The Southern Sojourn – Rameswaram

My wife sometimes gets smitten by religious bugs, resulting in our short visits to the holy places like Hardwar, Rishikesh, Vrindavan, Mathura, etc, which are mostly within the vicinity of around 200 km. This time she seems to have been bitten by a bug of relatively higher intensity as she told me during one of our morning walks that she has never been to south and asked me to plan a visit. She is a person of very few words, who seldom asks for anything and whenever she does, it almost becomes a command for the family. I immediately called my age-old friend, Dorai who worked with me for over 15 years in ANZ bank, before being transferred to Chennai and conveyed her wish to him. He asked me to make plans for the slightly cooler month of December. This is how our sojourn for South fructified.

Dorai suggested the following itinerary for the trip:
December 12 Reach Chennai at 9 P.M.
December 13 Start for Rameswaram by Rameswaram Express at 9.45 P.M.
December 14 Spend the day at Rameswaram and leave for Kaniyakumari by car at around 6 in the evening.
December 15 Watch sunrise and visit the Vivekanand Samarak and other temples. Start for Madurai at 4 P.M.
December 16 Visit Meenakshi Temple and other important places at Madurai and leave for Chennai by night train.
December 17 Rest at Chennai
December 18 Visit Tirupathi and back to Chennai at 10 P.M.
December 19 Visit Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram
December 20 Local tour of Chennai by TTDC bus
December 21 Shopping and meeting friends.
December 22 Leave for Delhi by Chennai Rajdhani.

The journey
In the heart of my heart I knew that the two senior citizens, I and my wife wouldn’t find it very easy to cope up with this rather hectic schedule. But as they say “मुश्किल नहीं है कुछ भी अगर ठान लीजिये”, (Nothing is impossible if you put your heart to it) the excitement of visiting the south and meeting the old friends, took the better of us and we boarded the Chennai Rajdhani train. The journey was thoroughly enjoyable, with the caring pantry and other on board staff. The only problem we faced was the unhygienic sanitary conditions, with taps of three out of four washrooms leaking, spilling water all over. The train reached bang on time and Dorai met us at the station. At Dorai’s spacious home, we spent a wonderful evening and next day started for Rameswaram. As we seated in the compartment, we saw a girl in her twenties wearing over half a kg of gold ornaments over her neck and wrists. We had also observed the ladies wearing a fair amount of golden ornaments in the streets of Chennai, earlier in the day. This was unlike the Delhi lifestyle where chain snatching and daylight robberies are rampant and people normally avoid wearing expensive ornaments.

The journey to Rameswaram (also spelt as Rameshwaram) was uneventful till we reached Mandapam, where we could sight the mesmerizing Pamban railway bridge, a cantilever bridge on the Palk Strait which connects Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India. It was India’s first sea bridge which was opened for traffic in 1914. The bridge is about 2.3 km long. The rail bridge is for the most part, a conventional bridge resting on concrete piers, but has a double leaf bascule section midway, which can be raised to let ships and barges pass through. While passing through the bridge, the train moves very slowly and at times we felt that the train was almost piercing the bosom of the sea. Sitting in the train we could see the elevated two-lane road bridge, which joins Pamban island with the mainland and from where adjoining islands and the parallel rail bridge below can be viewed.

Pamban Rail Bridge - Courtesy Wikipedia

Pamban Rail Bridge – Courtesy Wikipedia

Elevated Road Bridge

Elevated Road Bridge

The breathtaking bridge journey finishes at Pamban station, from where the railway line bifurcates into two – one going to Rameswaram (6Km) and the other to Dhanushkodi (24 Km). Unfortunately due to heavy cyclones the Dhanushkodi line was washed away and had to be abandoned.

Dorai’s brother-in-law, Natarajan, who otherwise lives at Virudhanagar and probably knew every inch of Rameswaram, very kindly agreed to take us through the temples of Rameswaram. He met us at MCM Hotel, one of the better properties of the holy town. I would also want you to consider another Rameshwaram Hotel as linked.

The legends, `Char Dhams and 12 Jyotirlingas
Sensing that I am only a reasonably (please read ignorantly) religious person, he thought it prudent to give us a background of the town and its historical temples.

The legends
There are many legends associated with Rameswaram. One of them is that this is the place where Lord Rama (the revered Hindu God in the Hindu mythology Ramayana) built a floating stone bridge with the aid of his friend and devotee, Hanuman and his Vanara army, across the sea to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from her abductor, Ravana. Before the start of the construction of the bridge, the sea gods were putting all sorts of obstructions and Rama made a linga of sand and worshipped it and asked to be blessed so that he could vanquish Ravana. Lord Shiva blessed him accordingly. He also requested Lord Shiva to reside eternally here so that entire mankind could benefit from it. Shiva then manifested himself as the Linga and got installed there for eternity.

There is another legend that is most often reinforced. As per the popular belief, while returning to Ayodhya, Rama prayed Lord Shiva here to absolve any sins he might have committed during his battle with Ravana, the demon-king in Lanka, especially the ‘Brahamhatya’, as Ravana was a Brahmin. According to the Hindu scriptures, to worship Shiva, Rama wanted to have the largest lingam and directed Hanuman to bring it from the Himalayas. Since it took longer than anticipated to bring the lingam, Sita built a small lingam with earth. Rama offered worship to this Shivalingam at a pre-chosen auspicious moment. This lingam is also referred to as Ramalingam and is believed to be the one in the sanctum of the temple. Rameswara, incidentally means “Lord of Rama” in Sanskrit, an epithet of Lord Shiva, the presiding deity of the Ramanathaswamy Temple. The town is thus, known as Rameswaram.

There is yet another Shivalingam here – Viswanathar said to have been brought by Hanuman. This Shivalingam is referred to as Kasilingam and Hanumalingam. Prayers are offered to Viswanathar before they are offered to Ramanathaswamy.

Char Dham
Char Dham which literally means four seats / abodes and are the names of four pilgrimage centers in India that are widely revered by most Hindus and are supposed to be visited in one’s lifetime : Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram. The four monasteries lie across the four corners of India and their attendant temples are BadrinathTemple in the North, Jagannath Temple at Puri in the east, Dwarkadheesh Temple at Dwarka in the west and Ramanathswamy Temple at Rameswaram in the South. Though ideologically the temples are divided between the sects of Hinduism, namely Saivism and Vaishnavism, the Char Dham pilgrimage is an all Hindu affair.
However, there are four abodes in Himalayas called Chota Char Dham (Chota meaning small): Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, which lie at the foot hills of Himalayas. The name Chota was added during the mid of 20th century to differentiate the original Char Dhams. The journey across the four cardinal points in India is considered sacred by Hindus.

Char Dham

Char Dham

Jyotirlingas
Jyotirlinga or Jyotirlingam is a devotional object representing the Lord Shiva. Jyoti means “radiance” and lingam representing the mark of Shiva, the beginingless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva. Jyotirlingham thus means the radiant sign of The Almighty. The location of the 12 Jyotirlingas is shown in the appended map, the deep down in the south is Rameswaram..

Twelve Jyotirlingas - From Vishal's post (http://www.ghumakkar.com/temples-of-varanasi-kashi-kashi-vishwanath-temple-visalakshi-temple-and-kaalbhairav-temple/)

Twelve Jyotirlingas – From Vishal’s post (http://www.ghumakkar.com/temples-of-varanasi-kashi-kashi-vishwanath-temple-visalakshi-temple-and-kaalbhairav-temple/)

12 Jyotirlinga - by MapsofIndia

12 Jyotirlinga – by MapsofIndia

Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga, as you will observe from the map represents the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlingams of India and has been a time honored pilgrimage center held on par with Banaras. Rameshwaram Temple Jyotirlinga is associated closely with the Ramayana and Rama’s victorious return from Lanka.

Having equipped us with the history of Rameswaram, the only place that is one of the four dhams and also one out the twelve jyotirlingas, Natarajan asked us to get ready for a visit to the seashore, which was only a 100 yards away from the Hotel. It was a thoughtful move as the temple re-opens at 4 p.m. (the temple timings are 6.00 a.m. to 12 noon And 4 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.)

The seashore
Three astounding gates welcome you, immediately after you sight the sea. We saw a large group of bearded gentlemen wearing black dhoti and black shirt standing close to the beach. Dorai told me that they were followers of Ayappa Swami and were heading for Sabrimala in Kerala for pilgrimage. The pilgrimage is a highly disciplined schedule of 45 days, during which the devotees eat once in a day, sleep on the floor and maintain total celibacy (poor wives). The pilgrimage can be undertaken only by male devotees, girls below the age of puberty and women beyond certain age. I will talk to you in details about these devotees which can be found in thousands in Tamilnadu and Kerala during this time of the year (November-December), during my write up on Madurai.

Followers of Ayappa Swami

Devoties of Ayappa Swami

The seashore, about 100 metres from the main entrance of the temple, is very calm and therefore ideal for bathing. The water at this place is considered sacred and known as ‘Agni Theertham’. Pilgrims perform poojas for their ancestors at this seashore.Surprisingly, the sea is unusually quiet here. It is believed that Lord Rama had requested Sea Goddess to remain calm and sea is said to be obeying the same to date. However, I must mention that while the sea is calm, the place around the bathing ghat is not very clean.

Entrance to 'Agni Theertham'

Entrance to ‘Agni Theertham’

Watch the 'Throw'

Watch the ‘Throw’

We saw a few boats plying in the sea. Dorai told me that some of them were fishing boats. (Rameswaram is one of the main fishing centers of Tamil Nadu. Variety of fishes including export quality fish like prawns, sea cucumber, lobster etc. are available, Rameswaram is also famous for its dry fish.) and others were used for cruises along the beach. We decided to take a cruise, lasting around 30 minutes and costing Rs. 60. The cruise was almost like any other beach cruises, except the sighting of the largest T.V. tower in India.

TV Tower

TV Tower

Cruise

Cruise

Natarajan told us that besides pilgrimage, Rameswaram Island has several places which are ideal for fun-seekers. There are beautiful beaches at Olaikuda, Dhanushkodi and Pamban. Olaikuda beach, which is closely located to the temple (1 km from the main temple) is engulfed by coral reefs which makes sea bathing safe and enjoyable. I am told that with the aid of diving glasses and respiration tubes, scuba diving can be done safely. Australian Flamingos, Sea Gulls and variety of birds migrates to Rameswaram Island during winter.

Ramanathswamy Temple
It was nearing 3 p.m., time to go back to the hotel and get ready to start for the temple at around 3.30 as the devotees would start pouring and forming the long queues for entry to the temple. It was very thoughtful of Natarajan to take us to temple a few minutes in advance. It would be pertinent to add that mobile phones, cameras and electronic gadgets are not allowed in the temple and hence better left in the hotel, as there are no arrangements for leaving these instruments within the temple precincts.

When we reached the small street leading to the temple, I was told that Sri Ramanathaswamy temple which is situated near to the sea on the eastern side of the island is renowned for its magnificent corridors with massive sculptured pillars lining it. The temple as it stands today was built by different rulers at different periods from the 12th century AD.

Gopuram - Courtesy Wikipedia

Gopuram – Courtesy Wikipedia

We took tickets of Rs. 50 each for special (priority) darshanam, the queue for which is much smaller than the one for general darshanam. We entered through a huge gate and passed by the gold plated flag post, a common sight in most of the temples in the south. Just close by was the mammoth statue of Nandi bull, 12 feet in length and 9 feet in height with the idols of Viswanatha Naicker and Krishnama Naicker, the largest I had ever seen. I was told that it is made of a single rock.

Sahashtra Sthambha (1000 Pillars) - Courtesy Wikipedia

Sahashtra Sthambha (1000 Pillars) – Courtesy Wikipedia

Natarajan told me that Rameswaram Temple is spread over an area of 15 acres and has lofty gopurams and massive walls. Rameswaram Jyotirlinga also boasts of a 4000 feet long pillared corridor with over 4000 pillars, supposedly the longest in the world. The corridor is the longest in the world. It is 197 metres long ( East – West ) and 133 metres wide( South-North ). The temple has storey tower (Gopuram), 38.4 high. The carved granite pillars are mounted on a raised platform. I was told that the rocks used for building the temple are not indigenous to the island and are said to have been brought in from elsewhere in Tamil Nadu across the sea. Now how these massive rocks were brought to Rameswaram in the absence of any road or rail bridge, is simply beyond imagination. Surely when we talk of “Pushpak” and other vimanas (aircrafts) and lethal weapons like “Brahamastra”, the technology during those times must have been advanced enough to transport the colossal rocks, the masonry and work force across the sea to build the temple.

Passing through the deities of 64 nyanmars (poets), who used to write poetry in praise of the glory of the temple and the king, we reached the eastern Rajagopuram (storey tower) that has a height of 126 feet and has nine levels. The Western Rajagopuram is also quite impressive though not as tall as the Eastern one. The temple also has several mandapams with mini shrines to other deities.

There are two queues for entry to the sanctum sanctorum, one for general darshanam and the other for the priority darshanam. Since we had opted for a special darshanam, we were guided to stand in a queue which was comfortably smaller. Owing to his experience, Natarajan knew that reaching the temple in advance of its opening would cut short the time for entry by manifolds. Close to the last intersection both the queues are merged and now you enter the section where the lingams are housed.

The lingams are housed in the inner section of the Ramalingeshwara. High walls enclose the temple, forming a rectangle with huge pyramidal gopura entrances on each side. There were two queues divided by a hallow portion. Both the queues were tightly secured by strong brass chains. We were moving on a path made of wooden planks. Since we were one of the first to reach the sanctum sanctorum, we had to wait for some time as the periodical “pooja” was in the process. With the taking of every step, I felt some sort of vibration and suddenly the curtain was removed and we had the clear and heavenly darshanam of the lingams. There was a pin drop silence, except for the occasional chant of “Har Har Mahadev”. The very sight of the holy lingam and the radiance around, I was almost awestruck. My eyes closed automatically and I found myself saying a small prayer, when one of the priests, while offering me a prasadam of “vibhuti”, asked me to keep moving. Amidst the radiance and glory, I stepped down to merge with the crowd of devotees, who already had darshanam. I was in some sort of trance and sat down on a nearby step to recover from this holy experience. I was sitting with my eyes closed, when Dorai kept his hand on my shoulder signaling that it was time to move over to the “theerthams”.

Once again we passed through the magnificent corridors and massive sculptured pillars, which now I realized contained hundreds of stories about our ancient heritage.

The theerthams (Holy Wells)
Rameswaram, I am told, has close to 64 theerthams (also spelt as teerathams and tirathams) while some of them are in the form of wells, others are like ponds, tanks and one of them, the Agni Theertham, as said above, is the sea itself. There are 22 theerthams within the temple premises. Bath at 22 Theerthams (holy tanks) is intrinsic part of visit to Rameshwaram. There is a token charge for taking bath at all these holy wells. As these wells are located at different sites, some of the pilgrims prefer to have a guide, which normally costs around Rs. 200.

The 22 theerthams are:
1. Mahalakshmi Theertham: Dharamraj Yudhistra took bath here and became famous.
2. Savithri Theertham: King Kasibar got rid of his curse after holy dip in this theertham. It is believed that whoever takes holy dip in this theertham would get rid of all the curses.
3. Gayathri Theertham: King Kasibar got rid of his curse.
4. Saraswathi Theertham
5. Sethu Madhava Theertham: One would be blessed by Mahalakshmi.
6. Gandhamadana Theertham: One will get rid of their penury and get absolved of the sins.
7. Kavatcha Theertham: One protected from torture at hell.
8. Gavaya Theertham: One will be blessed to be under Kalpa Vriksha tree.
9. Nala Theertham: One will be able to take blessing of Lord Surya and reach heaven.
10. Neela Theertham: Equivalent to having performed various yagnas.
11. Sanku Theertham: Sage Vatsanabha Freed from the Sin of ingratitude.
12. Chakkara Theertham :
13. Brahmahathi Vimochana Theertham: Brahamahathi was absolved of his sins.
14. Sooriya Theertham: Attain the ability to receive knowledge of the past present and the future.
15. Chandra Theertham
16. Ganga Theertham: Gananasuruthi Rajah attained wisdom.
17. Yamuna Theertham
18. Gaya Theertham
19. Siva Theertham: absolving of Brahmahathi sins
20. Sadyamirtha Theertham:
21. Sarva Theertham: Sutharishna got rid of his blindness(from birth), illness and old age.
22. Kodi Theertham: Lord Krishna got rid of his sin of killing his uncle, Kamsa.

For better understanding of the theerthams, their respective locations and pictures, please visit: http://www.rameswaramtemple.tnhrce.in/inside-theertham-rameswaram.html

It takes around an hour to take bath in all the 22 wells. The modus operandi is simple. There is a person standing by the side of the well ready to pour water on you with a small bucket. Some of the pilgrims make a small donation at each of the wells. We preferred to have holy water sprinkled over us and move to the next well.Despite the fact that thousands of pilgrims are visiting the temple every day and having a bath at these theerthams, it is believed that the tanks around the temple have a perennial source of water.

Having finished the ritual of purifying ourselves at the holy wells, we once again passed through the magnificent corridors, passed by the Nandi and reached the exit gate. I do not know if my sins were washed away, but one thing is certain that the experience of visiting the temple will remain etched in my memory all through my life.

It was around 6.30 in the evening. Still in a trance, I reached the hotel room, ordered a steaming hot cup of tea and thereafter met Rajah, the cabbie whom we had hired for taking us to Kaniyakumari, the southernmost tip of the country, where Swami Vivekananda meditated before proceeding for America and which is the confluence of two great seas – Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea and the great Indian Ocean, about which I would write in my forthcoming post.

Thank you for being with me on this pilgrimage to the holy Rameswaram Dham.
References: Wikipedia and Arulmigu Ramanatha Swami Temple Offical website (http://www.rameswaramtemple.tnhrce.in/index.html)

24 Comments

  • As usual a great post !

    Thanks for the virtual tour , looking forward for the next posts.

  • Munesh Mishra says:

    Very interesting and useful post about pilgrimage Rameswaram Dham. This place completes the Hindu Char Dham Yatra, Dwadash (12) Jyotirlingas and Theerthams. Reading the post gives advantage of pilgrimage to this holy place. Waiting for remaining posts of this series.

    Thank you Ram Dhall ji.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Such a through account that by just reading it, it feels so rewarding.

    If one looks at the map, one realises that Lanka is not too far from Rameshwaram. Good/Interesting info around Ayappas. Looking fwd to read more.

  • Very well and detailed write up Ram Sir. Picture of the corridor is awesome. I have visited Rameshwaram couple of times in last 5 years and it was always a wonderful experience. I never took the cruise though. I was wondering why you did not went to the temple early in the morning as there is a ritual called “Mani Darshan”. You must have visited Dhanushkodi as well.

    Nandan, SriLanka is just 11 Miles from Dhanushkodi via Sea, this connects to Jafna area if I remember correctly. There were lots of activities (read illegal) via this route.

    • Ram Dhall says:

      Thanks for your very kind words, Upanshu. Though I am aware of the “Mani Darshan” ritual, our tight schedule permitted only the evening darshanam, about which I have detailed in the post.

      Your observation about the activities on the sea route between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar in Sri Lanka, which is a distance of around 18 miles, is very correct.

      Before the 1964 cyclone, there was a train service up to Dhanushkodi called the Boat Mail from Madras Egmore (Now Chennai Egmore). The train would halt at a pier on the south-eastern side of Dhanushkodi township where a waiting steamer transported passengers to Sri Lanka across the Palk Strait. I believe, due to political reasons, the ferry services have been suspended.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hello Mr Ram Dhall,

    another elaborate and enriching post from you.

    Is the Pamban bridge the same where one can see remains of ‘The Bridge’ of Ramayana? Thanks for those details on Chardham/jyotirlings/teerthams.

    Architectures/ monuments dating back to so many centuries, they are so much in abundance in our country and yet, it is left to avid travellers to seek them out!

    The post links up relevant info sources pretty nicely.

    Looking forward to Vivekananda Rocks !!

    Thanks,

    Auro.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Dear Aurojit,

    Thanks for liking the post and your very pertinent comments.

    Pamban Bridge connects the mainland India with the Pamban Island also known as Rameswaram Island. It is a cantilever bridge on the Palk Strait which connects Rameswaram to mainland India. The bridge is around 2.3 km long. The bridge refers to both the road bridge and the cantilever railway bridge, though primarily it means the latter.

    There is a mention of another bridge called Adams Bridge also known as Rama’s Bridge or Rama Setu or Ramancoil, a colloquial form of the Tamil Raman Kovil (or Rama’s Temple). It is a chain of limestone shoals, between Pamban Island off the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu India, and Mannar Island, off the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Rama Setu and neighbouring areas like, Rameswaram , Dhanushkodi, and Devipattinam, I believe, are mentioned in the context of various legends in Ramayana. I am told that this bridge is under the sea and can be seen through satellite only.

    I am working on the write up of Kanyakumari and the rock where Swami Vivekananda meditated before his departure for America and shall be with you soon.

    Warm regards and God’s blessings.

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Ram Sir,

    Just a few days ago I was random reading about the Pamban Bridge and how a cyclone had destroyed it. But our Metro Man Sreedharan restored the bridge in record time he was given 60 days, he finished the work in 46 days. And soon enough you are riding the same bridge!

    I have been thinking about Rameshwaram for so long now. I want to take that train and the road bridge too and photograph the train on the bridge with water all around. Too bad the Dhanushkodi bridge has collapsed. And of course onwards to Kanya Kumari.

    The post as always is well researched and well written. The pillared corridor looks amazing. Does it lead to the Jyotirling temple or is it a part of the Gopuram?

    I so want to go into the trance too!

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Ram Dhall says:

      Dear Nirdesh,

      The dawn is about to break, amidst thick Delhi smog. I can hear the ringing of bells of the temple in our complex. In this tranquility, your kind words on the post are very heartening.

      The pillared corridor leads to the main temple. A Gopura or Gopuram (plural), is a monumental tower, usually ornate, at the entrance of a temple, especially in South India. They are topped by the kalasam, a bulbous stone finial. Gopuram function as gateways through the walls that surround the temple complex. I will write about gopuram in detail in my post on Meenakshi Temple.

      Yes, it will be great to see a photographer and a writer of your caliber sharing the photographs of the train passing through the bosom of the sea.

      Warm regards and God’s blessings.

  • om prakash laddha says:

    nice post and very informative ………..all snaps are so beautiful ………..waiting for next post.

  • rakesh bawa says:

    Ram Ji, Namaskar. Another great post from the colossus writer like you who has been instrumental in motivating us to write. I have seen south India through your eyes and it pleases very much. Hope to catch the real scene sometime in life with your blessings.

    • Ram Dhall says:

      Dear Rakesh,

      I am deeply touched by your very kind words.

      Yes, you must visit south soonest. Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh Kerala and Karnatka are the storehouses of the golden treasure of our cultural heritage,which can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

      Please do remain in touch.

      Warm regards and God’s blessings

  • S K Saxena says:

    Dear dhal ji, Thanks for the post, a vivid narration of your journey and the holy place. It was just a revival of our journey to Rameshwaram dham two years back. Regards. Sk saxena

  • Dear Ram Dhall,
    I am really impressed by your detailed description of all the religious places.It was like a virtual tour of all these places.
    I have been longing to go to Rameshwaram for a very long time.Your description has inspired me further to take a trip in the near future.
    Thanks a lot for your kind help of enlighting me on their history as well.

  • mouliram says:

    Best accommadation in rameswaram was BANGUR DHARMASHALA (YATRI NIWAS) PHONE NO 04573_223168 .09585522701. And in MADURAI .OPP RLY STATION PHONE NO 0452_2347406 .9344105503

  • hemant says:

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    ????? ??? ????? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ?? ????? ?????????? ??? , ?????? , ????????? , ?????? , ?? ??????????? ??? ????? ?????? ….
    ???????

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Thank you for liking the post, Hemant.

    From Chennai to Rameswaram, it’s an overnight journey by train. The train from Chennai leaves at around 9.30 p.m. and reaches Rameswaram at around 10.00 a.m. on the next morning. There are auto rickshaws available at the station to take you to the town. You need to bargain with them sometimes. After reaching the hotel, you can refresh and have lunch or whatever you wish. As mentioned in the post, you can go the seashore, which is at a walking distance from the temple. Rest all I have tried to cover in my write up.

    For going to Kanyakumari from Rameswaram, you can either go by car, bus or train. Kindly read my post on Kanyakumari for detailed information.

    From Kanyakumari to Madurai, you can go by a train, bus or by car. The 200 km distance can be covered in 4-5 hours. In Madurai you need to stay overnight and in the morning, visit the famous Meenakshi temple, which is the mainstay of Madurai. Besides the holy temple, there is an auditorium, where most of the renowned artists, including Hema Malini and Vyjanthi Mala have performed. It is a part of the big museum. Please do spend sometime there to get a feel of history of Madurai. Meenakshi Temple, as you are aware, is one of the best temples in the country. You need to spend 2-3 hours at the temple to get to know its history and holiness. I suggest, you gather information on Madurai on internet. There is an old fort at Madurai, which might interest you. I suggest you visit “Murugan’s Idli Shop” for one of the finest cuisine in the south. Their dosas, idlis and uthapam are simply amazing. Also try to visit “Pothy’s”, one of the biggest stores for silk sarees and other dress materials.

    From Madurai, there in overnight journey by train which leaves Madurai at 8.00 p.m. and reach Chennai on the next morning at 5 a.m.

    You need to book railway tickets well in advance to avoid last minute hassles.

    Please feel free in case you need any other information.

  • Kum Kum Rani says:

    Excellent article. Very well written, gives you feeling as if you are in Rameshwaram and visiting temples one by one. Char Dham Ki Yatra ghar bethai ho gai. Is ka punya aap ko milega Dhall Saheb. Pics are excellent specially 1000 pillars pic as if some professional clicked the pics. Mind blowing artile, Thanks a lot Dhall Saheb.

  • DHANESH says:

    very good post can you please guide me regarding budget hotels for staying as i will be travelling alone

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Thanks for liking the post Dhanesh,

    Rameswaram is a small city. There are many budget hotels near the main temple. There are a few paying guest accommodations too. Room rents are not high even in the posh hotels.

    Wish you a happy stay at Rameswaram.

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