Spread over fifteen acres this massive temple complex is an important pilgrimage centre for Hindus .Part of the temple complex dates back to the 12th century.The complex also has India's largest temple corridor which consists of 1212 stone pillars.
You have to pass through the Pamban bridge to reach Rameswaram.Park your vehicle on it for half an hour to enjoy the spectacular views of the ocean and experience the ferocious winds.And if you have got your timing right you will see a passenger train pass over the ocean on a parallel bridge.
A visit to Rameswaram temple would take at least half a day, especially if you wish to take the obligatory religious bath at the various wells. If you desire to visit Danushkodi also, set aside a full day. In between, you could squeeze in a quick look at the other temples and religious sites. Ideally speaking, set aside two full days for a soul-satisfying and soul-purifying experience. A video is here at VirtualTourist.
Here the presiding deity is a Linga (Sri Ramanatha Swamy), considered as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas (jyoti=light; lingam=phallus-shaped stone worshipped as Lord Shiva). So jyotilinga or jyotilingam or jyotiling is a temple for worshipping Lord Shiva in His form as lingam of light where only the enlightened can see the column of light). In India, there are 12 such shrines. Only Hindus are allowed entry into the sanctum sanctorum.
There are 22 wells within the temple complex where a bath (water from the well is drawn up by means of a small bucket and poured over you. No, there is no need for you to remove your clothes). Surprisingly, the water is quite warm. It is believed that the taste and temperature of each well is distinctly different from one another. In the hurly-burly of the ritual, it might be difficult to differentiate. Also, the water is supposed to possess curative powers. For the full ceremony, you need to first take a bath at the Agni Theertham, the seashore closest to the temple and then proceed to the wells. Each of the wells has a special significance ranging from getting rich to ridding oneself of a curse to purification of the heart to being pardoned of all past sins.
The temple is perceived to be the acme of Dravidian architecture with a gopuram (tower) rising to a height of 38.4 m (126 ft.), renowned as it is for its precisely symmetrical three corridors (1220 m; 4,000 ft.) on both sides of which are mammoth granite pillars (roughly 1,200 of them) with a height of 3.6 m (12 ft.), all intricately carved. Elephants are routinely led in and out of the temple complex through these corridors. It is the longest temple corridor in India and the third one is the longest in the world with pillars. Construction began sometime in the 12th century AD.
According to the epic Ramayan, after the abduction of Sita by the demon king, Ravan and his flight to Lanka (Sri Lanka) along with his booty, Lord Ram gave chase. At Rameswaram, Lord Ram rested while Hanuman built a bridge (also known as Adam's Bridge) over the ocean to Lanka, about 20-odd kms away. Lord Ram prayed to the sea god to assist him in making the bridge. The sea god responded by calming the sea waves. Once the bridge was complete, Lord Ram went forth, vanquished Ravan and returned to Rameswaram with his wife, Sita. He rested and prayed here again to expiate himself of the sin of having killed a Brahmin (Ravan). As such, it is a sacred site for both Vaishnavites and Shaivities and no Hindu pilgrimage is considered complete without a visit to this town. Such is the value placed on this town in terms of pilgrimage that a pilgrimage to Benaras is incomplete without a pilgrimage to Rameswaram. Hence, it is a bustling centre for pilgrims. The temple timings are from 5 am to 9 pm with a lunch break between 1 pm and 3 pm. In a day 6 ‘pujas’ are performed.
About 3 kms from the Ramaswamy Temple is the Gandhamandana Parvatham, the highest point in the island. Climb up to the terrace and a wonderful sight awaits you as the entire island is visible from this vantage point. You can watch the greenery and in the distance, the mighty ocean. Lord Rama’s feet are supposed to be imprinted on a charka there. A video is here at VirtualTourist.
Barely 12 kms from the Ramaswamy Temple is the Kothanda Ramar Temple, a sub-temple of the Ramaswamy Temple where, the Ramayan say, the brother of the demon king, Ravana, Vibhishana, surrendered to Lord Rama. Surrounded by sand on all sides, there are steep steps leading up to the main hall. Large sized murals depicting the entire scene of Vibhishana coming to meet Lord Rama, surrendering and offering his services, are on the four walls of the main hall. A video is here at VirtualTourist.
The two beaches, Ariaman and Vallinokkam are both virgin territory. The former is on the Palk Bay side where the waters are calmer as is about 30 kms from Rameswaram. The latter is 37 kms via Erwadi on the Ramanathapuram-Sayalkudi Tuticorin National Highway and thereafter, a 1 km walk.
The Panchamuka Hanuman Temple is located only 2 kms from the Ramaswamy Temple. The idols of Hanuman, Lord Rama and Sita were re-located here after the devastating cyclone of 1964 at Dhanushkodi. An example of the ‘floating’ stone used by Hanuman to build the bridge connecting Rameswaram with Lanka, is also kept in this temple. The image of Hanuman, with five faces and covered in vermilion, is of special interest here.
Dhanushkodi is a mere strip of land barely 1 kms wide and 20 kms long. It is roughly 3 kms from the Rameswaram Temple. It may be reached by boat or by surface transport or, if you prefer the mightiness of the ocean, by walking. Its barrenness was further exacerbated by the tsunami that hit this coastline on December 26, 2004. The ex-President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, hails from this fishing hamlet.
As you turn your back to the land mass and face the waters, you are met by the calm sea of the Bay of Bengal mingling with the roughness of the Indian Ocean, the salty breeze assailing your eyes, your nose and your lips. The scene is truly incredible and as you watch the mighty ocean, you realise how utterly puny you truly are. An evening visit is magnificent as the setting sun turns the entire scene iridescent.
These two seas resemble a bow at their confluence with the strip of land akin to an arrow on the brink of release. In the Hindu epic, ‘Ramayan’, Dhanushkodi is the place where Lord Ram anointed Vibhishan the brother of the demon king, Ravan and, at the latter’s request, broke the bridge with one end of his bow (dhanus=bow; kodi=end). Therefore the name, Dhanushkodi. Another story is that Lord Rama marked this spot for the bridge with one end of his bow.
Prior to 1964, there was a British-built railway line as well as a railway station here. However, the devastating cyclone of 1964, destroyed the village as well as all semblance of the railway line. The tsunami has done the rest, leaving not a rack behind. To quote the great Bard:
“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
(The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158)
The longest bridge of India connecting the Rameswaram island with the Indian subcontinent.
Below the 2.2 km bridge is a parallel railway. The view from the bridge is magnificient as well - clear blue water and lush green lagoons. This area is also acclaimed for marine biodiversity, especially coral reef.
Situated atop a mound, the temple is known for Rama's footprints. This is also the place where Hanuman is said to made a great leap to Sri Lanka.
The temple is two-story on which the sanctum is on the ground floor. From the balcony upstairs, Ramanathaswamy temple can be seen, as welll as northern tip of Sri Lanka. The view across the carpet of lush green lagoons and occational sand dunes are truly fantastic.
The temple was built in 17th century over spot where Rama worshipped Shiva upon his return from Sri Lanka, slaying Ravana to rescue his wife, Sita.
The temple is said to have the longest corridor in India. There are 22 wells in the temple holding various holy waters of India, including those from river Ganga and Yemuna.
White gopuram over the east entrance is typical example of Dravidian architecture.
Also known as Agni theertham, the water along this seashore near the Ramanathaswamy temple is considered to be sacred.
This is also the first "dip" before entering the temple for additional 22 holy water to be poured over your head.
Floating stones, believed to be used for bridging the way between India and Sri Lanka in order to resuce Sita, can be found inside Sri Ramachandra Temple.
The stones are made of corals and that makes them float. Stones can be only found inside the temple. Temple itself is very small and there is nothing else to see.
at last, i made it, and here's the photo, the start of adam's bridge, where the gulf of mannar, and the palk stait meet.