Monday, July 22, 2024

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Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu



South India's most important pilgrimage site

Best time to Visit


Throughout the year

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Rameswaram known as the ‘Varanasi of the South’ and also the 'Island of Prayer' in Ramanathapuram district, is an island paradise of golden sand, situated 174 kilometers south-east of Madurai and 20 km from Sri Lanka across the Gulf of Mannar. This pilgrim center has two famous temples namely Ramanathaswamy Temple and Kothanda Ramaswamy temple. Rameshwaram is also one of the major marine food centres in South India, and much of its fish and prawn catch are exported. 

Mainly it is a pilgrimage centre for Shaivites and Vaishnavaites because it was here, according to the Epic Ramayana, that Lord Rama rested before and after his victorious battle with the demon king Ravana at Sri Lanka and worshipped Lord Shiva to be cleansed of the sin of killing him. Another reason is, this is the place from where Lord Rama, built a bridge Ram Setu (also known as Adam's Bridge) across the sea to Lanka to rescue Sita. These two reasons makes it one of the holiest places for the Hindus who consider no pilgrimage complete without a dip in the sacred waters of the Agniteertham calmed by Rama. The seat at this point is to be the most calm found anywhere around the country. 

The holy city of Rameswaram spreads over 51.8 and swells with gentle sand dunes. Fringed by casuarina trees and stark palsm dramatic landscapes that enhance the sacred mystery of the place. The sea around the island is rich in fish and beautiful coral reefs. When the sea is calm, it is possible to go in a boat to collect star-fish and coral.

Places to See

Annai Indira Gandhi Road Bridge
To reach Rameshwaram, one have to pass over this impressive 2 km long bridge. From here one can see large chunks of moss encrusted stones lying at the bottom in the clear waters. According to Hindu mythology, these are remnants of the bridge constructed by Lord Rama with the help of a large brigade of monkeys. Also known as Pamban Bridge, it is this bridge that provides the road and rail link with Ramanathapuram to Rameshwaram at the very tip of India. It is the longest Sea bridge in India which stands as a fine examples of Indian architecture. From here, adjoining Islands and parallel Pamban Rail Scissors Bridge can be viewed from the bridge.

Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple (Ramalingeshwara Temple)

The Ramanathaswamy Temple sprawling over 15 acres is the main attraction at Rameshwaram. Built by the Cholas in the 12th century, it is a fine example of Dravidian architecture. The temple is situated near to the sea on the eastern side of the island. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Ramanathaswamy Temple has temple elephants to welcome visitors and bless them with deliberately gentle trunks for a small fee. There is a legend about the lingam here which is said to have been built with mud by Sita after Rama fetched here back from Lanka. The lingam, which was worshipped by Ram is called as Ramalingam. The lingams are now housed in the inner section of the temple not usually open to non - Hindus.

There are 22 sacred wells in the temple, each with water that tastes different from the others. Devotees generally bathe in the sea at nearby Agni Tirtha before entering the Temple where they sprayed with water from 22 wells, known as Tirthas within the temple complex. A belief that Lord Rama himself is said to have bathed here. Entry Fee Rs. 25/-. They pray to the Ganesha here for family happiness and to Kalyanasundareshwar for a good marriage. Non-hindus are not allowed beyond the third prakaram. Vishnu as Sheshnarayan lies on his back on the sacred snake is a pose unique to this temple. A spell bounding sight in the temple corridor is the longest in the country - which seems to stretch to infinity- a total length of 1,200 metres flanked by beautiful, ornate pillars. The temple has storey tower ( Gopuram ), 38.4 high. Festivals of particualr importance at the temple include Thai Ammavasa on January, Maha Shivarthri on February/March, Mahalaya Ammavasai -September and Thirukalyanam -July/August, celebrating the marriage of Shiva and Parvati.

The temple is open fro 5 am to noon and 4 to 10 pm daily. Ph: 04573-221223.

Kodandaramar Temple

Kodandaramar Temple, on the way Dhanushkodi, is considered to be the place where Vibhishanan (Younger brother of Demon King, Ravana ) surrendered and apologized to Rama. It was the only structure to survive the 1964 cyclone that washed the rest of the village away. Inside the temple, this story is portrayed in framed paintings inside the temple. Within the temple, lit in the mellow light of the arti stand the beautiful, serene images of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana flanked by an apologetic Vibhishana and a triumphant Hanuman- the monkey God who ran errands for Rama are worth seeing . 

Five Faced Hanuman Temple

Situated 2 kms from the Ramanathaswamy Temple, it is one of the most famous temple at Rameshwaram. The deity of the temple is Hanuman drawn with sindoor. The temple got its name as five faced temple because, according to the great Hindu mythology, Hanuman revealed his profile with five faces ( the five faces are of Lord Hanuman, Lord Narasimha, Lord Adivaraha, Lord Hayagriva and Lord Garuda). The statues of all Rama, Laxman, Sita and Hanuman are also placed in the temple. There is floating stone outside the temple which was used to build the Sethu Bandhanam (bridge) in Ramayana. 

Gandamadana Parvatham

Situated just over 2 km north of Rameshwaram it is hillock reached by a black top road from the temple. There is a two storied mandapam. Rama rested here before and after embarking for Sri Lanka. It is from here that Hanuman is believed to have made the first leap to Lanka. From the temple roof, one can see the surroundings of Rameshwaram and on clear nights one can also see the lights of Jaffna. In the inner shrine are the foot prints of Rama, worshipped with flowers, vermillion powder and musical chanting. Timing: Daily 6-11am and 3.30 -6.30pm.

Around Rameshwaram


Situated 18 km south east of Rameshwaram is the old fishing village Dhanushkodi. It has a vast stretch of sandy shores, which forms a marsh in the middle of the northern side of the island.

This marsh gets a little water from the inundation during the spring tides and supports nearly 6 species of migratory birds which comes from Europe and Australia during October to January every year. Ruins of the church and other government buildings constructed during British reign are present here.

Nambu Nayagi Amman Temple

It is a beautiful temple situated in the Ramnad District. Situated at 8 kms from Rameswaram main temple on the way to Dhanushkodi, it is regarded as a holy shrine and is visited by thousands of devotees from far and near.