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Connected to mainland India by the famous Pamban Bridge, located at the southernmost tip, Rameshwaram is a popular temple town, housing the Ramanathaswamy Temple, with a history that dates back to the Ramayana.
Located in the middle of mainland India and Sri Lanka with its fresh sea breezes, historical temples & pristine beaches, this Island Destination has been the centre of attraction for travellers across the world, especially Hindu pilgrims on the Char Dham yatra to the Ramanathaswamy temple.
About the Ramanathaswamy Temple
In various sacred Hindu texts such as Vedas and all the Puranas, there are mentions of this place, depicting the piousness of Rameshwaram. It was in Rameshwaram where Lord Rama along with Hanuman built the bridge to Sri Lanka to rescue Sita from Ravana. This bridge, now located beneath the waters is popularly known as Ram Setu!
The Ramanathaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva located on Rameswaram island in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. According to the Ramayana, Rama, the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, prayed to the god Shiva to absolve him of the sin committed during his war against the king Ravana in Sri Lanka.
Rama wanted to have a large lingam to worship Shiva. He directed Hanuman, the lieutenant in his army, to bring a lingam from the Himalayas. When Hanuman was delayed in bringing the lingam, Rama built a small lingam out of the sand available in the seashore, which is believed to be the lingam in the sanctum.
The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine sites) sites comprising Badrinath, Puri, Dwarka and Rameshwaram. Though the origins are not clearly known, the Advaita school of Hinduism established by Sankaracharya, who created Hindu monastic institutions across India, attributes the origin of Char Dham to the seer.
While the Ramanathaswamy temple is a must visit here, there is much more you can do! You should try visiting the Dhanushkodi beach, pulling over on the Pamban bridge made famous by the movie Chennai Express. If you want some peace and quiet, you can ride along the ocean on your way to the Kothandaramaswamy Temple.
Dhanushkodi, located 20 km from Rameshwaram, was once was a flourishing fishing town but was hit by a devastating cyclone in 1964. It destroyed everything and the ruins can now be seen submerged in the ocean once you head towards the secluded beaches.
Things to do in Rameshwaram
The Ramanathaswamy temple is the largest temple here and is spread over 15 acres. An important pilgrimage centre, this temple houses one of the twelve jyotirlingas in the country. It’s certainly the biggest tourist attraction here. It has the second largest pillared corridor in the world and is one of the must-visit tourist places in Rameshwaram.
The Ariyaman Beach is certainly a pristine and beautiful beach with stunning shorelines running across the landscape. Lazy waves and purity make this beach is perfect for a weekend out with friends or family.
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It simply is one of the best beaches you will go to due to its serenity, cleanliness, and lack of commercialization that draws scores of travellers every year. Fishermen had made this their home till the infamous cyclone of ’64. Therefore it now bears the sign of massive destruction it underwent during that period.
You all know its claim to fame was when it was featured in the Bollywood movie, Chennai Express. But apart from that, the view from this bridge is breathtakingly beautiful.
Best time to visit Rameshwaram
A trip to Rameshwaram usually consists of a lot of outdoor time on the beaches, markets and the Ramanathaswamy Temple, so the best time to go there is during the year end. October to February is considered to the best time to be there due to the pleasant evenings, and cool breeze blowing all throughout the day.
Summers and monsoons are hot and humid and not the right time to be walking around on the beach! Summer holiday ensure that there are thousands of pilgrims every day and the temple complex is buzzing with tourists.
How to reach Rameshwaram
By Flight – Rameshwaram doesn’t have air connectivity yet! But the closest airports are Madurai, Tuticorin, and Trivandrum. Once you are at these airports you can take a cab, bus or train to reach Rameshwaram.
By Train – The Rameshwaram Railway station is well connected to the mainland with regular trains from Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai etc.
By Road – If you are driving from Bangalore, the trip will take around 10-12 hours. Thanks for the NHAI, you will get lovely roads all throughout the journey. From Chennai, the trip takes about 10-12 hours as well. You will also find plenty of bus services to Rameshwaram from all major towns in the South. You can book tickets online or through a travel agent.
Where you do stay in Rameshwaram
Over the years due to the influx of tourists across India and abroad, a lot of hotels and resorts have come up in Rameshwaram, especially in close vicinity to the Ramanathaswamy temple. You can get a lot of options ranging from the TTDC (Tamil Nadu Tourism Development) guest houses to Hyatt Palace.
All popular booking sites now have the hotels in Rameshwaram listed and the cheapest ones will cost you INR 700 a day onwards! You can see the best hotels in Rameshwaram here.
Beach too hot for you? Check out these hill stations instead!
The Western Ghats dominate the landscape of the Southern states, with their natural bounty, an abundance of wildlife and serenity! If you are looking to beat the summer heat and plan to head to head out to the hills then you must check these offbeat hill stations in South India!