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.
According to the Hindu mythology i.e. the story of Ramayana Lord Rama performed thanksgiving rituals to Lord Rama after the battle at Sri Lanka and his triumph over the demon king Ravana. Owing to this Rameshwaram attracts Vaishnavites (worshippers of Lord Vishnu) and Saivites (worshippers of Lord Shiva) alike. Sri Lanka is at a distance of 24 kilometers from Rameshwaram. In fact the entire area of Rameshwaram is associated with various incidents from the Ramayana. Rameshwaram happens to one of the most visited pilgrim sites in India.
Best Time to Visit
As Rameshwaram boasts of a tropical climate, it is a year-round destination of India. But, the best time to visit Rameshwaram is between the months of October to April. This is the time when the weather is extremely pleasant and is ideal for sightseeing as well as water sports. The temperatures range between 17°C to 32°C. During the summer months of March to June, the temperatures are between 25°C and 38°C. The weather is hot and dry at this time. However, it is advisable that you avoid visiting Rameshwaram during rainy season that starts in July and ends in September. The weather is very humid and muggy, making outdoor activities a difficult task.
How to Reach
BY AIR -The religious land of Rameshwaram is well connected with the other major cities of India. The nearest airport at Madurai is 163 kilometers away, takes care of the air travel of people from across the globe.
BY ROAD -The rail and road network connects Rameshwaram with Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Thanjavur and other important cities. The two kilometer long Indira Gandhi Bridge connects the island of Rameshwaram with the mainland of Mandapam. For traveling in town you may opt for hiring jeeps, auto rickshaws and even cycle rickshaws.
At a stone throw away from the Ramanatha Swamy Temple is Agnitriham. The sacredness of the place makes it a popular bathing spot with the pilgrims. Ideally a bath at Agnitriham precedes the visit to the Ramanatha Swamy Temple.
The imprint of Lord Rama's feet is placed on a chakra in the Ramjharoka temple at the highest point of the Island of Rameshwaram this makes Gandamadana Parvatham a major tourist attraction. The highest point happens to be at a distance of five kilometers from Rameshwaram town. Owing to its height Gandamadana Parvatham offers an excellent view of the Ramanatha Swamy Temple and the beautiful blue waters of the sea. The entire Rameshwaram is dotted with temples in honor of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman.
Down south the island of Rameshwaram is Dhanushkodi. The place derives its name from the dhanush or bow of Lord Rama and is believed to have been the starting point of the bridge that was built by the monkey forces of Lord Rama to access Sri Lanka. Dhanushkodi is at a distance of two kilometers from the Railway Station and is easily accessible by road from any part of Rameshwaram.
Though much was lost in the cyclone that hit Rameshwaram in 1964 the temple of Kothandaramaswamy was undamaged. The spot has a history of its won. It is believed that at Kothandaramaswamy temple the brother of demon king Ravana namely Vibhishana submitted himself to Lord Rama and expressed his regret about the abduction of goddess Sita. The Kothandaramaswamy temple has images of Lord Rama, brother Lakshmana, wife Sita, Hanuman and a remorseful Vibhishana.
For the nature lovers the island of Rameshwaram is a true heaven on Earth. There are captivating coral reefs that can just not be missed. The setting of the holiday at Rameshwaram is picture perfect with the ever so charming combination of sun, sand and sea. The golden glowing sands, the coconut canopies, the tantalizing tamarind and the odai trees add to the beauty of nature. The gorgeous greens attract several tourists and are an ultimate spot for picnics and excursions at Rameshwaram. Even though a small island in the Gulf of Mannar Rameshwaram is a rejuvenating experience in itself. For some fun and frolic you may even just chill out in the area and collect some starfish and corals!
In between the mainland and the island in the west lies the Kurusadai Island. The biologists and the researchers throng the island. Kurusadai is just 20 kilometers away from Rameshwaram. You may contact the Fisheries Department and plan your visit to the Kurusadai island.
Places Around Rameshwaram
At a distance of 24 kilometers from Rameshwaram is Erwadi. Erwadi is renowned for the tomb of saint Ibrahim Syed Aulia. Muslims from across the globe visit Erwadi especially during the month of December to participate in the annual festival celebrated as a tribute to the saint.
While at Rameshwaram an amazing array of handicraft items are available that make excellent gift items and souvenirs. Articles made from palm leaf, beads and seashells are popular and make excellent bargains. For the females the shopping spree at Rameshwaram would be incomplete without the plunge into the splendid silk saris.