Rameshwaram: temple, history, bridge & Ramayana mystery

How lord Rama found a source of sweet water in middle of sea to quench thrust of mother Sita (Love matters and mattered in those times too :))? How did he optimize his execution time of attack by finding the shortest path (You would surely turn the algorithm books up if you are a geek)? Where did he actually take rest after winning the war? Where lord Rama sit with his army and made a plan to attack Lanka?

Intriguing yet interesting, is not it?
You must have watched these fantasies molding into action live on TV screen but I tell you, I went to those places in physical just to REALIZE THE RAMAYANA.

– An ancient town on an island; destroyed by cyclone decades ago; in the gulf of Munnar at the very tip of Indian peninsula; separated from mainland India by the Pamban channel; almost 50kms from Munnar island, Srilanka; – is Rameshwaram; the land of lord Rama- one of the four holiest places in Hindu pilgrimage. (Did I give too much of details?)

– Dating back to era of Rama almost 10000 years ago, it has many sites engulfed inside her, having direct analogy with each chapter and each instant of Ramayana.
So, if you have strong hold on Ramayana, you are a legend in yourself- a guy correlating everything with what he has studied in its prose realizing Ramayana on holy land of Ramayana. Nonetheless, people with poor knowledge don’t get disheartened, you have much more things to discover on the same land and more number of times, you can have symptoms of open jaws and awestruck-ness.

Lets start one by one:

The first and main attraction “The RamanathaSwamy Temple, Rameshwaram”:

-A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva which lingam was built by Sita. The temple was developed by various kings starting from 12th Century onwards. Since then, there has not been any from Muslim Kings on Rameswaram, the Temple stands as it is. This temple is visited by both the Vaishnavites and Shivites. The temple comprises 22 wells where the taste of the water of each well is different from the other. One has to take bath in all these 22 wells to complete the ritual of holy land. The number 22 indicates the 22 arrows in Rama’s quiver.

Holy Bath and Darshanam at RamanathaSwamy Temple:

The holy procedural follows holy dip at the sea first.

Holy dip in sea

Followed by a queue outside the main temple at east gate. There purchase tickets and get assigned to a mentor called “Panda”, he takes you to 22 wells representing 22 tirthams and 22 arrows in the quiver of Lord Rama, to wash away your sins and make you free from any bad karmas.

One of the 22 Teerthams inside temple compound

Temple has one of the largest corridors in the world, famous for 1000 pillars.

Ramanathaswamy temple from distance

After taking holy bath at wells,change clothes; stand in queue for the main darshanam. There are also special tickets available for special darshanam. This whole procedure of darshanam almost takes 3-4 hours depending upon the crowd. Once you are done with the procedure, never avoid hot breakfasts outside at stalls.

My advice: Book an auto for a day long and take a look at many other religious places of interest.

Starting with:

Gandhamathana Parvatham, Rameshwaram:

-Highest hillock around the area; Situated almost 3 kms north to the temple; There is Ramarpatham temple  where foot prints of Rama can be seen. It is said that at this highest point lord Rama discussed the plan to find the shortest route to attack Lanka.

RamarPatham Temple at Gandhamathana Parvatham

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A view from Gandhamathana Parvatham

Pamban Bridge, Rameshwaram:

-Almost 2 kms long bridge over sea connecting mainland India to Ramesawaram. There is a story behind this bridge which can be found on wikipedia. Here is the link to the story: (Don’t forget to read it, though a bit tragical but inspiring one)
Click here for Pamban Bridge Story

-Stop at the bridge for some time to see a variety of colors of the sea and count them.
Did you know how many colors I learned:
-jade
-Aqua blue
-Myrtle green
-Teal
-Emerald
-Persian green
-Saphhire
-Iris
-Bondi blue and many more………..
If I had to confess, then I would say I searched of shades of green and blue to find my favorite color after having the color vividness of sea shades changing every moment when I stood over the bridge and watch the Aqua-marine sea(BTW, is it my favorite color now? Cuz I just spelled it).
Don’t forget to appreciate the wondering of the engineered bridge made years ago, and fleet of fishing boats taking you to world of movie TROY (I suppose you remember that scene when thousands of uncountable fleet of boats move towards the shore).

Pamban rail bridge

Boats in Gulf of Munnar (remember movie “TROY’)

Dhanushkodi, Rameshwaram:

-A place for 4×4(Cuz I love 4×4 ads); 18 kms away from the town; washed away in 1964 by cyclone. It is the same place where brother of Ravana surrendered before Rama. Time to love sandy and muddy shore. Hey, tell me if you find a single soul all through the route except some local fishermen.
-The tarred road which we took, half a kilometer on the left is the Bay of Bengal and half a kilometer on the right is the Indian Ocean. The one good thing here is that this entire half kilometer on either side is covered with trees.

A 4×4 Vehicle on the route to Dhanushkodi

The weather was very clear and there were no rains to ruin our day. I think this is the best season to visit Rameswaram. Rainy season is pretty far off. At the same time, the weather is not as sticky and sultry as it is in Chennai. If you are visiting Rameswaram, plan in such a way that you are spending two days there covering Dhanuskodi too.

A Short story which I have revised many times in Hindi and Sanskrit syllabus books too:
It is said that Lord Rama on his way to Srilanka asked the King of Ocean to help him but instead of giving a dry path to lord Rama, ocean exacerbated the intensity of the waves and tides and later on, the ocean had to suffer for it cuz he misbehaved with the supreme power of the universe.

so, you can clearly see that there are hardly any waves on this part of Bay of Bengal (This is what the ocean had to suffer after getting a curse from the lord) and you would feel that you are watching a huge swimming pool which has no borders. It looked so beautiful. but felt little sorry for the bay of Bengal cuz it appeared as a bride without her beauty. 🙁

Adam’s Bridge aerial viewo legend, this is the place where Rama built bridge to Lanka to get back the Sita and that bridge is called Adam’s Bridge. There are scientific and geological proves for existence of Adam’s Bridge.

What geologists say about the Adam’s Bridge?

-Its a natural coral bridge that exists between Dhanuskodi and Mannar on which Lord Rama might have laid a bridge made up of stones. So, whatever is written in the Ramayana is proved by the satellite images that show natural coral bridge which has comparatively shallow waters, the route which Lord Rama might have exploited on his journey to Srilanka. (Did you feel pride on our rich history?)

Kothandaramar Temple, Rameshwaram:

We started back after spending an hour on the confluence of Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. On the way back, the Jeep driver took us to Kothanda Ramar Temple where Lord Rama had proclaimed Vibheeshana (brother of the Demon King, Ravana who kidnapped
Lord Rama’s wife, Sita)- so interesting na……..

Kothandaramar Temple

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This temple is located in-between the Backwaters of Bay of Bengal. There is a road leading to this temple which is surrounded by shallow waters. Vibheeshana was proclaimed as the King of Srilanka after he surrendered to Lord Rama. Despite people warning against aligning with an opponent, Lord Rama tells them that it is Human to help someone who surrenders.

My grand pa made a sand lingam of Shiva and worshiped them

Panchmukhi (Five-faced) Hanuman Temple, Rameshwaram:

The 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.

Panchmukhi Hanuman

Villoondi Theertham, Rameshwaram:

Now you have finally reached the place where the lord Rama buried his bow and found the source of sweet water in middle of the sea(Love was still a factor those times too)
-Villondi means a buried bow. It is considered to be a sacred place by most of the followers of Lord Rama. It is about 7 kms from main Rameshwar temple in the road that goes to Pamban. This is the holy place where the thirst of Goddess Sita was quenched by hitting the arrow in the sea. A single spot where drinking water is available in the midst of salty sea makes the great attraction for the people to visit the place.

Sweet water well amidst sea at the walk-end

Seeta Teertham, Rameshwaram:

A pond where Sita took bath after returning from Lanka and took rest. A big floating stone and fishes in the pond are the main attractions there.

A floating stone at Sita Tirtham

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Beside, these places there are also many places like Rama tirtham, lakshaman Tirtham, Agnee Tirtham and a temple where all took rest after the war was over. More information can be gathered from local people, guide or the auto driver.

Temple where Rama and other gods rested

The usual ritual at this temple is to sit silent for few minutes because all the gods took rest here and drink water from a well there. Other attractions are house of former president of India APJ kalam and a shop run by their family. Don’t forget to leave your valuable comments and suggestions behind 🙂 


5 Proves of Ramesawaram strong connections with Ramayana

1. Adam’s bridge (Rama Setu):

Adam's Bridge aerial viewAerial view of the Adam’s bridge

Adam’s bridge is the living example that a bridge once existed in between Indian island and Sri lankan island. According to geographic survey, this bridge follows the rule alogorithmically shortest path in between India and Sri lanka. More about the bridge; how was that constructed; the ancient yet reliable tehnology behind that could be found in the video given below:


Adam’s bridge explantion

2. Gandamadana Parvatham:

It is said that before making a plan to attack Sri Lanka, Ram held a meeting with Hanuman for finding out the quickest yet safest route to Sri lanka. Since Gandamadana Parvatham is the highest point along the coasts of Rameswaram, I feel no doubt that the attacking strategies was being made after surveying the area from the highest point available in that area.

RamarPatham Temple at Gandhamathana ParvathamThe Gandamadana Temple

3. Kothandaramar Temple:

This temple is another interesting place because of its location. It’s situated in the backwaters of Indian territory and is almost the nearest place from Sri lanka. It is believed that the Vibhishan met lord Rama at this place first. Well, I would believe that because of the location of the temple and the island.

Kothandaramar TempleKothandaramar Temple

4. Gulf of Mannar:

History has a proof that Armadas sailed through the gulf before halting at the coastal lines of the enemies. Be it greek sailors or the Troy ones. Since the gulf of Mannar separates India from Srilanka, devising an attacking plan would need the fleet to cross the gulf and land on the lands of Lanka before making a attack

Fleet of boats in Gulf of MunnarGulf of Mannar

5. Small yet singificant places around Rameswaram

Places like Villoondi Teethtam where lord Rama finds out sweet water in middle of the sea or the places where they took rest after wining the war are, IMHO, not just the places named after. If you spend some time in Rameswaram realize about the topographical locations of these places. You would find that analogical.

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About trekkerp

Author of The Girl from the Woods and a Travel writer from India looking forward to collect quirky tales from around the world

6 Replies to “Rameshwaram: temple, history, bridge & Ramayana mystery”

  1. RAMAMOORTHY THIYAGARAJAN

    U have done a good job. I am doing research on Valmiki Ramayana. Your information might be useful to me. Could u pl. provide ur e-mail to discuss something with you

    Reply

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