Rameshwaram, a major pilgrimage centre is referred as the Varanasi of
South India. Rameshwaram is an island situated in the Gulf of Mannar
at the tip of the Indian peninsula in Tamil Nadu. The sacred island of
Rameshwaram is about 173 km. from Madurai and only 80 kms. away from
Sri Lanka. The religious island is spread in an area of 61.8 square
kms. and happens to be in the shape of a conch. This island was the
place where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva in order to cleanse away
the sins after he killed the Ravana, king of Lanka and also built the
bridge across the sea to bring his consort, Sita back from Ravana.
This place is sacred to the devotees of both Vishnu and Shiva.
Rameshwaram is also one of the most visited pilgrimage place in India.
It is also believed that the pilgrimage to Kashi is not considered
complete without a pilgrimage to Rameshwaram. The highest point of the
island has the footprints of Lord Rama. Rameshwaram is also a place
from where the ferry to Sri Lanka (Talaimannar) departs.
The nearest airport is
located at Madurai, about 175 kms away.
Rameshwaram is well
connected with Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy and Thanjavur
Rameshwaram is connected
with all the important towns of Tamil Nadu.
Ranganathaswamy Temple is the famous temple at Rameshwaram. This
temple is believed to have been built on the site where Rama
worshipped Shiva in order to do penance for killing the Ravana, king
of Lanka. This temple is one of twelve Jyotirlingas of India,
dedicated to Lord Shiva. The main deity of this temple is the Linga of
Sri Ranganatha. This temple is one of the most beautiful shrines in
terms of sculptures. This temple rises above a lake as a vast
rectangle about 1,000 feet long and 650 feet wide and covers an area
of 15 acres. This temple belongs to the 12th century and was built by
the different rulers over a period of time and was completely built
after three centuries. One of the remarkable feature of the temple is
its corridor. This corridor is the longest corridor in the country
that extends to 1200 metres and is flanked on either side by ornate
pillars. Each pillar is an
individual composition carved out of solid granite. Some of the
leading architects have also described the temples as the most evolved
of all Dravidian temples. There are twenty-two wells in the temple and
the taste of the water in each well is different from each other.
The Kothandaramaswamy Temple is another famous temple at Rameshwaram.
This temple has idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshman, Hanuman and Vibhishan,
the main characters of the epic Ramayana.
The Kurusadai Island is located close to Rameshwaram. The Kurusadai
Island is one of a cluster of 16 islands in the region. The waters
surrounding the islands are a biological paradise with rich and rare
marine life and coral reefs.
The Dhanushkodi is situated at the eastern end of the island at a
distance of 8 kms from Rameshwaram. Dhnushkodi is named after the
Rama's bow. The waters of the Bay of Bengal and Indian ocean meet
here. Bathing at this place is considered very auspicious by the
Hindus. The bridge here is known as the Adam's bridge and the boulders
around the sea are believed to be used by Hanuman to reach across Sri
Lanka. Dhanushkodi was completely destroyed by the cyclones of 1964.
This highest point on the island lies just 3kms. North of the shrine.
A two storeyed mandapam her is believed to have an imprint of the
Lord,Rama’s feet on a charka. On the way are Sukreevar Temple and
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