A few days leave and planned to drive to Rameshwaram from our hometown Pandalam in our new sporty Nano, it was a fun trip for me and a pilgrimage one for my parents. Well the drive itself was so mesmerizing that each and every stop over provided the much needed rejuvenation as I love bike rides more than cars.....I have clicked some pics enroute..check the photologue.
7 hours drive with lots of breaks, nourishing coconut water, banana fries, vadas, and steaming tea we reached the the holy town of Rameshwaram. Rameshwaram town is like the Benaras of the South and is visited to receive moksha. The state tourism run HOTEL TAMILNADU- RAMESWARAM was our halt. Rameshwaram is one of the most venerated sites of Lord Shiva and also one of the 4 dhams and 12 jyotirlings to be located in South India. Since it is the place where Rama worshipped Lord Shiva it is pious for Vaishnavites as well as Shaivites.
Ramanathswami or The Ramanatha temple boasts of Dravidian architecture and has one of the largest temple corridoors in India, It took nearly 600 years to built this, in around 12-18th century. Nayaka kings are given the credit of the architecture. The 4000ft long corridoor is perfectly aligned with 4000 pillars, decorated with images from the Hindu mythology. The temple was our first visit the next morning, one can bath in 22 thirthams which are said to be a perennial source of water, before entering the temple, the temple charges you Rs 75/- for the bath. We walk through the corridoor and we come to teerthams namely mahalakshmi, savitri, gayatri saraswathi, sethumathava, Bharamahati vimochanta teertha, nalatheertham, neela theertham, kavaya theertham, kavacha, kanthamadhavana, chakkara, siva, sathyaamrutha, sarva, shanka, gaya, ganga, yamuna, surya, chandra, kod...as we pass through each tank a bucket of water bathes us with a spiritual significance. It is said that the taste of water in each tank is different....well I carn't confirm that.
The board says do not enter the temple with dripping clothes. There is a room to change into your dry clothes and then we entered the temple. There are 2 shiv lingas in here, one brought down by Hanuman from Kailasam which is called the Vishwanath temple and the other installed by Parvathi devi. There are many small shrines inside. We also paid a visit to the Hanuman Mandir, where Hanuman helped Lord Ram built the bridge to Lanka. This temple has large stones with "Shri Ram' written on it, which apparently is from the Ram Setu – they do float in water. I have the pics....For lunch we went to the Gujarat bhavan, and proceeded to see Dhanushkodi.
We booked a jeep from the hotel itself for our Dhanushkodi visit for around Rs.900/-The drive is nearly 20 kms and is a awesome one with around 8-9 kms tarred and the rest through sand tracts. Actually Dhanushkodi was attached with Rameshwaram by rail but in due course of time sand covered it, so not usable today. Dhanushkodi to Lanka is hardly 30 kms from here it seems. The town was once a well to do live harbour totally destroyed in 1964 by a cyclone. It was totally wiped out with only heart-whelming imprints of the once mighty structures. On our return from Dhanushkodi the driver pointed out to Abdul Kalam's house and his brother's shop of sea shells.
Gandhamadana parvatham...around 1.5 mile from Ramanatha temple is accessed by a..flight of stairs..there is Sree Ram's foot prints here. We can have a good view around town from the temple. Unfortunately I was not able to click some pics....15 kms away Devipattanam, on the coast is a village Tirupullani. Ram has installed 9 stones here...we have to walk through waist high sea water to reach here....a visit here completes your pilgrimage trip it is said, but very less do come here...Tirupullani is the sea coast from where the stone bridge was built to Lanka. Adi Setu Karai is another name of this place.....We too didnt venture out for this...just added for info.
The journey was a bit tiring and once back we were not short of enthusiasm to make it to the Pamban bridge. Rameswaram is actually situated on an island connected to the mainland by the Pamban bridge. It's beautiful to stand on the bridge sensing the slight flutter when the vehicles move and observe the various colours of blue shades the sea changes to ....Shot a few pics here too, roamed around and returned back to leave back home the next day.
From the Pamban bridge there are Govt boats which take you to the coral rocks around half km in the sea. There are a lot of colourful corals to see here, since we had no time had to skip this. It was quiet hot at this time of the year so summers would be very hot and humid. Avoid rains as the sea would also be rough.