|Rameshwaram is an island- of Lord Rama's temple at Tamil Nadu is a terrific destination. Along with being a major pilgrimage for the Hindus, Rameshwaram is a happening holiday spot too. |
Rameshwaram is significant for the Hindus as a pilgrimage to Benaras is incomplete without a Pilgrimage to Rameshwaram. The presiding deity is the Linga Of Sri Ranganatha, which happens to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of India. Rameshwaram is also popularly referred to as the 'Benaras of the south'. In order to attain Moksha it is believed that the visit to Rameshwaram is mandatory.
The religious island is spread in an area of 61.8 square kilometers and happens to be in the shape of a conch. The Ramanatha Swamy Temple occupies major area of Rameshwaram. The masterpiece of Dravidian architecture boasts of the largest temple corridor in India. Different rulers built the Ramanatha Swamy Temple over a period of time starting from the 12th century. The temple comprises of twenty-two wells where the taste of the water of each well is different from the other. The waters of the wells are believed to possess medicinal properties. You may join the various festivities at the Ramanatha Swamy Temple of Rameshwaram like Thai Amavasai, Masi Sivarathiri, Thirukalyanam and Mahalaya Amavasai.
At a stone throw away from the Ramanatha Swamy Temple is Agnitriham. The sacredness of the place makes it a popular bathing spot
Places to see in Rameshwaram:
The legend goes that Hanuman, the chief of the monkey army was sent to Mount Kailas to bring a Lingam (Siva). Hanuman was delayed on the way. But Lord Siva had to be worshipped at a fixed hour. And so, Sita moulded a Lingam for Rama's worship, which came to be called Ramanatha. Hanuman on his return found that all his labours had been in vain and was disappointed. Seeing how disappointed his most devout disciple was, Rama consoled him by installing the Lingam brought by him a little north of the Ramanatha, and decreed that the Hanuman Lingam should have precedence over the Ramanatha in all honours. Ramanathaswamy Temple which is close to the sea on the eastern side of the island is renowned for magnificent corridors with massive sculptured pillars lining it. The corridor is the longest in India. It is 197 metres long East- West, 133 metres in length South- North. The temple has a tower (Gopuram) 38.4 metres high. The temple as it stands today was built by different rulers at different periods from the 12th century A.D. onwards. The temple is 264 metres in length and 200 metres in breadth.
The temple is facing the east. The sea just 100 metres away from the main entrance to the Temple, is very Calm. The water at this place is considered sacred and is known as 'agnitheertham'. Pilgrims bathe in this place before entering the Temple.
The Gandhamathana Parvatham (hillock) is situated to the north of the temple on the highest point in the island. It is a two-storeyed Mandapam where Rama's feet (Padam) are placed on a chakra which attracts pilgrims. It is 5 kms. from the Main Temple.
The Southernmost tip of the island Dhanushkodi - was completely washed away by the 1964 cyclone. But the Kothandaramasamy Temple here remains intact. It can be reached by road from Rameswaram. It is believed that Vibishana, brother of Ravana of the Ramayanam, surrendered before Lord Rama at this spot. The idols of Sri Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman and Vibishana are here. It is 2 kms. from the Railway Station.
The waters around the island abound not only in fish but also in coral reef. The veritable gardens of coral reefs and a few picturesque locales off the island allure those who seek sun, sand and sea holidays. It is, in short, an island paradise of golden sands and gently swaying coconut palms, of shady tamarind and odai trees. The entire island is ideal for picnickers and excursionists.
The island lies to the west of the Pamban bridge between the mainland and the island. It is a Paradise of Biologists. Scholars from far and near come to this island throughout the year for research and study. There are a number of islands in the area around Kurusadai Island. It is about 20 kms. from Rameswaram via mandapam. One should approach Fisheries Department to go to this island.