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Rameswaram, a town and a second grade municipality in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. It is located on Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island and connected to mainland India by the Pamban Bridge.
Rameswaram is the terminus of the railway line from Chennai and Madurai. Together with Varanasi, it is considered to be one of the holiest places of Hindus, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimage.
According to myths, this is the place from where the Lord Rama built a bridge across the sea to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from Asura king Ravana who abducted her.
The Ramanathaswamy Temple Rameswaram devoted to Lord Shiva, is located at the centre of the town and is closely associated with Rama. The temple, along with the town, is considered a holy pilgrimage site for both Shaivas and Vaishnavas.
- Ramanathaswamy Temple:
A Hindu temple devoted to god Shiva located in one of the island state of Tamil Nadu. It is also one of the twelve Jyothirlinga temples, where Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlingam– the pillar of light and it is one of the 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams.
The temple expansion was done by the kings of Pandya Dynasty during 12th century and its principal shrines sanctum were renovated by Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan and his successor Gunaveera Cinkaiariyan of the Jaffna kingdom.
The temple has the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India. The temple is considered a holy pilgrimage site for Shaivites, Vaishnavites and Smarthas.
- Dhanushkodi Beach:
Dhanushkodi Beach renders visions of the deep and rough waters of Indian Ocean meeting the shallow and calm waters of Bay of Bengal. Since the sea is shallow there, one can walk into Bay of Bengal and witness the colourful corals, fishes, seaweeds, star fishes and sea cucumber etc. However one is forewarned from venturing into Indian Ocean as it is extremely violent.
The local people of Dhanushkodi village have set up small shops at the beach and in the village where tourists can get snacks and water.
At the “land’s end” terminus of the peninsula to the southeast of Dhanushkodi, known as Arichumunai or erosion point, begins the chain of rocks and islets known as Rama’s Bridge. These lead approximately 31 km across the Palk Strait to Mannar Island on the northwestern tip of Sri Lanka.
It is believed that this was an intact land bridge passable on foot until a cyclone in 1480 CE swept through the region and deepened the channel
- Pamban Bridge:
Pamban Bridge, India’s first sea bridge connecting Rameswaram island to the mainland is a tourist attraction by itself as an engineering marvelas people watch in awe when the two leaves of the bridge open up to let ships to pass through.
Efforts were taken for the construction of the bridge as early as the 1870s with the British administration planning to expand trade connectivity to Sri Lanka, then Ceylon.
The construction of the rail bridge commenced only by 1911 and it was commissioned on February 24, 1914, German engineer Scherzer designed the central part of the bridge that opens up to allow ferry movement.
The bridge was the only link between Rameshwaram and the mainland until 1988 when a road bridge, running parallel to it, was built. Earlier, it used to transport hundreds of pilgrims everyday to the temple in the island.
Following the instruction of the then President A P J Abdul Kalam it was converted to broad guage rail and it wasopen for traffic in 2007.The bridge was further strengthened in 2009 for running goods traffic.
Indian Railways is vying to bring the bridge in the Unesco’s world heritage list.
- Hanuman Temple Rameshwaram:
The Five-Faced Hanuman Temple in Rameswaram, is said to be the place where Lord Hanuman revealed his five faces.
The temple is situated just 2 km from the main city temple and has a statue of Hanuman with Sindoor. In 1964, the idols of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita were brought from Dhanushkodi and placed in this temple.
It is believed that the floating stone used for constructing the stone bridge across the sea, lies outside this temple. These floating stones are oval in shape and are covered with tiny craters, such as coral which stays afloat in water was used for building Sethu Bandanam, the bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka.
In this temple, tourists get the chance to watch the movie based on the story of how Hanuman helped Lord Rama to find his wife Sita with an interesting scene of Hanuman flying in air to Lanka to find Goddess Sita.