architecture with the longest hallway in the world at approximately 1,220 meters with over 1,200 brilliantly sculptured pillars adorning the splendid corridor. The temple has around 22 wells that are considered to have holy water with medicinal properties and 12 ponds. Take a dip in the holy waters of Agnitheertham, one of the sacred baths located on the beach side of the temple which is considered to absolve humans from their sins.
Worship Timings: 5 am to 1 pm & 3 pm to 9 pm
A short distance of 2km from the Ramanathaswamy Temple, this temple is famous for the five faced Hanuman idol. Carved out of a large Senthooram Stone, it is perpetually covered by sindoor smeared by the devotees. The temple is believed to house stones that were used to build the bridge from India to Sri Lanka by the army of monkeys for Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman to cross and rescue Sita.
Temple Timings:6 am to 7 pm
Situated in Dhanushkodi, Kothandaramaswamy temple is a shrine dediciated to Lord Rama holding a bow and hence the name ‘Kothandaramaswamy’. Housing statues of Lord Ram, Lord Lakshman, Sita and Lord Hanuman, it is mentioned elaborately in the scriptures of Ramayana and believed to be the place where Vibhishana, the younger brother of Ravana asked Lord Ram for refuge after fleeing from Lanka. It is surrounded by the sea and is a major tourist attraction.
Temple Timings: 6:30 am to 10:30 am & 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Visit the serene and clean Dhanushkodi Beach adjoined by the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean for a quiet time of peace away from the crowd and pander in some bird watching as it is a natural sanctuary for birds migrating from Europe and Australia such as flamingoes and ocean gulls. The Ariyman Beach is a serene beach with calm waves and sheer beauty. It is perfect for visitors wanting to indulge in water sport activities such as parasailing. It also has a childrens park and a museum.
The bridges at Rameshwaram warrant a visit and are major attractions visited by tourists. The Adam’s bridge or Rama Setu mentioned in the Ramayan, is the bridge built by Lord Ram from India to Lanka to rescue Sita. It is a beautiful formation of limestone shoals that start from the tip of Dhanushkodi into the ocean towards Sri Lanka.
Pamban Bridge boasts as the first and longest sea bridge in India. Consisting of 143 pillars, each 220 feet long and weighing 100 tonnes is an architecture marvel. A rail bridge, it connects Pamban island to the Indian mainland and its double leaf bascule raises itself to allow ships to sail through is an amazing sight. The bi-lane road running parallel offers an uninterrupted spectacular views of the sea and bridge.
The best time to visit Rameshwaram is October to April.
A short getaway and a religious pilgrimage
Air: The nearest airports to Rameshwaram are the Madurai Airport and Tuticorin Airport
Train: Rameshwaram railway station is well connected to the major cities of the country.
Road: There are regular bus services from different parts of the country to the Rameshwaram bus station. A private car or cab can also be hired.