Our third day of the mega trip started in Rameshwaram, one of the holiest pilgrimages in India. Rameshwaram is most popular for Ramanathaswamy Temple. However, what made us more intrigued in this place are its geographical location and its connection to Hindu epic Ramayana. Rameshwaram is situated in Pamban island which is connected to the mainland India only by Pamban bridge. The nearby town, Dhanushkodi is the south-eastern tip of our country. Have a look at the locations of these two places in Google maps and you will be fascinated to visit. According to Ramayana, it is from Rameshwara that Lord Rama built a bridge across the sea to reach Lanka (Sri Lanka) to save his wife Sitha from Ravana’s hands.
Our first destination for the day was an obvious choice, Ramanathaswamy temple. We quickly got ready, had our breakfast at Hotel Tamilnadu and headed towards the temple. Google maps showed us very narrow roads to reach the temple. Vehicle parking is not allowed near the temple. So, we parked our vehicle slightly away from the temple and walked. The town was crowded with tourists as it was Monday, holy day for Shiva temples.
Ramanathaswamy Temple is one of the twelve Jyothirlinga temples in India where Shiva is worshiped in the form of Jyothirlinga. It is believed that Lord Rama had prayed to Lord Shiva here to wash away the sin of killing a Brahmin, during war with Ravana. Few interesting facts about the temple are as follows (reference: Wikipedia):
- Rama wanted to have the largest lingam to worship Shiva. He directed Hanuman, to bring the lingam from Himalayas. Since it took longer to bring the lingam, Sitha built a small lingam out of the sand available in the sea shore.
- There are two lingams inside the sanctum – Ramalingam, the one built by Goddess Sitha from sand residing as the main deity and Vishwalingam, the one brought by Lord Hanuman from Kailash. Rama instructed that Vishwalingam should be worshiped first since it was brought by Lord Hanuman.
- The temple was expanded during the 12th century by Pandya Dynasty, and its principal shrines sanctum were renovated by Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan and his successor Gunaveera Cinkaiariyan of the Jaffna kingdom(13-14th Century).
- King Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan (1380 — 1410 CE) shipped stone blocks from Koneswaram temple, Trincomalee (Srilanka) to the temple to renovate its innermost shrine.
There are sixty-four Tīrthas (holy water bodies) in and around the island of Rameswaram. Twenty four of them are considered to be very important and twenty two of the them are within the Ramanathaswamy Temple. The first and major one is called Agni Theertham, the sea. It is believed that if you take a dip in these twenty four water bodies and then take darshan of Lord Shiva, all the sins of your life will wash away and it is considered equivalent to penance. You can find many pilgrims taking dip in these water bodies inside the temple as well as in the sea (Agni Theertham). We did not take dip in these water bodies due to time crunch and we directly went for Darshan. The temple was too much crowded. There were pilgrims from all over the country. Be aware of your personal belongings. We suggest not to carry costly items during temple visit. Once you enter inside the temple, you have to stand in a long queue. You can take special darshan tickets inside the temple. We took 50 Rs/person ticket, but still, it took an hour’s time to get Darshan. The temple complex is huge and peaceful.
After collecting Prasadam, we came out of the temple and headed towards the outer corridor, the one for which we were eagerly waiting. This pillared corridor is 6.9 m height and 400 feet long each in the east and west and about 640 feet in north and south. This 1,000 pillared corridor is the longest temple corridor in the world. Each pillar is sculpted beautifully in Nayak style as in Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple. The colorful corridor is extremely wonderful and its beauty can’t be described in words. DO NOT miss to visit this pillared corridor when you are in Rameshwaram.
We left from Rameshwaram at 11.30 AM, reached our hotel Brindavan Residency and checked out at 12.15 PM. We had our lunch at hotel S S Grand which we had noted down the previous day when we were traveling towards Rameshwaram. After having not-so-good lunch, we headed towards Dhanushkodi at 1.45 PM.
We have written a separate post about Dhanushkodi. Check it out here.
After Dhanushkodi, our next destination for the day was Kanyakumari. En route, we stopped at the very famous Pamban Bridge. As we told earlier, Pamban bridge is the only connection between Pamban island and mainland India. The cantilever railway bridge and the road bridge constructed in parallel with it are together called as Pamban bridge. The railway bridge was constructed in the year 1914 and the road bridge in 1988. Pamban railway bridge is India’s first sea bridge and is the second longest sea bridge in India after Bandra-Warli sea link. The bridge is around 2 km long and the view of these two bridges is spectacular. The bridge is considered to be one of the most dangerous railway bridges in the world because the bridge is located in the world’s second most corrosive environment and also the area is a cyclone-prone high wind velocity zone.
The central part of the cantilever bridge is designed in such a way that it can be opened up to allow ferry movement. This 100 year old bridge is truly an engineering marvel and is one of the main tourist attractions in Rameshwaram.
After becoming awed by this wonder, we bid good bye to Rameshwaram and proceeded towards Kanyakumari. En route, we had delicious dinner at one of our relatives’ house in Tuticorin. If you are planning to stop in Tuticorin, then don’t forget to buy the town’s special tasty sweet, Macroons. We reached Kanyakumari at 11 o’clock at night and checked in to Hotel Sivamrugan. We are glad that the hotel authorities did not have any issue for such a late check-in. Also, we were delighted to see very well and neatly maintained big rooms. It was beyond our expectation and gave us the much needed comforting end for the tiresome day.
- Route Traveled: Hotel Brindavan Residency, Rameshwaram > Ramanathaswamy Temple > Dhanushkodi > Rameshwaram > Pamban Bridge > Thoothukudi > Kanyakumari > Hotel Sivamurugan > Kanyakumari
- Photos: Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi Photos
- A Mega Nano Trip to Kanyakumari
- Day 1 – Gingee Fort (Senji Fort)
- Day 1 – Pondicherry (Puducherry)
- Day 2 – Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Darasuram Temples
- Day 2 – Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur
- Day 3 – Dhanushkodi
- Day 4 – Kanyakumari
- Day 5 – Madurai